Gurdeep Pandher is a Bhangra artist and educator based in the Yukon. His performance pieces bring together people from all backgrounds while promoting inclusivity. Gurdeep is widely recognized for his online dance classes, videos, and uplifting messages that spread joy, hope, and positivity during the pandemic. His videos of Bhangra dance performances in frigid temperatures of -45ºC/-49ºF, and on frozen lakes and rivers of Canada’s North have gained global recognition. He lives in a small cabin without running water in the wilderness of the Yukon.
Gurdeep's work has been published by many international art and media organizations, including BBC News, CBC National, The Globe and Mail, CTV National, Nature Conservancy of Canada, CAA Magazine, and NBC. He was named "This week's Greatest Canadian" by Global News Radio. He was also one of 5 panelists for the 2023 CBC Canada Reads show.
Gurdeep's Bhangra dance sessions are a joyful way to introduce physical exercise and a nourishing route to a wholesome mental well-being wonderland. Bhangra is a traditional folk dance of Punjab.
Apart from the physical and mental uplift created through his dance movement, another meaningful side of Gurdeep's work is cultural knowledge sharing and learning for building inter-racial and cross-cultural bridges. Gurdeep has collaborated with people and artists from many different backgrounds, including Indigenous artists, to build a deeper understanding of multicultural Canada.
He also promotes inclusivity in sports, the military, charities, and non-profit organizations. In 2019, he visited the northernmost and self-governing Indigenous community of Old Crow in the Yukon to share his dance art with the Elders and other community members as part of his efforts to create connections and understanding across cultures. In 2019, he collaborated with the Canadian Armed Forces to create a video celebrating diversity and inclusivity in the military. He held free dance workshops with Doctors Without Borders and the Canadian Mental Health Association.
In 2021, Gurdeep received the Canadian Public Relations Society National President's Award for Outstanding Public Relations and Communications Management. He also received the Royal Canadian Geographical Society's Louie Kamookak Medal for making Canada's geography better known to Canadians and to the world. That same year, the Government of Yukon awarded him the Community Recreation Leadership Award for his outstanding contribution to community recreation in the Yukon Territory.
For his work, in May 2023, he was awarded the honorary degree "Doctor of Laws honoris causa" by the Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Check out these stories about Gurdeep Pandher:
BMO - Bank of Montreal: Inside Stories: The Joy of Dancing Bhangra-style
Please visit Gurdeep.ca/contact to sent a note to Gurdeep!