Rebecca Vineyard
May 29, 2016 8:03 am
Taylor Hill/Getty Images

What do Serena and Venus Williams, a pair of siblings who also happen to be some of the best tennis players on Earth, do in their spare time? Compete in elaborate, family-centric dance competitions, it seems.

It seems that Serena and Venus Williams apparently don’t rest when it comes to competition and sibling rivalry — instead, they spend all year working toward their “Williams Invitational.” As reported by Vogue, the invitational is a tennis, Ping-Pong, dodgeball, and dance competition held annually by the sisters for the last seven years. The private event started as a fun, low-key family reunion that happened to include a little bit of tennis — not surprising, given the family’s athletic pedigree.

A few years ago, the dance competition was added. Then, in Serena’s words, “…it got serious, and then it got overboard serious, and then it got Broadway.”

Broadway is right: This year’s Invitational was centered around an animation theme, with each team — Serena’s Kryptonians, Venus’ A Team, and B Major, a third team led by Bryant McKinnie, former offensive tackle for the Miami Dolphins (and seasoned Invitational vet) — interpreting it a little differently.

Serena’s team boasted a Cinderella piece set to Rihanna’s “Werk,” a large Beauty and the Beast number, and a finale of Serena doing aerial hoops work. Venus’ Triple As featured the sisters’ mother dressed as Catwoman lip-syncing to Whitney Houston as well as a Muppet chorus line. McKinnie’s team paid homage to Saturday morning cartoons and including a dream sequence partially inspired by The Lion King.

The competition was fierce — all the teams practiced for months, sometimes even flying team members halfway around the world for rehearsal.

But in this intense, family-centric event, how are winners even chosen? Serena’s executive assistant Grant Firestone told Vogue, “We hire impartial judges, who will be judging based on a rubric that we’ve created. They do it by points. Last year we won by, like, half a point.”

At this year’s Invitational, the VIP guests signed a stringent non-disclosure agreement before entering the abandoned, strip-mall Cineplex that housed the event. The A Team kicked off the event, followed by B Major, while the Kryptonians finished off the evening — Serena on the aerial hoop was the grand finale. The Kryptonians won again, and in an upset, B Major took second.

The night ended in a fun (non-competitive) dance party, but we have a feeling Venus Williams was already beginning to plot how A Team could grab the gold in next year’s Invitational.

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