When Simone Biles and Aly Raisman first entered the room, you could almost hear the collective thoughts of everyone present as they resolved to do push-ups later. That kind of sudden and extreme motivation comes only from crossing paths with two of the most inspirational young women in America today – gold-medal-winning Olympic champions from the USA gymnastics team. Personable, positive, and extremely driven, Biles and Raisman were the perfect fit to help us launch Just Dance 2017 on October 25 alongside Boys & Girls Clubs of America, an organization that works to enable all young people to reach their full potential.
The event provided a platform for Biles and Raisman to interact with school-aged children of the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club in New York City, giving 100 local youth the chance to meet the two medalists through a Just Dance 2017 workout and Q&A session. Attendees arrived with homemade signs and American flags in hand to greet and cheer on their Olympic heroes, exploding with applause as Biles and Raisman entered the room. To get things started, the gymnasts spoke to the students about the importance of staying fit, and how using non-traditional methods can also support a positive mental fitness. The two then led the room through their favorite Just Dance 2017 tracks using the smartphone Controller App – “Cheap Thrills” by Sia, “Worth It” by Fifth Harmony, “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” by Beyoncé, and “Watch Me (Whip / Nae Nae)” by Silento. The participants had a blast dancing along with Biles and Raisman, and went wild when some were invited to join the gymnasts onstage.
After the rhythmic cardio, participants were able to ask Biles and Raisman questions, including who they considered to be their role models, whether they’d like to own a gym someday, and their favorite song to sing in the shower. “The national anthem,” said Raisman in answer to that last question. “In the shower, you sound so much better, so I’d pretend that I was singing at the Super Bowl.”
In addition to bringing Biles and Raisman to a Club location for a day, Ubisoft and Just Dance 2017 made a donation to Boys & Girls Clubs of America and provided consoles and games to Club locations across the USA. The goal is to continue spreading the message of healthy togetherness and offering a fun and alternative way for members to keep fit together by dancing to their favorite songs.
I had the chance afterwards to speak with Biles and Raisman about what the event meant to them. “It’s really cool,” Raisman said. “When we’re competing, we feel everyone back home cheering us on. So to come back home and be able to give back to our fans, friends, and family – [it’s] inspiring them to stay active and letting them know that we’re cheering them on, too.”
Raisman also explained that, as both she and Biles are known for their floor routines, dance is extremely important. Competition judges also grade on poses and artistry, two aspects that young people will need to be comfortable with if they want to one day compete as gymnasts.
Who would they most like to play Just Dance 2017 with? “Zac Efron!” was Biles’ enthusiastic response. “I’d play with Beyoncé,” said Raisman.
Just Dance 2017 is now available on PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, and other platforms. For more information on the game, check out our previous coverage: