Winning dance group gets rousing welcome in Orissa

Bhubaneswar, Aug 25 (IANS) Members of Orissa's victorious Prince Dance Group, all daily wage earners and none with professional dance training, got a rousing welcome in Berhampur railway station early Tuesday morning after winning the hotly-contested TV reality show "India's Got Talent".

The artistes reached Berhampur station by Konark express from Mumbai at about 1.30 a.m., a senior district police official told IANS. They won the grand finale in Mumbai Saturday night.

Residents of Berhampur and fans, including senior district government officials, were present at the station to welcome the contestants with flowers. The artistes were later taken to Berhampur town in a grand procession, the official said. Many of the fans burst crackers and shouted slogans praising the dancers.

The Prince Dance Group from Berhampur town, nearly 180 km from here, was selected out of 45,000 competitors to perform at the grand finale.

The group, comprising 26 artistes all below 22 years, held the audience and the judges spellbound with their performance, which was based on episodes from the Mahabharata.

Led by their 26-year-old dance teacher Krishna Mohan Reddy, who never had any formal training in dance, the group won the Rs.50 lakh (Rs.5 million) cash award and a Maruti Suzuki Ritz car.

Reddy, who arrived separately Monday, said all the artistes would now concentrate on dance.

"We are now planning to participate in international competitions," he told reporters.

Reddy also thanked people of the state, the corporates, media and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for encouraging them throughout the competition.

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