Gurdeep Pandher is a Yukon-based, Bhangra artist and educator. He creates performance pieces that bring together people from all backgrounds while promoting inclusivity. He is also best known for bringing joy, hope and positivity during the pandemic through his online dance classes, videos and uplifting messages. Millions of viewers throughout the world watch his online dance performances and videos. Videos of Gurdeep dancing Bhangra in frigid cold temperatures at -45ºC/-49ºF, and on frozen lakes and rivers of Canada’s North gained worldwide recognition. He lives in a small cabin without running water in the wilderness of the Yukon. 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, have published Gurdeep’s works. Gurdeep was also named “This week’s Greatest Canadian” by Global News Radio! Gurdeep is also one of 5 panellists for the 2023 CBC Canada Reads show. Gurdeep’s Bhangra dance sessions are based on body and mind movement. They 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. He 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 sport, the military, charities and non-profit organizations. In 2017 he performed with Stephanie Dixon, a Canadian Paralympic Games medallist. In 2019, he visited the northernmost and self-government 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 to celebrate 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.
Also in 2021, he received the Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s Louie Kamookak Medal for making Canada’s geography better known to Canadians and to the world.
Also in 2021, The Govenemnt of Yukon awarded the Community Recreation Leadership Award to Gurdeep for making an outstanding contribution to community recreation in the Yukon Territory.
In 2023, he was a panalist on CBC Canada Reads.
In 2023, The Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador gave the honorary doctorate degree “Doctor of Laws honoris causa” to Gurdeep.
For more information, please visit Gurdeep.ca.
(During the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, a student learning virtually from Gurdeep Pandher. In 2021, Gurdeep provided online lessons to nearly 10,000 school students across Canada during a time when they were struggling to find joy in education and their lives.)