“I like to think of myself as the crazy freedom you didn't know you needed.”
The dancing happiness guru
He has inspired a whole world with his happy dances. Meet Kjetil Krogstad on his dancing journey through Norway.
"I have been dancing since I was four years old," Kjetil says.
The 34-year-old grew up in Kristiansand in Southern Norway. While most of the other children his age were playing football, Kjetil was taking classes in ballroom dancing, jazz dance, and ballet. He also attended training camps and dance contests, and took song and theatre courses.
Today, Kjetil works as a kindergarten director, but has never stopped dancing in his spare time. This has opened up unimaginable possibilities, and he now gets recognised on the street as a dance influencer from social media.
"I do it for myself, because I have fun with it and it makes me happy. I would quit if it felt like pressure, or if I noticed that the likes and response were affecting me too much. But if others tell me I am spreading joy and have made their day too, then it makes me even more happy!"
It started just for fun, when Kjetil made what he calls "Friday dances", which he shared in private groups with friends and family for about a year. Then, for Halloween in 2021, he dressed like the Norwegian prime minister at work, with a suit and tie. He spontaneously made a dancing movie with this outfit too and decided to post it on his TikTok and Instagram accounts, which he had not used that much yet.
"For some reason the video got 80,000 views in just a couple of days. It was crazy," says Kjetil.
A few days later, a celebrity discovered him and shared the video too.
"That's when it really exploded," laughs Kjetil.
He also thinks some places he visits are extra spectacular and bring out a special atmosphere that he wants to link to a particular music or dance style.
"I often dance samba or Latino moves on the beach. But in the mountains, for example by The Troll Wall or in the Sunnmøre Alps, I might use some rock music or something that matches the raw surroundings a bit more."
What was the highlight of the trip?
"Hmm, Norway has so many nice places, but I think it must be Bodø and Tromsø that stood out. It might be because I had never been that far north before." laughs Kjetil.
"We also saw a lot of reindeer everywhere in Tromsø. Our guide said we could go down and have a dance show with them, and I think they liked it!"
“I especially remember the small island, Sommarøy – a magical place with a beautiful, deserted beach where we took a freezing dip.”
Mixing cultures and dances
Kjetil likes to experiment with different genres and dances, and make his own twist. In some of the videos, he also tried to mix it up with a traditional folk dance in Norway, called Halling.
"I really like the traditional Norwegian Halling dance, and even tried to learn it myself, but that was right before the pandemic hit the country in 2020 so it ended pretty quickly."
"It was a fun experience, but there weren't many people in my age group there. In fact, it was more of a meeting place for elderly people, where we had cakes and coffee before the dancing lessons. But I had a very good time, learned a few things, and got inspired. One of the dancers there was in fact 92 years old, so that was pretty impressive!"
Ended up on an American talk show
In many of the videos, Kjetil is dancing with a special item – a coffee cup. But why?
"That's totally random, like everything else that has happened during the last year. I saw a video of two people dancing with coffee cups, and thought it was cool. And the town where I live now, Porsgrunn, is known for making porcelain, so I grabbed a porcelain cup I had and ran outside to make a Narnia-inspired video where I come dancing 'out of a tree'."
Little did he know that this video would be his ticket to an appearance on an American talk show.
"Suddenly, I got a message from a reporter on the American talk show, Access Daily, where Mario Lopez is the host. They asked if they could use my video on their show. And when I posted a video about me being featured on the show, Lopez himself reposted it on his Instagram. That felt really crazy," says Kjetil.
Too shy to show off
The stereotype is that Norwegians are a bit shy and don't like to show off too much. Surprisingly enough, confident-looking Kjetil also feels a bit shy when he dances, and often looks for places that are not too crowded.
"I usually don't dance in the middle of crowded places. I don't like standing in front of people, especially if there are only a few people dancing. But if there are more people dancing, it's no problem," explains Kjetil.
He admits that he felt a bit weird in the beginning, thinking of how many people would be watching him online. But he is used to it now and doesn't care so much.
"I think the best tip on how to dance in public if you are shy, is really just to practice many times and try over and over again to see what happens. You will then get more and more used to it."
At the same time, he has only ever received a positive response when someone has seen him.
"In Bodø, I hiked down from the mountain in my suit, and everyone we met smiled and said 'wow, what a cool outfit to see in the mountains', so that was very fun!"
Who is Kjetil Krogstad?
Kjetil Krogstad is from Kristiansand in Norway. He works as a kindergarten director, but is known as an influencer who spreads happy dance videos on TikTok and Instagram.
His TikTok account has over 200,000 followers and garnered more than 2.5 million likes.
Follow Kjetil on SoMe:
Norway is not the capital of Sweden. Discover the real Norway!