Internet phenom Gurdeep Pandher brings dancing and lessons of joy to Vernon schools

Dancing for joy

Tracey Prediger

He’s known across social media for his bhangra dancing and spreading joy and positivity.

Gurdeep Pandher brought his moves with a message to students at Vernon's Alexis Park Elementary School Wednesday afternoon.

"Every single day, if not every single day, once, twice a week, find some moments. Find your joy, because joy is a healing experience," says Pandher, who is an educator from the Yukon.

He made a name for himself during the pandemic by sharing his hopeful outlook in regular posts on Instagram and YouTube.

School District 22 Supt. Christine Perkins became a daily follower and relied on his posts to help cope with the stress of being an educator at the time. "It helped me get through in a really good way, and I even did some bhangra dancing, so it was great," she says.

When Perkins learned Pandher would be in nearby Kamloops, she made a call, and her invitation was accepted.

Educators agree strong physical and mental health can transfer to better learning outcomes, both in the classroom and in life.

While the importance of joy and positivity are still part of Pandher's teachings, he knows his audience is at an age of awareness about cultures and they’re beginning to develop world views.

"I have a different kind of look, a different kind of visibility. When they dance with me, they meet me, they talk to me. It opens up their world," he says.

It's a cross-culture choreography Perkins welcomes to the district as another way of learning.

"We can all be happy together, we can learn something together and we can respect and honour each other in so many different ways."

Alexis Park principal Carol-Ann Leidloff was thrilled to introduce Pandher's energy to her students.

"We have many students with diverse backgrounds, and I think he just brings a really positive role model to show that anybody can share a message of joy and positivity, and it brings our school community closer together as a result," said Leidloff.

Pandher will also be visiting Ellison and Mission Hill elementary schools on Friday.

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