Would you dance for a stranger?

by Nicolina Simoes

For two years, Miklas Manneke travelled the world asking ordinary people if they would dance for him. Fastjet’s Nicolina Simoes sat down with Manneke to find out more about this fascinating story.

If asked, would you know the exact moment before something great happened to you? Bob Dylan once described it as, “you know something's happening but you don’t know what it is.”

For filmmaker, creative director and social media influencer Miklas Manneke that moment was in China. It was captured through the lens of his camera, as a perfect stranger agreed to a spontaneous dance for him that would also see 400 other people dancing too.

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The video which went viral (and was hashtagged #KeepDancing) has pulled on the heartstrings of many. It has also gathered the attention of brands from all over the world, opening doors Manneke could never have dreamed of.

Manneke related in obvious delight that long ago moment of sheer brilliance, “I was travelling throughout China in 2015; a country that differs greatly to South Africa in all of its rigidity and structure. Whilst filming a scene of the city, I happened to pan over [to] a stranger in the distance who turned around in curiosity. At that exact moment (and out of nowhere) I shouted, Do a dance? … And so my addiction to the series began – I brought laughter into every discussion, one dance at a time.”

He shared snippets of those he met and made dance throughout his local and international travels on Instagram and the once popular Vine. As imagined, the series of snippets were a hit, and gained considerable traction through word-of-mouth.

But this is not his first accolade. For many South Africans, Miklas Manneke is a household name. He received critical acclaim at the South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs), and won the student film Golden horn, for his 2014 film Kanye Kanye which translates to together. Since then, he’s travelled the world using his gift for the creative and visual arts with his filmic curation of his immediate surroundings on Instagram.

You, like I, might be wondering what’s next for this creative wunderkind.

“Well, as of now, I will be finishing off a documentary I have been filming in Germany for the past half year, which revolves around the refugee crisis yet focuses on one specific refugee’s search for asylum in Germany,” said Manneke.

And if that isn’t enough, Manneke aims to continue his travels of the world, creating as he goes. It is his hope that along the way he will bring a smile and some insight into wherever he is at.