Ucluelet councillor and Community Paramedic Rachelle Cole gets a Bhangra lesson from Gurdeep Pandher on Aug. 11. (Nora O’Malley photo)

Ucluelet councillor and Community Paramedic Rachelle Cole gets a Bhangra lesson from Gurdeep Pandher on Aug. 11. (Nora O’Malley photo)

Yukon’s social media star Gurdeep Pandher promotes unity through dance

“I am raising awareness to embrace diversity.”

Yukon-based Bhangra dancer Gurdeep Pandher spent last week touring Vancouver Island, and he brought his 19.5K Twitter followers along for the ride.

A video of Pandher, dancing joyously barefoot on Long Beach in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve was shared by over 500 people and loved by thousands. His dancing tour of the Island garnered so much attention that he was invited to the B.C. Legislature to teach his traditional Punjab dance to Premier John Horgan, Victoria MLAs and staff.

At Ucluelet’s iconic Amphitrite Point Lighthouse last week, Pandher took some time to show Ucluelet councillor and Community Paramedic Rachelle Cole a few moves.

“Through my dance, I am raising awareness to embrace diversity. When I [say] diversity, I mean embracing everyone,” he said.

“I am also trying to add some joy, positivity and happiness with the masses. We can come together and build those cross-cultural bridges. We often fill divided and when we feel divided we go into our own bubbles. I am trying to bring people out of our own bubble so see the bigger picture, we can connect, and we can dance,” said Pandher.

Cole said dance, much like food, attire and music, is a fabulous layer of cultural experience.

“Any time we can get our body moving we should—pair it with this happy charismatic gentleman, beautiful West Coast day, and a fantastic backdrop… I left Amphitrite [Lighthouse] feeling invigorated and happy—happy to be as fortunate as we are to live where we live, especially during these challenging times. We should all strive to take the time find ways to bring moments of happy to one another. Thank you Gurdeep,” said Cole.

Throughout the closures brought on by COVID-19, the joyous Bhangra dancing videos gave his followers an outlet to be happy, notes Pandher. Shortly after, in the month of July, the Black Lives Matter rallies raised his platform on a whole new level.

“That movement touched a lot of us in many ways. People were reflecting on that. There were a lot of rallies and protests. It was great, but it was creating a lot of sadness too. These news were not happy news. I do feel that racism and discrimination does exist in our country,” he said.

“Me being a person of colour, these type of things resonate with me too. I know what discrimination means. I know what racism means. I think that everybody should recognize that it does exist. And how to eliminate this and how to come out of this so we can create an equal society for everyone so that everyone can be happy, thrive and prosper,” Pandher said.

Cole agreed.

“The more opportunities/initiatives that encourage this kind of engagement the better we will be as community’s, a society and as humans,” she said.

During his tour of Vancouver Island, Pandher also shared videos of dancing with members of the Nanaimo Fire Department, a West Shore RCMP officer, and Canada’s NDP leader Jagmeet Singh.



nora.omalley@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

READ: Famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer brings movements of joy to Long Beach

PHOTOS: Emotions run high at Tofino’s anti-racism rally

Lighthouseucluelet

Just Posted

Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
Two Nanaimo care-home residents have died during COVID-19 outbreak

Death reported Monday was the second related to Chartwell Malaspina outbreak, says Island Health

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Members of the BC RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit (EDU) were deployed to Drummond Park opposite of Fulford Habour on Saltspring Island after the discovery of a suspicious cylindrical-shaped device on Jan. 20. (Google/Screencap)
UPDATED: Bomb disposal unit still determining nature of suspicious device found on Salt Spring Island

Police say a resident discovered the device Wednesday morning in Drummond Park opposite BC Ferries terminal

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The objectives of the Vancouver Island Down Syndrome Society include peer support for parents and caregivers, as well as developing support services, projects, educational and employment opportunities for people with Down Syndrome. Photo supplied.
Vancouver Island Down Syndrome Society offers support for families in the community

New non-profit seeking directors in cities across Vancouver Island

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

The Rogers Creek Trail main trailhead is located on the Redford Extension in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Hiker rescued after cold few hours in the bush outside Port Alberni

Alberni Valley Rescue Squad said they receive frequent calls for people lost on this trail

A suspect has been arrested in connection with fires at Drinkwater Elementary (pictured) and École Mount Prevost. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Arson suspect arrested after fires at Cowichan Valley schools

Drinkwater Elementary and Mount Prevost schools hit within a week

The Victoria Fire Department extinguished a 15 foot tent fire in the 500-block of Ellice Street Jan. 19. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Victoria police investigating after 15-foot flames engulf tent

Flames damage nearby business in 500-block of Ellice Street

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Hecht Beach cabin in ashes. (Submitted)
Beloved secret cabin lost to fire on the North Island’s west coast

The trappers cabin was shared with locals, but kept mostly secret

Oyster River Fire Rescue members were called out to a suspicious fire in Black Creek. Two vehicles parked at a private residence were destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Rescue
Suspicious fire destroys two vehicles at Vancouver Island residence

Oyster River Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to a fire at a… Continue reading

Most Read