Thrill The World Kigali

What is Thrill The World Kigali?

Thrill The World is a world wide dance event in which groups of Zombies dance Michael Jackson’s iconic “Thriller” Choreography to raise money for charity, promote dance, spread love and joy to the community and honor the Humanitarian and Artistic efforts of Michael Jackson. All of this and an attempt to break the world record for largest simultaneous dance, which is currently held by Thrill The World!

It began in 2006 in Toronto, Canada and has now spread to 6 continents including Africa for the very first time this year! Each group hosting an event pays money to register, which goes to Thrill The World’s charity of choice. Each group then has the option to raise money for a charity of their choice. I have chosen to host the event in Rwanda and for the support to do to a local children’s traditional dance group called: Inkondo Z’incamihigo (Small but Strong!)

Who will benefit from the event?

I met a local young man named Gilbert Rutaremara through a connection from Santa Barbara, when I was here with World Dance For Humanity.  Gilbert is an orphan from the Genocide and has supported himself through his gift and talent for dance. He has been a member of the National Ballet for many years but is now in school to study Information Technology thanks to support from a family in the US. Gilbert teaches traditional dance to a group of 25 local boys and girls in Kacyiru called: Inkondo Z’incamihigo (Small but Strong!)

Meet Gilbert:


Gilbert has a deep passion for dance and sees it as an important skill that has helped him survive. He feels that he can offer the same opportunity to the children in Kigali by sharing his gift with them. He began this dance group by going out into the streets in Kacyiru and dancing with whoever was drawn to him, this slowly evolved into a group that is ever expanding and shifting. He offers himself to anyone who is in need and who wants to begin to learn a skill that will help them to help themselves in their future.

The group practices 2-3 times a week wherever they can, usually in the middle of a broken down building and they perform at Hotels, Weddings and anywhere else they can.

Gilbert and I share the same ideals, to offer our skills as a support not as a way of helping them directly, there by offering opportunities to learn to help themselves reach their potential. We believe that fostering self-reliance through providing tools is the best way to build confidence and trust in oneself.

Meet The Dancers:


Name: Issa

Age: 13

Family: Mama, Papa, 1 brother, 3 sisters (all go to school)

School: Yes, Primary 4

Dreams: Wants to be a professional football player (soccer)


Name: Mohammed

Age: 19

Family: Mama, Papa, 4 brothers, 4 sisters (1 brother in school)

School: No, would be in Senior 1

Dreams: Wants to be a Slahe (spiritual leader of Muslim tradtion)


Name: Paster (Pasti)


Family: Mama, 1 brother, 3 sisters (1 sister in school)

School: Yes, Primary 6

Dreams: wants to be a pastor


Name: Everiste

Age: 19

Family: Papa, 2 brothers, 1 sister

School: No, would be in Senior 6

Dreams: Wants to be a race car driver and an electrician


Name: Sady

Age: 15

Family: Mama, 3 Sisters, 3 brothers (all in school)

School: Yes, Primary 4

Dreams: Wants to be a mechanic and a driver


Name: Abdul

Age: 14

Family: Papa, Mama, 3 sisters, 3 brothers

School: Yes, Primary 5

Dreams: Wants to be a businessman with a landscaping company and a small shop.

What will the fundraising money support?

All the money raised through the dance practice sessions, fundraising and donations will go to the group to help them with whatever they need to keep them dancing. Some of the members have no parents, no home and no support while others have families, schooling and support systems. The money will be given to Gilbert for him to manage according to the needs of the group. Some examples of how the money will be used include: food, water, rent, clothing, school fees, dance practice space rental fees, costume rentals for performances.

For example: US Dollars

1 semester of public school cost $35 (3 semesters per school year)

$1.50 can buy lunch or dinner for one person

$50 can pay rent for 1 month

$1 can buy a bunch of bananas

$2 can buy  4 mangos

$5 can buy a pair of shoes

I witnessed the group process  when I gave them 5000 RWF ($7.60 US) from the money already raised. They talked amongst themselves and came to an agreement as to who needed it the most in that moment and it was given out accordingly. My intention is not to impose any ideals onto the group. I feel that managing of the funds is also an important tool for learning. Currently Gilbert and I have a joint account at the Bank of Kigali for any funds raised and we discuss every transaction prior to it being put into action.

Why is this event important for Rwanda?

This event connects Rwanda to the entire world through the spirit of dance, love and joy, which I believe to be incredibly important to healing. It also brings awareness to the potential beyond the borders of Africa or even of the sector that they live in. The children know that it was a group in California that introduced me to the event and the reason I am here all the way from Canada. They have the opportunity to work with someone from another country, which makes it possible for them to believe that there is more out there than what they experience in their daily lives. It is a fact that they are part of a world wide event and are working with an international organization, which is an opportunity that a lot of children here may not experience or believe that they can be a part of.

This is the first year that Africa is involved in this event and I feel very honored to be able to introduce such a wonderful tool to this continent and this country. Let’s keep it going!

