It's that time of time of the year again: The dance powerhouse that has been providing the University of Tennessee with entertainment since 2001 is back with their Spring 2014 performance.
Strange Fruit Dance Company is looking to build on their recent success from brief previous events such as the Alpha Phi Alpha's "Miss Black and Gold Scholarship" pageant with a performance at Cox Auditorium tonight at 7 p.m.
Strange Fruit is composed of a diverse of group of dancers that pride themselves on their passion and dedication to the craft. As seen in their name, the goal of this dance collective is to make what is usually viewed as strange more familiar and appreciated. Specifically, they hope to open students' eyes to a less traditional form of dance.
This comes naturally; Strange Fruit is not your traditional dance company.
Strange Fruit allow dancers of all backgrounds and skill levels to join the team and treat the company as a home to craft their skills. They use performances, such as the one tonight, not only to showcase their talents but also to market themselves to potential dancers at the university looking for a group to join.
"The veterans and more experienced dancers reach out and help the newcomers so that they won't be embarrassed and discouraged," said Tayla Brown, second-year performer at the company.
The overall culture of the company is one of growth and improvement; Brown said this mentality leads them to be able to put on a quality show but still welcome students that might not have a lot of experience. Brown went on to describe the team as being "like one big family," and this is a quality that they pride themselves on.
Because of the diversity of their dancers, Strange Fruit is able to bring a unique concept to its dance routines, and this year the dancers have chosen to title the event "La Coeur de la Vie," which is French for "The Heart of Life."
"This year's show will be one for the books," said Elizabeth Sueing, creative director of the company.
Building on their formula of forming dance routines around new school hip-hop songs and older classics, this year's show will showcase dance numbers to songs ranging from "Blood on the Leaves" by Kanye West to "It's a Man's Man's World" by James Brown.
Although Strange Fruit has big shoes to fill with the success of their previous shows, Sueing is not worried.
"I've never been as proud of a group of dancers as I am this year," Sueing said. "All the hard work and progression is amazing."
Tickets for the show are available at the door for $5.