Yukon Bhangra dancer Gurdeep Pandher welcomes Canada’s capital

He has brought light and a lift to a COVID-19 tired Canada with his viral dance videos, and this week, Bhangra dancer Gurdeep Pandher brought his ebullience to the country’s capital.

Pandher, a dancer and teacher based in Dawson City, Yukon, has gained massive social media thanks to his YouTube videos and social media posts.

This week, he danced through Ottawa from Parliament Hill to the banks of the Ottawa River, the Rideau Canal, the Rideau Canoe Club and the Canadian Geographic Society.

Pandher even went outside the Greenbelt to dance with horses on a farm in Ashton, Ont., Although only some of the herd seemed to be paying attention.

Pandher had better luck teaching Bhangra to move to staff at the Children’s Hospital and the Ottawa Redblacks on the football field at Lansdowne Park.

“Some people are able to pick it up so quickly. For some people, it takes time,” Pandher said in an interview with CBC Radio Ottawa tomorrow.

He says his goal is twofold: to spread “joy, hope and positivity” with his Punjabi dance moves, and to encourage people to get vaccinated. The feedback he gets from fans burns up his dance.

“It’s not just digital messages. They write me so many handwritten beautiful letters all the way to my Yukon hut. I have received sketches and drawings. Someone from Newfoundland and Labrador sent me a blanket that was hooked by hand. People send. “Crochet work. It touched me a lot,” he said.

Gurdeep Pandher dances on Kathleen Lake in the Yukon’s Kluane National Park and Reserve. (CBC Arts)

Pandher taught Bhangra to dance by watching his parents and relatives dance the folk dances in Punjab. As a teenager, he started taking lessons from a professional teacher.

Now he uses the power of the internet to teach others. His joyful dance has also been an emotional antidote to the stresses of COVID-19.

“It’s not just social media. People reach out in person and tell me that this joy and hope and positivity that I spread helps them a lot,” said Pandher, who immigrated to Canada in 2006.

“When we are very thirsty and then drink, or when there is a long, dark night and we see the sunrise, we appreciate it. When there has been sadness, gloom and stress and [then] is there anything that is pleasing and positive? I think people connect with it. “

Montreal will be the Pandher’s next stop on this trip.

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