‘Lizzo’s Watch Out For The Big Grrrls’ Is Not Just About Dance’: Choreographer Chawnta’ Marie

The Big Grrrl dancer shows the ropes to 10 back-up hopefuls in the uplifting Prime Video series.

Chawnta' Marie Van in "Lizzo's Watch Out for the Big Grrrls"
Choreographer Chawnta' Marie Van in "Lizzo's Watch Out for the Big Grrrls" (Prime Video)

In the unscripted Prime Video series “Lizzo’s Watch Out For The Big Grrrls,” the “Good As Hell” singer is looking for 10 new plus-size dancers to become her backup dancers, the “Big Grrrls.” The women come from various backgrounds and levels of training, but they all want the opportunity to dance with a superstar, an opportunity that doesn’t come along every day for women of a certain size.

In Episode 4, Big Grrrl Chawnta’ Marie teaches the women a routine set to Lizzo’s song “Naked,” an empowering anthem about being comfortable in your own skin that was transformative for both the dancers and the choreographer.

“I feel like this show is so much bigger than looking for big girls. It’s not just about dance. It’s more about this human experience of [being an] individual,” Chawnta’ told TheWrap. “There’s going to be younger girls inspired by it and know that it doesn’t matter how you look or what you have. To follow their dreams whether it’s through dance, or the arts or whatever it is. People are going to get to continue and to fight for what they love and what they want, no matter what the world throws at them.”

Although many of the contestants have no background in modern dance, Chawnta’ Marie reported they all threw themselves into the routine. “They were out of their comfort zone, but it wasn’t challenging because they all wanted it. They didn’t back away from it. It scared them a little bit, because it was different. The only challenging part for me was making sure their lines were beautiful and their feet were pointing.”

The number, which is about overcoming each dancer’s biggest fear, also helped Chawnta’ Marie get over one of hers. “I’m so used to being just a dancer and being one of Lizzo’s dancers, that it was really impactful for me to face one of my biggest fears and to let my voice be heard as a choreographer,” she shared.

Although she’s worked with Earl Mosely, one of the top choreographers at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York, this was “technically my first big experience of being able to choreograph in this industry,” she said.

“Being able to communicate in voice exactly what I want in the movement, what I want in the feeling of the piece… you can see these things and feel these things, but to be able to communicate, that was my biggest thing coming from the show,” she said.

She wasn’t sure she wanted to be part of the show when Lizzo first asked her. “I was a little bit skeptical and nervous because you see some reality TV shows out here and I was just nervous about how I would be portrayed. And then as far as the dance world, you know, as artists, we are very critical of ourselves. If things don’t scare you in life, then it gets kind of boring. You have to see what’s on the other side of fear. I was really honored for her to ask me to be a part of something so special and that she’s wanted for so long.”

Added Chawnta’, “I think people are going to honestly be able to look at everyone as a human being and not [just] see what’s on the outside, but solely try to see people from within. I think people are going to learn how to be kind to all people, not just plus-size women but all people. I feel like people are going to hug each other by the end of this, and say ‘I love you.’ And they’re going to be able to relate so much more to each other.”

“Lizzo’s Watch Out For The Big Grrrls” is currently streaming on Prime Video.