PRESS RELEASE: Joy of Motion Dance Center Faculty and Students Brought Thriller to the White House for the President and First Lady

Washington, DC (November 1, 2016) – Joy of Motion Dance Center’s faculty, staff members and a group of students from Joy of Motion Dance Institute’s Youth Dance Ensemble, HYPE, and Youth Companies were invited to lead a class and a flash mob to the Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” at the White House’s annual Halloween celebration.

On Halloween afternoon in the East Room of the East Wing, five Joy of Motion faculty members, including Maverick Lemons, Angela Ingram, Mackenzie Shimon, Danielle Quirion, and Natasha Hawkins, taught a group of children the famous moves from “Thriller” in front of their parents and families. Afterward, the President and First Lady greeted them in the East Room. In a short, cheering welcome, President Obama joked, “My understanding is that we have been working on a little dance. We don’t know how it’s gonna go, but we think you all should just try it anyway, what do you think?” Joy of Motion’s faculty led the children, as they performed what they had just learned to the President and First Lady.

Following the “Thriller” performance, Joy of Motion Dance Institute Director Helen Hayes and faculty Vanessa Carmichael, Malaika Scott, Katie Padgett, Felipe Oyarzun Moltedo and Alana Hill, together with nearly 100 students from Dance Institute’s Youth Dance Ensemble, HYPE and Youth Companies, who attend over 15 local public schools, joined by Dance Dimensions Studio surprised the crowd at the South Portico with a flash mob dance performance to the song “Thriller.”

“It is an honor to play a central role in this year’s Halloween celebration at the White House,” said Joy of Motion’s Executive Director Steve Barberio at the the event. “We are proud that our community, including the White House, recognizes Joy of Motion as a place where anyone can access excellent opportunities for dance education.”

White House staff said it hosted more than 4,000 visitors for Halloween this year. Following the East Room performance, trick-or-treaters from local schools and military families made their way across the South Drive, taking treats from the President and First Lady.

For more information about Joy of Motion Dance Center and its participation in Halloween at the White House, please contact Karen Zhang via email at Executive Director Steve Barberio and Joy of Motion’s faculty members mentioned in this release are available for interview upon request.

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