Fans of Starz wrapped series Spartacus by showrunner Steven DeKnight will remember Manu Bennett, the smoldering actor who was the feisty Crixus in the series.
Last week he was captured doing a ritual haka dance in a sacred space, and as is tradition, he stripped down and did the dance that is unique to the New Zealand people, specifically the Maori which Bennett has lineage on his father’s side.
The New Zealand Herald reported the news and embedded video of the ritualistic dance with Bennett on location for work in Romania. The actor did his dance at Sarmizegetusa Regia, a Unesco World Heritage site in the ancient capital of Dacia, last week.
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We spotted @manubennett doing a naked Haka dance in the temple of #sarmizegetusa , the capital of ancient Dacia. #haka #hakadance #comiccon #romania #newzealand #comicconromania #crixus #manubennett #manubennettcomiccon #manubennettfans credit of finding out who that naked guy was goes to @tanja.zoellner Edit : at the time we shot the video, we did not know that this was @manubennett, as it all happened so fast. And as it clearly shows, my annoying giggling at the beginning instantly stopped the moment the Haka Dance started, as I was struck by how powerful it was, particularly within this context. None of us felt that this was disrespectful, and I believe the commotion with the guards was mainly because visitors were simply not allowed in the center of the temple, as it is a protected heritage, and not because of the Haka dance or the fact that @manubennett was naked. So we hope people who are sharing this story share it accurately without exaggeration and disrespect.
What is a haka dance?
Called a “dance of war,” The haka is an ancient Maori war dance that was used on the battlefield, but also at gatherings where groups came assembled in peaceful times too. Haka is meant to convey the tribe’s pride and unity.
The dance is staccato in movement with stamping and strong arm movement and leg stance with tongue protrusions and rhythmic body slapping as the participants chant in unison. It has a dramatic effect meant to convey true strength.
Sharp-eyed TV watchers also know that the recent Dance Mom’s reality TV series with Abby Lee featured a haka dance with her young students.
Who was Crixus from Spartacus on Starz?
Played by Manu Bennett, Crixus was Bennett, who was the only actor who starred in all three seasons of Spartacus and the prequel series for Starz.
Manu worked with both actors who played Spartacus, the late Andy Whitfield who died of non-Hodgkin lymphoma after portraying Spartacus in the first season and then the actor hired to replace him, Liam McIntyre, playing the titular role the second season onward.
Whitfield’s battle with cancer gutted the cast, crew and fans alike.
Ultimately Crixus, Bennett’s character, was a warrior to the end and met his death in Rome in a beheading.
The show was a ratings winner for Starz and an eye-popping feast following the saga of one of history’s greatest warriors.
One thing is for certain, Bennett is a Kiwi through and through, born in New Zealand in 1969. His background blends Kiwi native and European. His mother (Scottish descent) was an Australian bikini model and his father – who is Maori (Te Arawa and Ngāti Kahungunu) and his family moved to Australia and raised him on the larger continent.
Apparently, some people in Romania who witnessed the display did not appreciate the naked haka dance at the sacred World Heritage Site and called the police on Bennett.