'Thriller' offers spooks, giggles

Odyssey Dance Theater is performing their Halloween hit on Oct. 3rd and 4th at the Val Browning Center. (Source: Odyssey Dance Theater/ Eric Christensen)
Odyssey Dance Theatre is performing their Halloween hit “Thriller” on Oct. 3rd and 4th at the Val Browning Center. “Thriller” features classic Halloween characters dancing to popular songs. (Source: Odyssey Dance Theater/ Eric Christensen)

For most students, typical Halloween entertainment consists of haunted houses, costume parties and bonfires. However, for 18 years, Odyssey Dance Theatre has produced the Halloween dance hit “Thriller,” which will be performed at the Val A. Browning Center on Oct. 3 and Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m.

Odyssey Dance Theatre has won a number awards including winner of “Best of State in Dance” for nine years in a row.

Derryl Yeager, artistic director of Odyssey Dance Theatre, said, “‘Thriller’ will feature all your favorite Halloween characters just put in a different context and done in a dance form.”

According to Eldon Johnson, associate artistic director and principal dancer, “Thriller” is never quite the same year to year. The cast and the dance numbers change throughout the years.

“The show is never really the same, it’s always a little different and this year’s cast is very strong,” Johnson said.

Johnson explained that this year’s performance will differ from previous years, in that there will be not as many videos shown during the performance.

“We are only doing two videos this year,” Johnson said. “People have already seen (the videos) on Youtube. They are kind of viral videos that will pertain to the shows.”

According to Yeager many of the classic dances that returning audience members love have come back this year. One in particular is a duet between Frankenstein and his bride.

“It’s just a really fun piece that allows the dancer and artist to really get into the characters,” said Johnson.

Out of all the dances, “Frankenstein” is Johnson’s favorite. Johnson appears in many of the dances but in this one he said he was able to find his inner goofball along with expressing emotion.

For Yeager, “Jason Jam,” a dance featuring several performers dressed as Jason Voorhees from “Friday the 13th,” is his favorite dance.

“It’s just really funny and people love it, it’s kind of the centerpiece of the whole show,” Yeager said.

“The Fly” will be one of the new dances added to this year’s performance. The dance will feature a man’s transformation into a fly on stage.

“The dancer will interact with the audience and creep them out until a fly swatter comes and takes it out,” Yeager explained. “It’s going to be a funny little piece.”

Johnson said that “The Fly” will introduce talent from local dancers as well as some popping and some more urban style dancing.

According to Yeager, just because “Thriller” is a dance performance doesn’t mean it’s only for girls.

“It’s an opportunity for guys to show off their artistic side by taking their dates to a dance show,” Yeager said.

Overall, Johnson said audience members will be entertained by the production, even if they aren’t necessarily into dancing.

“It is a very entertaining show,” Johnson said. “If you aren’t interested in dance, the show is more geared to telling stories.”

If students can’t make it to the performances at the Browning Center, there are still chances to attend “Thriller” before it closes. “Thriller” will be performed up and down the Wasatch Front, including Park City, Logan and Salt Lake City as well as several other locations.

Tickets for “Thriller” start at $25 and are available at WeberStateTickets.com. Students can receive a discount on tickets by purchasing tickets in person either in room 105 of the Browning Center or at the ticket office prior to the performance.

“The thing I think people like about the show is the humor,” Yeager said. “It’s not very often that you go to a dance show and you have stuff that’s really funny.”