Twizted Yard Show emphasizes Greek unity

By Alice Smelyansky

No matter how many finals and assignments the sisters of Zeta Phi Beta may have ahead of them, those thoughts are set aside the moment they take the stage and start strolling, chanting, dancing and showcasing the deep-rooted traditions of a yard show. 

Tonight at 7 p.m., Zeta Phi Beta will host the second annual Twizted Yard Show at Lincoln Hall Theater, an event in which historically black fraternities will imitate historically black sororities, and where Zeta Phi Beta will imitate the five historically black fraternities on campus. 

“The yard show, to me personally, is another way for students to get to know the Greeks on campus, and that includes the diverse population,” said Keturah Prowell, head of the Twizted Yard Show committee, Zeta Phi Beta member and senior in LAS. 

Yard shows have been a tradition for the Black Greek Council for decades on campus, but the concept for the “twizted” yard show was created last year by Crystal Spruiell, Zeta Phi Beta member and senior in AHS. 

“Yard shows are something that the black Greek community prides themselves on,” Spruiell said. “A lot of historically black colleges do it on a daily basis. But it’s a little different at U of I. We usually take a little more formal approach here.”

A traditional yard show involves the active black sororities and fraternities presenting their call letters and signs, and sharing their principles and beliefs in an entertaining manner. One common method through which unity is represented is strolling, or forming a line and moving in unison with other members of the organization. 

“You’re asked to be respectful and not cut through it (the line),” Prowell said. “We take that to be very disrespectful, and it’s deeply rooted in the traditions of our organization. Every organization has its own strolls. You throw up your sign, calls, and basically dance at the same time.” 

A member from each of the organizations will be a part of the judging panel, and the winning organization will receive $150. 

However, the main goal of the yard show is to allow both Greeks and non-Greeks to catch a glimpse into the organizations of the Black Greek Council.

“Generally the purpose of a yard show is to open it up and to have everyone come and learn about these organizations and learn about the principles,” Prowell said. “At the same time, it’s entertaining and portrays different traditions and shows the history. We’re less represented on this campus because it’s a predominantly white institution, and of how small our community is.”

For Lsidni Helm, Zeta Phi Beta member and senior in AHS, the decision to join both the chapter and get involved with the yard show was a natural one. Helm’s mother was a Zeta Phi Beta member, and her father belonged to the brother fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma. 

“I decided to get involved because I personally joined the organization to work hard,” Helm said. “I take advantage of the opportunities that come forth, and I know this is something we’re trying to make an annual event so the more people involved, the better it will be.” 

The show will start at 7 p.m. and tickets are $7 at the door, $5 in advance and $3 for members of Greek organizations.

“Hopefully this will be an opportunity to build up the campus awareness of what we’re about, what Greeks do and give them a little opportunity for stress relief,” Helm said.

Alice can be reached at [email protected]