Lizzo’s New Reality Show ‘Watch Out for the Big Grrrls’ Features Local Dance Phenom Chawnta Marie Van

Three-time Grammy, two Soul Train, a Billboard, and a BET award-winning artist Lizzo has a new Amazon Prime series titled "Watch Out for the Big Grrrls', and we’re tuned in.
Morgan Fykes

Three-time Grammy, two Soul Train, a Billboard, and a BET award-winning artist Lizzo has a new Amazon Prime series titled “Watch Out for the Big Grrrls’, and we’re tuned in. The series features local dance phenom Chawntá Marie Van who has an amazing story of her own. 

Born and raised in Washington, D.C, Chawntá Marie Van is a professional dancer and the daughter of Eddie Van, founder of the Madness Streetwear brand, one of the original and oldest streetwear brands in the world. As a youth, she began at Bren Carr Dancer and R’Mar Dance. She would spend summers at different intensive programs where she continued to grow. It was in these spaces that Chawntá Marie was able to develop her confidence and personality. Her teachers used to say, “You have to feel it”, and she embodied that. Go-go music also has had a major impact as she said, “The beat had her dancing for hours and hours.”

After attending Long Island University, she lived in New York to look for opportunities. She got into her first professional dance company at 20 years old with Deeply Rooted Dance Theater in Chicago, where she danced for four years. She then went back to New York and danced with Earl Mosley for around a decade. 

From there, she went to Los Angeles to start developing a more commercial dance style. This led to her first live television performance at BET in June 2019 with Lizzo Live. The choreographer asked Chawntá to replace a major dancer on the tour who had been injured. She only had four days to learn the entire show which then traveled to Glastonbury 2019 where they performed for over 100,000 people.

She was asked to continue the tour and began to build a relationship with Lizzo. The recording artists shared an amazing vision for a show with “big girl dancers”, which was brought to life on Amazon Prime in the new series “Watch Out for the Big Grrrls”.  With a background in Ballet, Modern, and Contemporary Dance, Chawntá Marie was asked to choreograph a piece for one of the challenges (See Episode 4).

For the piece, she chose the song ‘Naked’, which has a message of being vulnerable and breaking barriers that she completely fell in love with. In the episode, contestants are asked to share something that was holding them back and to embody how they broke through it with dance. The contestants came from different backgrounds and experiences, which was showcased in their performance.

Working with Lizzo has put Chawntá Marie in spaces and created opportunities for her to flourish and thrive in ways that are immeasurable. She is currently still on this journey with Lizzo and hoping to join her for a full world tour. She is also excited to do some more of her own choreography and continues to shape her voice as a dancer. When asked what surprised her, it was the dancers’ feedback of hope and inspiration from the choreographer that encouraged her to continue on this journey.  The joy of being able to see it on camera and share it with the world was another gift. You can follow along on Instagram at @Chawtamarie.

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