Of all the dazzling sights to be seen on NWT highways, Daniel Odgers Stedman embodies one of the rarest: a dancing road maintenance worker.  

A video of Stedman twirling his stop sign while busting dance moves on a stretch of Highway 1 near Kakisa went viral on Facebook recently. On the CBC North and Hell Yeah Yellowknife Facebook pages combined, the video quickly drew more than one million views and hundreds of comments. 

The video was initially uploaded to Hell Yeah Yellowknife by passing motorist Iona Renee, at a stop where Stedman’s colleagues were doing chip sealing work. 

“How can he be happy with all the mosquitoes out there?” asks Renee’s passenger Monique Hurley during the video. Renee laughs and says, “I love that!” 

Daniel Odgers Stedman has become a social media sensation in the NWT after a video showing him dancing for motorists at a work site on Highway 1 went viral on Facebook.
photo courtesy of Daniel Odgers Stedman

One could also ask how Stedman finds the energy to strut his stuff under the blazing sun. 

“It just kind of came into my mind. Like, ‘How can I make people laugh? How can I make the day a little bit better?’” Stedman said on the phone from Hay River, where his crew with Arrowsmith Road Maintenance was staying on Aug 3. The Victoria, B.C., resident and his company were contracted by the territorial government to do road work in the NWT. 

His routine for drivers started on June 9 when he was stationed in Castlegar, B.C., southeast of Kelowna. 

“It really didn’t even start with dancing. It was just funny hand signals. It made people laugh. And then it just started into a dance and people were loving it. So I just started dancing and then I started doing some flips with the sign just to do something new. I try and kind of keep it new with people and make it so it’s a different experience.

“And I was dancing out there and I just had hundreds of people record me and just told me that it made their day better. It just made me not want to stop. So I just kept on dancing and trying to make people’s day.”

The video shot near Kakisa is the first time Stedman is aware of his road show going viral online. The social media fame had to wait until he came North, but he said that British Columbian drivers showed their appreciation offline. 

“Smiles, thumbs up, laughter. It just, it was really nice. And I had people stopping (and) a bunch of people (were) giving me water because it’s just really warm out. I had people handing me stuff from McDonald’s. I had people give me chicken,” he said. “It sounds really random but I still really appreciate it because we’re on the road for 12 to 16 hours working and you gotta have a big lunch pack. So when I ran out of food, it was perfect. It really helped out.”

He wants to eventually try out his work site dancing in Victoria and be different from what he calls the “miserable” demeanor of many flaggers and construction crews in the B.C. capital. 

“In orientations, they literally tell you about how you’re gonna get spit on, people swearing at you and getting angry that you’re holding them in a lineup. I just tried to make that a little bit different.”

While he’s here, Stedman is soaking up the natural surroundings of the NWT and appreciating the conversations he has with Northerners. 

Motorists who have yet to see Stedman in action might still get their chance. This week his crew heads to Fort Smith and next week they’re on to the Fort Simpson area. Stedman expects they’ll return to Victoria in three to four weeks.

Blair McBride

Blair McBride covers the Legislative Assembly, business and education. Before coming to Yellowknife he worked as a journalist in British Columbia, Thailand and Ontario. He studied journalism at Western...

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  1. Daniel’s dancing continues to delight me, and I am rather addicted to the video. When I was 17,
    70 years ago, I had a similar boring, trying summer job working on highway widening in
    Ontario, and three of us took to singing for motorists who had to stop nears. It brightened
    Our Day and Theirs We Always Hoped!

  2. We had to wait a long time for the pilot truck to escort us so we’re a little irritated but once we drove by him you put smiles on our faces just changed the mood all together !

  3. This is one of my grandsons so proud of him he is a very sweet gentle young man and always ready for fun and laughter love you Daniel.