It is the perfect rags-to-riches tale. A dance troupe made up of daily wage labourers will perform at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games. The Prince Dance Group will show off its prowess at the sporting event, which starts on October 3, in Delhi.
The group hails from a tiny village close to Berhampur, Orissa and was started in 2005 by Krishna Gopal Reddy.It initially shot to fame last year when it won the reality show, India’s Got Talent, on TV channel, Colors.It is unique because it is made up entirely of daily labourers from a construction site, some as young as 15. None are professional dancers.
“I have only heard about the Commonwealth Games. I have no idea what it actually is or who are the competitors. All I’ve heard is that it is a huge platform. I haven’t decided anything about the performance,” admits Reddy.But he adds, “It feels great! It’s like a dream come true. From where we started off, none of us ever imagined that we would reach here.”Two of the members, Padmanabha Sahu and Telu Tarini are physically challenged.
“Padmanabha was my classmate,” Reddy says. “When I used to dance during my student days, he used to do whatever he could do. So I started training him and now, after all these years, he has improved a great deal and I’m sure after a few years, he won’t need anyone’s help to become a full-fledged dancer.”The group won Rs 50 lakh and a car from Colors. To top that, the Orissa government announced a cash prize of one crore rupees and four acres of land for the group to build a dance academy.
Reddy says, “Out of the prize money, Rs 20 lakh was deducted as taxes and of the remaining 30 lakh, we distributed a lakh each among all the boys. As for the car, we have given it to the village, so that the villagers can use it in an emergency.”But as for the government’s promise, Krishna says, “The talks are still on. We have heard nothing concrete about their decision. But if we do get the land, I would love to start a dance institute.
“Then, I will teach many boys to dance. Many of them are very interested in dance now. I am sure if a proper path is paved, they will do amazing things. “In today’s dancing styles, people have forgotten what our culture is and I want to remind them in a form in which they understand,” he signs off.