Nourish Yourself with Strange Fruit

Two of the three belles performing at the IU Art Museum, Friday, September 23, 2011.

This past weekend my son and I spent time at the 18th annual Lotus World Music & Arts Festival, and we both agreed that the single most engaging piece was Strange Fruit. Lotus is better known for its music acts. I loved dancing with the Swedish hip-hop boys, Movits!, I was swept away by the Caribbean a capella sounds of the Creole Choir of Cuba, and I’m ready for a trip to Nashville to hear more American roots sung by Abigail Washburn (think Alison Krauss, slightly lower-pitched and with banjo instead of fiddle). But to name a singular WOW, I’m going with Australia’s Strange Fruit.

Notice the workman on scaffolding even higher than the performers. He stood transfixed by the dancers in the sky for the full 20 minutes. I wished I'd had his perspective, too.

How to describe the non-edible, yet loaded with cultural nourishment, Strange Fruit? This troupe’s genre is a fusion: part dance, part mime, part circus, part engineering.

One of the most engaging aspects, is the way the performers mount their poles and unfold their costumes in full view–also in full character. Notice in the following video how entranced the kids are. (Of course, one toddler was more interested in the grass. But most remained transfixed.) I saw a babe in arms waving to the women dancing in the sky. And I heard from another mom that after the 3:15 performance,  one of the belles, as soon as she had climbed down her pole and set foot on the ground, was surrounded by enchanted children.

Strange Fruit’s three touring troupes bring a variety of acts to public spaces all over the world. We saw “The Three Belles”. If you have the chance, see them on a street or in a park near you. Nourish yourself.

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