Thursday, October 14, 2010


Odyssey Dance Theatre
Playing all through October
Click here for showtimes, tickets and venues

Have you ever watched a well-trained formation line of Irish folk dancers--feet flying, smiles rigidly affixed--and thought, 'I bet a graduate of the U.S. Army sniper school could pick those dancers off, one by one.' Derryl Yeager, founder and artistic director of Odyssey Dance Theatre, has.

It's that warped sense of humor paired with some serious dancing that has made Thriller a Halloween season sensation across Utah for the past 13 years. Odyssey Dance Theatre's Thriller is a series of dance performances featuring Frankenstein, zombies, mummies, some seriously funky scarecrows and a crew of chain-saw wielding, blood thirsty Jasons. This dance company goes through sugar plum fairies like Spinal Tap goes through drummers.

This concert is so popular that it is playing in St. George, Park City, Provo and Salt Lake simultaneously. "For the fourth year in a row, we've had to hire two separate casts to fill the amazing demand," says Derryl Yeager. Yeager is an accomplished dancer and actor. You might recognize him as someone who has had some experience with...well, let's call it 'the dark side,' but don't hold it against him. He's also played the apostle Peter on film.

You don't have to be a dance fanatic (like myself) to enjoy this show. I saw Thriller on its opening night at the Provo venue, and the audience nearly brought down the house. The dance numbers are interspersed with comedy sketches and short films which give the dancers time to change in between numbers.

Fans of So You Think You Can Dance may recognize Matt Dorame and Brandon Bryant in the Thriller cast. My favorite dance of the evening was a grisly pas de deux between Matt Dorame's Frankenstein and his bride. The comedic, jerky movements may look easy, but you've got to be a pro to make them look right, and these two are amazing. When Matt hoisted his stiff-as-a-board spouse over his head, grasping only her neck and one leg, the audience burst into applause.

Thriller is a great performance for teenagers and adults, but I'd think twice before bringing kids under 10. There are knife wielding doll dancers and pack of "lost boys" that stalk, bring down, and feast upon an unsuspecting victim. The dancers are committed actors, and between the rolling fog, vampiric hisses and occasional blood spatters, it's a pretty chilling number.

Vastly more entertaining than a haunted house, I highly recommend this concert for teenage and adult thrill seekers. Performances sell out, so call the ticket office a day or two in advance of the show you'd like to see. For tickets prices and performance times and locations, click the link at the top of this blog post.

Thriller press release

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