Bringing Jacko's Thriller zombie dance to Hastings shopping centre

Tom Dwyer and Katy-Jo Murfin met in rehearsals for the West End show Cats - here they are rehearsing their routine for Halloween at Priory Meadow Shopping Centre
Tom Dwyer and Katy-Jo Murfin met in rehearsals for the West End show Cats - here they are rehearsing their routine for Halloween at Priory Meadow Shopping Centre

Oh, come on...who wouldn't want to see this? We all love Michael Jackson's Thriller and the dance steps are hotwired into all our memory.

Now former West End dancers and pupils will bring the ghoulishly ground-breaking zombie dance classic to Hastings in a stunning climax to the town’s Halloween celebrations.

The spooktacular sequence will be performed at Priory Meadow’s Queen’s Square at the end of the 1066 Walk of the Dead which takes place through the town on Saturday (October 29).

It is all part of the shopping centre’s half-term four-day Halloween extravaganza featuring a host of free activities and running from Thursday, October 27, to Sunday, October 30, from 11am to 4pm each day.

The Thriller show is being staged by local dance class organisers and former West End dancers Tom Dwyer and Katy-Jo Murfin who originally met in rehearsals for the musical hit Cats.

They started Tomboogie dance classes in Hastings after Tom’s career was cut short by injury and now teach over 150 people a week, ranging in age from eight to 80.

Tomboogie’s Friday night adult class, led by Katy-Jo, will perform Thriller as part of Halloween fun and games at Priory Meadow Shopping Centre and Katy-Jo said: “We’re taking part in the Walk of the Dead and then when the walkers finish at Priory Meadow we’re going to perform the Thriller routine.

“We’ve been rehearsing it every Friday and it’s always been a dream of mine to do this particular sequence, it’s just an absolute classic.

“One of the ladies at the centre has been coming to our dance classes for five years and she suggested that they were looking for someone to perform Thriller at the end of the walk and I know we’d have people who’d be up for it.”

Stacey Bell, Manager of Priory Meadow Shopping Centre, said: “Hastings is getting in the Halloween mood and we’re playing our part with a great four days of free activities at the Centre.

There will be fun activities taking place from Thursday onwards with the Thriller performance really highlighting our Halloween fun. We’re looking forward to having a wonderful time here which all the family can enjoy as part of half-term.”

From Thursday onwards the Centre will set up a spooky graveyard scene with traditional Halloween games, fun and competitions.

On Saturday there will be hourly giveaways with prizes from the stores, a free ghostbuster hunt and a special effects artist holding a Halloween makeup workshop, ready to join in the Thriller dance which will take place at 3pm.

And on Monday there will be two ghoulish characters roaming the centre handing out treats between 2pm and 5.30pm and throughout the event there will be a competition for spookiest selfie posted on the Priory Meadow Facebook Page with #PrioryMeadowHalloween for a chance to win a £100 shopping spree.

Katy-Jo is looking forward to the Saturday afternoon Thriller performance and the mum of three said: “Tom and I met 14 years ago when we were together in Cats, I was Rumpleteazer and he was Mungojerrie.

“We had our first child 12years ago and did shows between the children and looking after them and then Tom ruptured his Achilles tendon really badly and when we were wondering what to do he came up with the idea of dance-based exercise classes to musical theatre songs.

“It’s just taken off and proved so popular. It’s very good for fitness but dance involves your brain as well as your body so it’s the best exercise you can have. It’s just euphoric.

“It doesn’t matter what age you are you can still enjoy it and there’s been such a massive increase in interest in dance because of the success of Strictly and of groups like Diversity.

“We have classes every night of the week in Hastings and the surrounding area and our adult class on a Friday has been rehearsing Thriller since the beginning of September.

“As a child I was such a massive Michael Jackson fan and so I have been watching it for years and I’m really enjoying teaching it with all the original moves.”

Katy-Jo, originally from the Orpington area, is from a theatrical family and landed her first job straight out of dance college at 19 while Tom, from Derbyshire, studied at the Royal Ballet and has been a professional dancer from the age of 16.

The couple have performed in top West End Shows like Oliver, Saturday Night Fever, Oklahoma, Mary Poppins, On The Town and Singing In The Rain and with stars like Hugh Jackman and Griff Rhys Jones.

For more information on Tomboogie go to http://tomboogie.net/ and for more on what’s happening at Priory Meadow go to http://priorymeadow.com/ and on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/priorymeadowhastings