It’s the dead of winter in Minnesota, and that means snow. Once again, we find ourselves hunkered down while a winter storm bears down on us, promising to leave behind anywhere from 5 to 12 inches of snow. There are locals who dread these events because snow simply represents extra cold and extra work.
Then there are the locals — like me — who love each new snowfall, no matter how many inches we get (12 is better than 5, though). I happen to think that snow is beautiful, and I enjoy the outdoor activities that it affords — hiking, snowshoeing, and skiing. I did pop in on my niece and her husband ice fishing last week, but that held a lot less appeal for me!
While I do love a good heavy snowfall (especially the ten-inches), I don’t think that I have ever thought about dancing in the snow. Until last week, that is when I stumbled across and interesting article in the Christian Science Monitor about a Punjabi-Canadian named Gurdeep Pandher who has a become famous for doing traditional Punjabi folk dances in the snow in The Yukon. Yes, you read that correctly — Punjabi folk dancing in The Yukon!
He has led firefighters and police officers to the rhythms of bhangra – a centuries-old dance that hails from the farming fields of Punjab. He has danced in front of Canada’s Parliament in Ottawa and amid crashing waves of the country’s Pacific Coast.
But these days, Gurdeep Pandher has more fans than he ever has – by posting videos of himself dancing in the snow-covered forest behind his cabin near Whitehorse in Yukon, Canada’s northwesternmost territory.
At this time of year, it’s not until about 11 a.m. that the sun comes out, filtering through the trees and drawing him outdoors. “It looks so beautiful, to me it looks just like magic,” he says. “I do feel like I live in a winter wonderland.”
The dance style is called Bhangra.
Bhangra began as a farmer’s dance in Punjab to celebrate a good harvest, but it’s found its way across the globe, from trendy DJ fusions to entertainment on basketball courts of North America. Mr. Pandher has been dancing it since he was a child, and he says there’s no surprise to him that it’s caught on – for its upbeat sounds and its core value of joy. “If you’re dancing bhangra, and you are not happy, that is not bhangra, even if you are doing all the moves perfectly,” he says.
And of course, he does what everyone seems to be doing these days, he posts videos of his dancing on YouTube!
Isn’t that the most Canadian thing ever!
And to give you a glimpse of some of the beauty of winter in Minnesota, here are some recent photos of my own.
Happy Snow Dancing!