Laker Dance puts on another “thrilling” halftime performance


Iris Breckenridge, Editor-In-Chief

For the last home game of the regular season and with Halloween right around the corner, the Laker Dance team performed their annual “Thriller” routine at halftime. The tradition entitles a routine similarly choreographed to Michael Jackson’s iconic “Thriller” music video, with this year marking the nineteenth year of the tradition. “[It] started in 2003, when I was a senior in high school,” said head coach Hayley Dulong. “I choreographed the routine back then and not much of it has changed at all. That’s why this routine is so special, it’s timeless!” 

A huge part of what makes “Thriller” so entertaining and gets the student section so excited is how all the dancers dress up in their own unique costumes. Dulong explained, “Every dancer has the opportunity to pick any costume they want…We do have ‘famous’ costumes that are passed along from year to year, so there are some repeats that you may see from prior years, but that’s all part of the fun.” 

The dancers choose their costumes based on seniority and, adding to the fun, no costume is the same. Senior Leyna Harman explained, “We have to make them outside of [practice], but most of the costumes are handed down over the years, so it doesn’t take a ton of effort to get a costume.” Making their costumes on their own time isn’t too time consuming and is extremely enjoyable because of how much freedom they have to do what they want with it. Reminiscing on her experience as a freshman, Harman continued, “I remember making mine freshman year, and it took me about twenty minutes. I drove over it with a car, ripped it up, burned it and splashed fake blood over it. It was a lot of fun because I got together with a group of dancers from the team so it was a nice bonding experience!”

“Thriller” is also super fun because it is extremely different from Laker Dance’s usual routines. “It’s a lot different from our other halftimes because we get to look completely opposite from our usual style,” Harman said. “We don’t have to smile or have perfect technique, we get to embrace our costumes and be weird. It’s more fun than regular games because the student section basically knows the routine and it gets everyone super excited.” And unlike the normal routines they perform, the choreography for “Thriller” is the same every year and can be taught and perfected quickly and easily. “They know it so well, it’s easy to prepare for,” Dulong said. With only having to teach the new members, the team finished preparing and cleaning the routine in two practices. 

The night of the game, the whole team gets ready together before halftime. With all the costumes already made, all the team has to do is put on their make up, put on some fake blood and get into character. “[That’s] my favorite part about ‘Thriller,’ getting ready with everyone and how excited we all get before we go out!” Harman said. 

The uniqueness of the tradition is another aspect of what makes it so special and is one of senior Shea Ivey’s favorite parts. “I love doing ‘Thriller’ because it’s super different from any of the other dances we do and we all get to add our own twist to it. It’s a lot easier than any of our other dances, but I would say it is a lot more fun because of how we perform. [And] since it’s the same dance every year, it doesn’t take long to prepare, pretty much everyone knows all of the cleans except the newbies.”

The students, parents and other spectators love watching the dance and the team loves performing it. It’s a routine that the team always gets extremely excited for and is always “a total blast” Dulong said. “It’s pretty special to continue such a fun legacy from year to year that both the dancers and the audience thoroughly enjoy. It’s always quite the adrenaline rush and a feel-good routine, and we can’t wait for Year 20.”