Yukon’s Gurdeep Pandher joins forces with Edmonton’s Ukrainian Shumka dancers

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Yukon’s Gurdeep Pandher joins forces with Edmonton’s Ukrainian Shumka dancers
It’s a special dance collaboration of two distinct cultural styles and it’s all in support of Ukraine. Nicole Stillger has more on the social media video and the message it hopes to send – Mar 6, 2022

Yukon’s favourite inspirational dancer, Gurdeep Pandher, has joined forces with Edmonton’s Ukrainian Shumka dancers.

“We wanted to show unity, togetherness — that we here in Canada, or in the world we are together for Ukraine, for the people of the Ukraine,” Pandher said.

In a video posted to social media, they blended their two dance styles together — Punjabi bhangra dancing and traditional Ukrainian dancing.

Read more: Whitehorse mayor’s lesson in turban tying, Bhangra dancing goes viral

“It gave us a way to just highlight the strength, resiliency and the pride of Ukrainian people and the battles they’re fighting over there,” Ukrainian Shumka dancer Elyse Dzenick said.

Pandher is known for his uplifting videos, using his platform to share powerful messages.

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“It’s very important for me to give those reminders every single day to people. It’s like daily affirmations,” Pandher said.

“I like to remind people that, ‘Hey, actually we are one people, we are one human race.  We belong to not just one corner, we belong to the whole planet.’”

He and the Shumka dancers learned each other’s dances through virtual training sessions.

Read more: “This church was built from women making perogies”: Calgarians serve up support for Ukraine

“I’ve never done bhangra dancing,” Dzenick said.

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“It was easy for us to pick up. [Gurdeep] did a great job teaching — it was pretty straightforward.”

Their video has received more than half a million views and with that a lot of positive feedback.

“People were writing that they were crying with tears of happiness and hope for unity in the world and peace in the world,” Pandher said.

They hope their message keeps resonating.

“You don’t have to be just a Ukrainian Canadian or of Ukrainian descent or in the Ukrainian community to show solidarity with Ukraine right now,” Ukrainian Shumka dancer Nic Pacholok said.

“Anything that I can do to help show any type of solidarity — it’s hard being here in Canada where you feel so removed from something that inside you feel affects you so deeply.”

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