DC elementary students' flash mob performs 'Thriller' - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

DC elementary students' flash mob performs 'Thriller' outside National Portrait Gallery

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WASHINGTON -

One minute, it's a sidewalk. The next minute, it's a stage.

Dozens of young children, with their faces painted like zombies, danced and belted out the lyrics to Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

"My heart was beating real fast and I felt nervous a little bit," says Deandre Onley.

He and fellow students at Savoy Elementary School in Southeast D.C. performed a two-minute flash mob right in front of the National Portrait Gallery on Thursday.

Nakiya Butler told FOX 5: "When I'm on the dance floor, the dance floor just kind of speaks to me."

Teaching artist Anthony Jones directed the students from atop an SUV parked right on F Street.

"I just want to help them understand that they can go anywhere they want to go," says Jones.

Savoy has traditionally been a very low performing school, but it was selected recently by the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities to get some extra resources - things like art supplies and musical instruments. It's an award that goes to schools that are about to turn the corner. 

"I was born and raised right there in Southeast, 2519 Minnesota Avenue, and to come back and see how the program is making kids want to come to school," says choreographer Mike Weems. "Making parents want to get involved, the volunteers, it's just really building the community."

The kids practiced for a month.

"When you practice, practice makes best," says student Jahsiere Ellis.

The students say they are very proud of their performance. Even a few strangers stopped to watch.

Savoy's test scores have ticked up and attendance has too.

"I felt happy because we get to experience something that we never did before and I feel good about it," says Onley.

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