Beyoncé's choreographers have opened up about the preparations that went behind the singer's historic performance at the 2018 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
The 36-year-old made headlines last month for her epic two-set that included special appearances from her husband Jay-Z, sister Solange Knowles, and former girl group Destiny's Child. The Grammy-winning artist also became the first black woman to headline the music event in its 20-year history.
For the performance to be as epic, inspiring, energetic, and perfect as it was on that Coachella stage in the middle of the Californian desert, Beyoncé and her legion of dancers had to undergo intense preparations for months.
Behind The Curtain
In an interview with The New York Times, Chris Grant and JaQuel Knight revealed that they have been working on the set since last year. By November, they have started looking for marching bands, musicians, and dancers — estimated around 200 people — to join Beyoncé onstage. By December, work on preliminary dance preparations and conversations with the singer's music team were in place. They officially started rehearsals, with a skeleton crew, in January.
Knight and Grant, who have been working with the diva for 10 years, said that Beyoncé was involved in a lot of the decision. She also heard and considered suggestions from her creative crew. They revealed that it was Mrs. Carter herself who thought of the school theme of the production.
"She said, 'Let's do a homecoming,'" shared Knight. "Boom. A nice, clear concept that we were all able to snap into and execute."
They added that the inclusion of H.B.C.U. was not specifically meant to be a political moment, but it was supposed to be a celebration of the black community.
"The show was very black, for a lack of a better word, from all aspects, and we wanted to show love through who we are," explained Knight. "This is where we come from and this is how we love and this is how we jam and this is our world."
He added that Beyoncé, who had to cancel her headliner gig at Coachella 2017 to give birth to twins, had to retrain her body to be able to do insane, lightning-fast choreography.
"We spent a lot of time strengthening her and getting her back into it," Knight divulged. "Your body goes into shock if you're not prepared to do a show of this caliber.
The choreographers also admitted that they had to rehearse every day before the show. Grant said that everything they did was part of the choreography.
Time previously reported that the "Crazy In Love" singer was paid more than $3 million to perform as a headliner to the annual music festival. For reference, Cardi B, who also performed on a Saturday, was paid $70,000 for each of the two weekend she was scheduled to appear. The "Bartier Cardi" rapper even complained that she had to shell out her own money for her set designs.
However, the ridiculous amount is not all going straight to her bank account. Queen Bey announced last month that she is donating $100,000 to four historically black colleges and universities. The Homecoming Scholars Award Program, a project by her initiative BeyGOOD, will give $25,000 each to Tuskegee University, Bethune-Cookman University, Xavier University of Louisiana, and Wilberforce University.