Doja Cat's performance at Coachella, later labeled by fans as "Dochella," couldn't have been possible without the choreographers and dancers who brought her music to life. During the first weekend of the music festival, choreographers Fullout Cortland and Ebony Williams transformed the Coachella stage with a mountain of dancers and an attitude-filled face off.
"The way everyone probably thought I was cray when I said I wanted to build a mountain for Coachella!!" Ebony captioned a April 20 Instagram post. "So proud of EVERYONE!! My team held me down like no other!!"
Take a look at how Doja Cat's 2022 Coachella performance came to life, as the Grammy winner prepares to take the stage again for Weekend 2 on Sunday, April 24.
Ebony shared a behind-the-scenes look at the rehearsals and captured the "love" that went into making a mountain out of dancers for the intro of Doja's song "Options." In the footage, a group of dancers moved across the stage together, connected by each other's arms until they ebbed and flowed into a single peak.
A lone dancer stayed behind and swung their leg up before climbing on the backs of the mountain. The dancer craned their neck to embody a creature howling at the point in the song where a bird cries. Quickly, the mountain devolved into the routine.
Other videos featured associate choreographer Chris Hernandez and Ebony's assistant choreographers Ardyn Flynt and Noelle Marsh pulling together each formation involved in the "Options" performance before setting it on the dancers.
"It takes a village to put together a show of this magnitude," Ebony said in an April 18 Instagram post. "I'm so grateful to this entire team." She said she is "FOREVER IN AWE" of Doja, writing, "YOU ARE IT."
Ebony's daring approach to the choreography highlighted Doja's presence, even when the dancers were hidden under black cloth.
In one behind-the-scenes post, she showed how she experimented with covering dancers in what looked like a stretchy black comforter with holes for feet to make the movement poke out through the cloth.
"I think it can be this and then it can also go weird," Ebony said in a video, showing Chris covered in the black cloth. They moved into tense positions until she concluded, "All this, that's what needs to happen."
The all-black looks appeared in Doja's "You Right" performance, where dancers dressed who were dressed in black body suits carried Doja from platform to platform, while dancers in the larger black clothes performed in formation down stage.
"Up and Down"
While Ebony showed specific elements of her choreography, fellow choreographer Fullout Cortland shared parts of the performance he designed, showcasing all kinds of attitude. He created "insane" visuals out of the dancers' bodies, with choreography that transformed them into a single organism that surrounded Doja during her "Up and Down" performance during Coachella Weekend 1.
"This one was personal," he said in an April 19 Instagram post. "Choreographing this one came super organic and straight of the noggin."
The dancers matched Doja's black and white look, but also sported glasses that gave them red eyes. As they went from slow, sensual movement to sharp bounces, the words of Doja's song came to life. The choreography made use of repetition that went along with the "Up and Down" lyrics: Dancers went up and down as Doja sang "up and down" and spun their arms like a yo-yo as Doja sang "kinda like a yo-yo."
"THIS MUSIC IS DISRESPECTFUL ASF!" Fullout wrote in the post. "So f--king cold!!! BAD ASS DANCERS YALL GOT GRIMEY ASF PER REQUEST & didn't let me down."
Fullout embodied Doja's lyrics in "Rules" as well, taking advantage of the line, "When I shake that ass, I'ma do this s--t in slow motion." In an April 21 Instagram post, rehearsal footage showed dancers strutting across the stage behind Fullout—who stood-in for Doja—and slowed down at the "slow motion" line. In contrast with the rest of the routine's fast movement, the slow-mo look stood out.
Fullout also had the help of assistant choreographers Natalie Schervish and Anna Chorneyko to shape each jaw-dropping number dripping in swagger.
"Honestly I still can't even talk…. So much to say… I feel so much….," he shared in a post culminating some of the different songs he choreographed for Coachella. "I feel like I just had a baby. I feel empowered I also for some reason feel extremely self conscious - but most importantly SO GRATEFUL!"
He added, "I wanna thank my friend @dojacat for being soooooo open and allowing us to get this far with these performances. We've come so far and being apart of this beautiful rise will always be one of my greatest accomplishments! SECOND!!! thank my dancers & Choreography assistants for working TIRELESSLY for this dance driven performance."
Watch their hard work pay off during Coachella Weekend 2, streaming live on YouTube this weekend.