Canada is loving the Bhangra adventures of Gurdeep Pandher of the Yukon
Yukon resident Gurdeep Pandher loves to get outside and he loves to dance, but, as evidenced by his viral videos that Canadians are loving, what he likes most is to dance outside.
Pandher, a Sikh, moved to Canada from India simply to travel the country, but he decided to stay, and now lives in a cabin in the woods near Whitehorse. He teaches the traditional Indian dance Bhangra to an online community, in addition to working for the government.
Recently, he started posting videos of himself dancing the bhangra throughout the Yukon as a way to show family and friends his new home. Then things began to change rather quickly.
“After I started posting just to show to my friends and families I realized that lots and lots of people are watching them, actually,” he says. “So that came as a big inspiration to do more in this direction. But in the beginning, it was very organic without any expectation without any plan to go in this direction. But this love of the people, this affection motivated me to make more videos, post more videos and be more creative in this direction.”
When the pandemic hit and faced with an increasingly intolerable world, Pandher took it upon himself to spread some joy and happiness to the masses. And the online community in Canada has responded, turning Pandher into something of an internet sensation, quite unbeknownst to him.
“I've been dancing, but I was not in touch with viral things. So first people started telling me ‘hey, your video is going viral.’ I said, okay, and I started understanding more, and more about what viral means,” he says. “The views to me are nice too, but I think more I feel touched by the reaction, the engagement, the messages and the letters people wrote. Just the connection which people were creating, like really human-to-human connection. I mean, I found that very valuable.”
Pandher now has more than 20,000 followers of his Twitter account Gurdeep Pandher of Yukon, and each video is usually shared hundreds of times. And, he’s come to appreciate the connections and is taking the opportunity to spread a positive message.
“I'm trying to spread happiness and hope through my videos,” he says. “I find it very important especially after the pandemic so that people can find a moment of joy. The second thing which I am passionate about is creating cross-cultural bridges like bringing people together. Especially after some recent news and all that stuff.”
This summer, Pandher took his Bhangra skills on the road for a trip to Vancouver Island and other areas of British Columbia where he was particularly enamoured with the area on the west side of the island and the towns of Tofino and Ucluelet.
“It is a really beautiful and wonderful place for Canadians to go and relax and just chill out and be happy and enjoy the moment,” Pandher says. “Yeah, I think that I am in love with that place.”
Now back in the Yukon, Pandher is gearing up for more dance lessons but is also already plotting a cross-Canada happiness tour to spread his message.
“I’d like to do a sort of happiness or positivity detour,” he says. “Although I didn't make any plans yet, probably next year when we have some more good news in terms of the pandemic and more we can with interactions. So then I will probably be going everywhere and just spreading my message.”
For now, follow along with Gurdeep Pandheer of the Yukon here and add a little bhangra happiness in your own life.