real life

What it's like dancing with Serena Williams when you resemble "a drowning praying mantis".

Full disclosure: my dancing has been described as “a praying mantis drowning” on more than one occasion.

Lanky limbs flailing everywhere. Feet that look like they’re cemented to the floor. And a pained facial expression that reads, “sweet baby jesus let this scorching hot hell end”.

That’s why, when Berlei asked me to attend their ‘Do it for yourself’ AW17 collection launch – a dance class led by SERENA BLOODY WILLIAMS – I was torn.

Option One: Attend said dance class with A-list celebrity. Risk the inevitable of resembling a stick insect fighting for its last breath. Experience crippling anxiety and awkwardness. Faint in front of Serena Williams and a lovely collection of sports bras.

Option Two: Do not attend dance class with A-list celebrity. Forever regret passing up the opportunity to meet a tennis icon. Emotionally eat copious amounts of Doritos. Faint for dramatic effect in front of work colleagues. Claim sick leave and quit dream job out of sheer journalistic shame.

I like my job, so went with Option One. And boy oh boy, things did not go as I expected.

This was no ordinary bra launch. (Image provided)

I put on my fanciest workout attire (my pink runners and pink sports bra totally matched - no biggie) and hopped in an Uber headed to the PENTHOUSE APARTMENT where Serena was getting ready to boogie.

I internally chanted "be cool be cool be cool" as I passed Carrie Bickmore (who looked like a magical fairy princess preparing for a yoga class) and The Project crew, before walking head first into a very thick, very uncompromising glass door.

Amazing. Good start, you genuine klutz Michelle. Just fabulous.

After my mild concussion subsided, she walked in.


Hooooooooooooly crapola. (Images provided)

The swish PR people immediately played Berlei's new ad on a plasma, and I watched an international tennis hero perform complex moves with ease and grace.

She might not have the stereotypical body of a dancer (her bum is the most spectacular thing I've ever seen), but Serena Williams swanned across those floorboards with boundless flair and sass.

Almost immediately, the six-time Australian Open champion was up on the stage with a dance instructor, teaching us how to "let go" and "do it for ourselves" in real life.

As soon as the '80s music began blasting from the speakers, a wide grin spread across Serena's face, and she laughed along with the music. Her mood was infectious and electric.

She didn't get every move right, but she owned it. Whenever she stuffed up, Serena would do a jig, have a giggle, and try to catch up with everyone else. In one sequence she screwed up everything, so curled over belly laughing instead.

 Her mood was infectious, and electric. (Image provided)

I, the most awkward human being on this entire planet, watched on from the back row in complete awe. This was the most confident, free woman I had ever encountered. She was brilliant, and she looked bloody happy.

After half an hour of dancing, Serena got off the stage and began hugging and hi-fiving each of us (I haven't washed my hand since), before wiping the sweat off her forehead to wrap up the class.

I walked away, sipping on an exxy bottle of complimentary sparkling water, feeling lucky to have met someone so full of life.

Serena Williams isn't just a world tennis champion - she's the epitome of a confident woman. And I'm so glad she witnessed me dance like a drowning praying mantis.

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