If Serena and Venus Williams aren’t tapped for Dancing With the Stars post-retirement, the powers that be are doing pop culture a serious disservice.
We got our first glimpse of Serena’s dancing chops in Lemonade, when the tennis star twerked her heart out to “Sorry” (the track that coined the phrase “Becky with the good hair”). In a rather humble interview with The New York Times, Serena attested, “[Beyoncé] told me that she just wants me to dance, like just be really free and just dance like nobody’s looking and go all out. So that wasn’t easy in the beginning, but then it got easier…” However, it turns out Serena’s been playing us all — she and her big sis, in addition to being tennis champs, are veteran (top-notch) stage performers.
For seven years running, the sisters have held a private tournament known as the Williams Invitational. Relatives, close friends and employees of Serena and Venus gather together to compete at tennis (the girls play lefty to keep things on a still-not-really even keel), ping pong, dodgeball and, best of all, dance.
Since the advent of the dance component three years ago, the laid-back, convivial tone of the Williams Invitational has changed a bit. As Serena’s executive assistant Grant Firestone told Vogue, “It got competitive.” Hey, you don’t become two of the all-time greats of women’s tennis by being diffident.
This April, Venus’ crew, the A Team, faced off against Serena’s Krypontians and former Miami Dolphin Bryant McKinnie’s squad, B Major. For 2016’s animation-themed contest, the three groups’ preparations included months of rehearsing, the appointment of stage managers and team managers, the hiring of impartial judges, the procurement of LED light suits (and dozens of other amazing wardrobe requirements) and, in Serena’s case, mastering a Cirque du Soleil-esque aerial finale to The Little Mermaid‘s “Kiss the Girl.”
Venus countered with a Pink Panther solo (the culmination of many, many other group numbers, including a Muppet chorus line to Outkast’s “Hey Ya!”). McKinnie’s team put on an elaborate Lion King, Flinstones and Jetsons-inspired dream sequence.
Unsurprisingly, the Kryptonians took home the gold thanks in no small part to Serena’s skills on a suspended hoop. “It started really fun,” the victor told Vogue. “And then it got serious, and then it got overboard serious, and then it got Broadway.”
Words just don’t do it justice. Get a glimpse of the spectacle in the video above and be prepared to cry from wonder and amusement.
[ via Vogue ]