Lizzo’s new Amazon reality competition show “Watch Out for the Big Grrrls” showcases the art of dance in a way that choreographer Tanisha Scott finds, in a word, “refreshing.”
The reality series, which premiered on March 25, details Lizzo’s hunt for backup dancers to join her on her upcoming world tour. Audiences see Scott as she coaches all 10 hopefuls, working through countless choreography routines.
What resonated with Scott was Lizzo’s desire to see and feel herself while she performs. That meant surrounding himself with plus size women who looked like him and empowering them by giving them the platform of the TV show. Scott, who worked alongside Rihanna, Beyoncé and Drake, the latest in his “Hotline Bling” video, says seeing this authentic portrayal on screen and on stage, breaking the norm of only featuring skinny dancers, made him I feel like I can finally breathe.
The eight-part series includes a rigorous dance boot camp audition process. Scott is thrilled that viewers have a window into the difficulty of putting on a show and learning choreography. “Audiences are going to see how hard these women work – how hard it is to do what they want to do. They’re going to see the fitness, endurance, health and wellness aspect of it all, because you have to be in shape,” says Scott.
In one episode, an injured dancer entering the show is faced with a performer’s central question: “Is it worth pushing your body this far?” said Scott. “When you’re hurt, you have to rest, [but] as cliché as it sounds, the show must go on. A dance injury is one of the worst things that can happen because you can easily be replaced. However, continuing carries great risks.
The choreographer is grateful for the many facets the series presents, but ultimately she comes back to her message of empowerment – the notion that there’s no reason no one can be on stage. “Let’s destroy that box and allow all of us to dream big and go for it without having any kind of parameters that allow us to back down,” Scott says.