Lizzo Is Great and All, but Can We Talk About Those Fabulous Ballerinas?
If there is anyone who can bring a full house at LA’s Staples Center to its feet, it’s Lizzo. She opened up the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards with a wild performance (which was rewarded with a standing O), but it was her backup dancers who really made the performance magic. Back in January, Lizzo posted a selfie video on Instagram requesting “thick girl” ballerinas, though she didn’t specify the purpose. “CALLING ALL BALLET DANCERS B*TCH – SEND A VIDEO OF YOU DANCING ON POINTE TO @jemelmcwilliams,” she captioned the video, adding that dancers must be LA-based, and if they look like Lizzo, “that a plus!”
Her choreographer, Jemel McWilliams, explained to Dance Magazine two days later that he and Lizzo were struggling to find professional ballet dancers who were curvier. “These dancers have been hiding for a long time, but they’re in dance classes, groups, all over the nation,” he added. “We just need to continually put them in the spotlight so they can see themselves represented professionally, so other curvy dancers can have the confidence to come out.”
Well, apparently, Jemel and Lizzo found those dancers, and they definitely came out. At the 2020 Grammys, the night’s most-nominated artist got the night going with a show-stopping performance of “Cuz I Love You” and hit single “Truth Hurts.” She wasn’t alone though – as well as being accompanied by an orchestra, Lizzo was joined up on stage by half a dozen talented ballerinas. One dancer in a durag started off the performance on a circular stage as Lizzo belted out “Cuz I Love You,” but soon enough, five more durag-wearing ballerinas in light-up tutus joined the soloist.
Then, for “Truth Hurts,” six more dancers strutted out on stage behind Lizzo in neon bodysuits, joining the ballerinas. By four minutes into the performance, there were two dozens dancers – both men and women – on stage, with 12 ballerinas and 12 bodysuit-clad dancers. And, of course, before the end of the performance, Lizzo grabbed her flute and concluded the number with an epic flute solo, yelling, “PERIOD!” at the end. Mic drop. Check out the gallery to see a video of the performance (as well as some pics of those beautifully diverse dancers).