Waltzing Big Issue seller Danila Cirpaciu is fast becoming a favourite of his Nicolson Street patch by entertaining passers-by with the pick of his best dance moves.
With his headphones tuned to Romanian hits, the snappily-dressed 48-year-old – renowned for his colourful cravats – has been raising eyebrows and lifting spirits along the Southside stretch for months.
His rhythmic shuffles have caused a stir with commuters and shoppers alike, many of whom reward his vivacious attitude by picking up a copy of the street magazine that helps provide the homeless with a steady income.
Danila has even been known to produce a tambourine and is said to dress up in festive garb at Christmas.
The Romanian national said his dance routines help to connect with customers who can’t understand his thick accent.
“Everybody understands dance which is why I do it,” he said. “When I came over my English really wasn’t very good so when I started selling the Big Issue I danced to make them happy.”
The father-of-four, who claims to have been a professional dancer in his native Romania, emigrated to Scotland four years ago after his family broke up following the death of this dad.
His mother and brother went to live in Belgium while Danila fell on hard times in the Capital.
He now lives in Granton with his 11-year-old daughter and three boys aged two, eight and 12.
But Danila hits the street outside Tesco almost every day – with some office workers even joining in for an impromptu dance-off.
One customer, Alison Fayers-Kerr, 61, who is attending the Fringe while on holiday from her home in Oxford, said his performance was “unique”.
“He’s doing his little dance and is such a nice guy,” she said.
Another Danila fan, Gerard Drinkwater, said he tries to buy a Big Issue every time he passes the Romanian.
“I like his gentle eccentricity and think he is a good-hearted man,” he said. “I feel I need to help. He’s a positive soul and I wish him well.”
He was described as “always smiling” and “never rude” by several more Nicolson Street regulars.
Sarah Christie, who works at the Big Issue Edinburgh office, said Danila is a well-liked vendor.
“He is very popular with his dancing and is always entertaining,” she said.
“He’s always dancing when he’s in the office and telling us how he was a famous singer and dancer back in Romania.
“He’s well known by students in the area and is always making people happy.”
Magazine editor Paul McNamee described Danila as “a great vendor and a wonderful advocate for The Big Issue”.
“It’s a hard, hard job standing out there selling the magazine to earn your living,” he said. “It takes guts and determination from every man and woman who does this, who make this choice to lift themselves up and out of poverty.
“I encourage people everywhere to always stop and chat to a vendor when they see them. Not all are as lively as Danila, but they will all appreciate a hello.”
The Big Issue launched in 1991, and currently works with about 2000 homeless people across the UK to “help them to help themselves”.
Vendors buy copies for £1.25 that they sell for £2.50 – but Danila throws in his dancing skills as a free bonus.