Dancing in Tahrir square doesn’t make everyone jump for joy

Dancing in public is a super-happy fun time, right? Not always.

The dancing in public around the world Internet sensation known as Matt Harding had a close call over the weekend while dancing in Tahrir Square, Egypt.

Harding first became an Internet sensation in 2005 when he danced in public in various countries and filmed the results. Harding’s first video has been viewed 17 million times to date, and subsequent short films have seen as many as 41 million views.

Five years later, Harding is still up to his old tricks, except this time, he’s dancing in unstable countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt and even North Korea. His current film has taken him two years to film.

On Sunday, when Harding began to dance in Tahir Square, the sight of Egypt’s recent revolution, he was met with heavy resistance within minutes.

According to Ahram Online, a fight broke out around Harding, between various groups of men. One group even threatened to take away his equipment.

“You’re dancing while our [slain] children have not rested in their graves. People have died here, what are you dancing for? Get out now,” one of the men who had lost a son shouted, according to Ahram Online.

Another onlooker was quoted as asking, “Do you think it is right that he shows us as in this [symbolic] square dancing like fools?”

Harding told Ahram Online he came to Tahir Square because his Egyptian fans asked him to, and “I wanted to make the point that people are the same everywhere you go. … I wanted to make that even more clear in this film and include places where you do not expect to see people dancing and celebrating.”

Harding was able to relocate to different portion of the square with his fans, so Egypt will still be included in his next film. Harding has no sponsor, and as he said in the released video, he does this purely for himself. (The minute long video also captures some of the angry scuffle.)

According to a question and answer session on the social news site Reddit almost a year ago, Harding had considerably less trouble dancing in North Korea.

Fruzsina Eördögh

Fruzsina Eördögh

Fruzsina Eördögh was the Daily Dot's first YouTube reporter. In addition to working as a producer for the now-defunct digital channel TouchVision TV, Eördögh has been published by Vice, the Christian Science Monitor, the Guardian, Variety, and Slate.