Mystery shopper goes viral as part of Levanna’s northern soul dance video
Published on: 30 Jan 2014
A DANCING gentleman from Staple Hill has become a surprise internet sensation – but he doesn’t know a thing about it.
The man can be seen on a YouTube video dancing along with beaming Bristol teenager Levanna Mclean as she northern soul dances along Broad Street towards Fountain Square.
The infectious two minute 46 second dance video, to the tune of Pharrell Williams’ Happy, has gone viral, attracting more than 300,000 visitors across the globe.
Levanna has been inundated with people telling her they love the part when, one minute 38 seconds into the video, a man dressed in a brown jacket, black trousers and tan shoes, starts dancing beside her.
The 17-year-old, from Winterbourne, has posted seven videos of herself northern soul dancing at various locations – each one characterised by her broad smile and distinctive dance moves.
In one you can see her dancing her socks off at the top of Glastonbury Tor, while in another, she grooves her way across Clifton Suspension Bridge. She has even danced on a famous monument in Russia.
But the video shot in Staple Hill is proving the biggest hit.
Levanna, a sixth-form student at Winterbourne International Academy, said: “I still don’t know who the man is but I’ve got a lot to thank him for because that’s what people love about the video.
“He is just so genuine. He can’t hear the music as I had headphones on in the video but clearly he feels something. I’d love for him to know how many people love him. Everyone says he’s amazing and makes the video.”
The video shows Levanna springing onto Broad Street from Beaufort Road where you can spot Tesco in the background. As she glides down the road, pedestrians walk by and the music changes to the northern soul classic Happy by Velvet Hammer.
When Levanna reaches Bunch florist she is spotted by the mystery man who just can’t help but join in.
Levanna visits potential locations with mum Eve Arslett who films and edits the videos. When they drove through Staple Hill, they immediately knew Broad Street would be perfect.
“As we went through Staple Hill, it seemed appropriate for what we wanted to do. It turned out a lot better than we thought because of the amazing reaction to the video.”
The teenager made her first video when visiting Russia this summer. She is seen strutting her stuff across the Yury Dolguruky monument in Moscow.
“It was a really slippery surface and I thought this would be a great place to dance. I started sliding around and my mum filmed me. When we got home we thought it would be funny to put some music to it and then put it on YouTube. It got a really positive response and I enjoyed making it so much I decided to make another one and it just blossomed from there.”
Levanna’s love of northern soul music developed after listening to her mum’s old records.
“My mum was into it in the 80s and had all the records but it took me a while to realise how much I loved the music. I was into music like Amy Winehouse and the Specials so I had those soul influences but I wasn’t quite there. I then realised ‘Hang on, my mum’s got this gold mine of records, why have I never thought about this before?’
“When you listen to music that you love, you can’t help but to start moving.”
Levanna travels up and down the country to all-nighters where she dances the night away to northern soul music, Black American soul music which became popular in the north of England from the late 1960s.
“Most of the all-nighters are up north, near the Stoke on Trent area, Rugby and Nuneaton. It’s definitely an obsession. When I come home from school, I listen to northern soul music, I dance to northern soul music, I have posters on my wall of record labels. It’s taken over my social life.
“I never anticipated the positive reaction the videos would get. It’s so heart-warming when people message you privately on YouTube and say ‘We’ve fallen in love with you, we think you’re ace’. It really brings it home that these people have watched my videos and they like me for what I love doing and for being happy.”
The first northern soul tune Levanna danced to was the Velvettes, I’ve Gotta Find Me Somebody, which remains one of her favourites along with The Precisions If this Is Love.
“That tune epitomises me getting into northern soul,” she said.
“It’s even influenced my YouTube name, If this Is Lev.”
You Tube fame appears to run in Levanna’s family – her nine-year-old brother Schaeffer has reached more than two million hits demonstrating his skateboarding prowess.
Buoyed by the reaction to her videos, Levanna has no plans to stop.
She said: “I’ll definitely carry on posting videos because I love making them and seeing people’s reactions both whilst I’m making them and after I’ve put them on YouTube. It’s just so motivating and makes me want to make another one so more people can see. We need more happiness in the world so it would be great to influence some of that.”