Why is this event important for the community?

Watching the faces of the children I dance with light up at even just the mention of Michael Jackson demonstrates to me that this work is having an impact in a positive way. The simple act of sharing a moment of joy and happiness can leave lasting imprints in our hearts and minds and if that is all that it does than it is enough.

What is the message you want to send by hosting this event?

My hope is that the spirit of Michael Jackson is conveyed through hosting this event. I am a huge fan and fully believe in his message of Love and giving back to others. I believe in following our hearts and using our natural talents to make change in the world. I would love for the kids involved to witness what they are capable of achieving when they commit to helping themselves. They are making changes in their lives by accepting the gifts that present themselves, however small. This fosters a belief in themselves, which will build on their self-worth and self-esteem. This event has the potential to change the course of their lives by changing their view of themselves and their place in the world.

                                             MEET THE HOST



My name is Amanda Emsland and I am from Canada. Nearly 3 ½ years ago I began a personal healing journey. I moved to an Ashram and began intensely studying Yoga as a way to heal myself from a nervous breakdown, Fibromyalgia, Major Depression, Bi Polar II disorder,extreme physical pain, anorexia, failure to Thrive, suicidal ideations and so much more. I did this for nearly 2 years and am now healthier than ever before. Through this experience I began to see life symbolically and now use Michael Jackson as one of the main tools to help guide me in my life.

In 2012, I followed many signs leading me to California. One day I was flipping through the paper and saw an ad for Thrill The World Santa Barbara, there he was and this was my first step towards coming to Rwanda.

The event was being hosted by a local dance group called “World Dance for Humanity.” It was with this dance group that I came to Rwanda in June, 2013 to meet the co-operatives members that we send all of our class fees and fundraising efforts to as support. The rest of the members left and I stayed behind not fully knowing what I was here to do but I knew I needed to stay and continue to follow my heart. After a few weeks it became clear I was here to host this event.

After participating in Thrill The World Santa Barbara I committed to hosting the event every year, wherever I happen to be living, so this year it is Kigali City! My intention is to have it continue on after my departure and I have made some great connections that will help make that possible but can always use a helping hand if anyone is interested. It is my goal to spread this event to as many different communities as I can because of the impact it had on my own life. I believe it has the potential to make real change. My next stop is Northern Manitoba, Canada!

The changes I have made to my life in order to heal are extreme and include selling all of my belongings, giving up my home, ending my engagement, quitting my career as a Registered Nurse, living on Faith and following my heart. Because of this I came to Rwanda with just enough money to last a few months and have nothing to go back to. I am here offering myself fully to the people and believe that what I am doing is having just as positive an impact on their lives as is does on mine. I am currently living off of my Visa and on a very tight budget.

I am hosting this event on my own, which is no easy task seeing as I knew only 1 person when I came and had to find dancers and teach them the dance, find practice space, advertise, market, promote, organize, find a venue, learn to use social media, and so much more, all in a foreign country with a huge language barrier! I am only saying all of this to emphasize my need for support.

I have set up my own campaign on which you can support my journey here in Rwanda as well as continuing forward. I am the reason the event is here, I am what will make it come together, I am holding all of the potential for this to be a great success and without a host there is no event. Please help me make this an event that can change the lives of a few wonderful and deserving children.

Ways to donate: I Am Love In Action

Donate or follow me on my Blog at:

“Healing Ourselves, Heals The World” I Am Love In Action, Amanda Emsland



What else can you tell us about he actual event?


The event will be held at Papyris on October 26th  at 11pm.

But the fun starts before then and continues into the night as the kids will arrive and be treated to a meal compliments of Papyris (Thank you so much Serge for food and transport) and will be dancing and having fun listening to MJ in prep for the countdown to show time. 50% of the cover fee to the night club is being donated to the event so even if you can’t make the show you can support us by going out for a night at the club with your friends.

What can we do to help make this a success?

1)    Send a link to your friends and family and ask that they support this cause.

2)     Donate to Thrill The World Kigali

3)    Donate via my Blog: and click on “Donate” to keep the host and the event alive!

4)    Like “Thrill The World Kigali” on Facebook and share it with friends and family.

5)    Word of mouth is a very powerful tool so tell everyone and anyone about the event and create a BUZZ! We can feel your positive energy all the way in Rwanda!

6)    Host an event in your area!

7)    Learn The Dance on Youtube: Type in “Learn Thriller Dance” and start leaning in the comfort of your own home and join us on the day of the event. We go live at 9pm GMT, 11pm Kigali!

8)    Check out the Web page: and count down with us

9)    Contact Amanda directly:

By email:

By phone: 078 939 3521 under “contact” info at the bottom of each post

Keep on Dancing!

Heal The World

Make It A Better Place

For You And For Me

And The Entire Human Race

There Are People Dying

If You Care Enough

For The Living

Make A Better Place

                                                                                   For You And For Me

“Heal The World”, Michael Jackson

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