Generally, when you decide to attend a dance performance, you can anticipate being treated to a single style of dance–ballet, highland, tap, contemporary, etc. The 2019 Bhangra Concert taking place at the Yukon Arts Centre on Saturday, Nov. 23, from 7 to 9 p.m., will break that mold. Gurdeep Pandher, along with his dance students, will lead the evening’s performances.
“I wanted the show not only to celebrate the growth of Sikh cultural dance in the Yukon, but to also use the stage as a platform to bring other cultures and art forms together in one space. It was an opportunity to promote and celebrate unity-in-diversity and cross-cultural fusions. I believe that dance unites people, so that inspired me to bring as many Yukoners from as many different cross-cultural backgrounds as possible together to create this show.”
The breadth of those cross-cultural fusions will not disappoint. Along with traditional bhangra performances, the audience will be treated to bhangra performed to Irish-Celtic music from Crooked Fork; to live music from The Hibernation; to bagpipes and drumming from the Midnight Sun Pipe Band; and to taiko drumming from the Japanese Canadian Association of Yukon. A wide range of other performers will grace the stage throughout the evening as well. Thirty youth from the Heart of Riverdale’s Rise, Focus, and Fly pre-professional dance programs will perform with Pandher and his students. The evening will also showcase the talents of highland dancers, Indigenous dancers and Yukon College students.
“I believe that being inclusive and open, and bringing the community together to do things is very important,” said Pandher. “This gives our community its strength and I wanted this show to celebrate that.”
The audience is also going to get an opportunity to get in on the action. Immediately after the concert, the Arts Centre lobby will become a dance floor for free-style bhangra dance fueled by the talents of a DJ. The fun will keep going until 11 p.m. and Pandher hopes that the audience members will all stay to participate in the fun.
“Now that we’re back into the cold and dark part of the year, it’s important to find ways to kindle the Christmas spirit,” he said. “What better way to do this then with high-energy bhangra moves that will put a smile on all our faces.”
Tickets can be purchased directly from the website Gurdeep.ca. If you are inspired by what you see, you can also find information on this website about Pandher’s bhangra classes, the next session of which is slated to start in January.