Thriller Ranch Halloween performances highlight Gold Dust Dance’s commitment to community
About 20 kids kneel and stand in a huddle around Corinne Mickler. They just got done with their Wednesday night hip-hop class. Their eyes bulge with just as much excitement as their teacher’s. After a hands-in-one-two-three cheer, the kids bustle off to their parents waiting by the door of the Battle Mountain High School dance studio.
Mickler owns Gold Dust Dance studio, which offers all-levels after-school dance classes for kids ages 4 and older. This Halloween, Gold Dust Dance invites the community to the outdoor area by Miller Ranch for its Thriller Ranch flash mob. Gold Dust Dance students will be dressed in their Halloween costumes while performing a flash mob dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Performances are free and take place at 6 and 8 p.m.
The first Thriller Ranch happened last year when Mickler’s friend said something along the lines of “wouldn’t it be hilarious if there was a Michael Jackson-style “Thriller” flash mob at Miller Ranch … only it would be called Thriller Ranch?” It was on her bucket list.
Mickler said: “Seriously? I can make that happen. I can help you check something off your bucket list.”
They put together the first Thriller Ranch performance last year for fun, and the kids loved it. Mickler decided to expand on it this year, and any student who wants to join the show is welcome.
The Thriller Ranch community performance is keeping in line with Gold Dust Dance’s entire mission in the valley.
“There’s a lot of people here that love the arts, and there’s a lot of kids here and I was like, ‘Let’s get out in the community more,’” Mickler said. “This is not in the traditional dance studio model. I think we’re drawing a really diverse group of kids.”
Most dance studios usually train their dancers for competition, or they rehearse for one end-of-year recital. That doesn’t give kids a lot of chances to perform and see their improvement in that game-time setting, so Gold Dust Dance uses Thriller Ranch and other upcoming community performances to give kids more chances to show off their skills, similar to how a sports team has multiple games and practices a week.
Mickler taught at Studio 8100 before it closed. Parents whose kids took her classes asked her what she was going to do. Mickler saw the opportunity to fill a hole and start her own studio, which she did last year when her son was six months old, and she has been going after it since.
“I never, ever thought I would do this,” she said.
She likes using studio space at Battle Mountain and other community spaces because it helps her not only keep her business’s overheads low but it also enables her to offer affordable class rates and financial assistance to those who need it. She hopes to one day earn non-profit status so she can give out more scholarships.
At the core of everything for Mickler is offering an experience that kids can connect with and enjoy, regardless of if they want to take dance all the time or just try it and have fun. Gold Dust Dance relies on hip-hop as its primary discipline, and it draws from the social values of hip-hop culture.
“Hip-hop culture is a social dance. It’s by and for and of the people. The studio becomes like a second home and this place of connect, this place of belonging for a lot of kids. That really is my goal, to make dance accessible to anyone.”
If you go …
What: Thriller Ranch
When: Thursday, Oct. 31, 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Where: Miller Ranch
More information: Visit golddustdance.com.
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