Meet The Willis Clan, a family of 14 – mom, dad and 12 multi-talented kids – in our special, The Willis Clan, premiering TONIGHT, December 29, at 9/8 c. We’ll follow the Willis family and their unique and somewhat unconventional lifestyle as they prepare for a dance competition while keeping up with chores, their music, and other responsibilities.
The Willis siblings range from ages 1 to 19 and are musicians, songwriters, singers and dancers. In fact, the six eldest children are nationally-ranked competitive dancers. During the show, four of the kids are preparing for a dance competition in Florida that is just five days away. The family band must write and record an original piece of music for the competition, which puts Jessica,19, in charge of writing lyrics to a melody created by Jeremiah, 18.
Residing in a home in a rural part of middle Tennessee, the Willis family leads a fast-paced life, focusing on full-time homeschooling, coaching, choreography and all the chores involved in running a large household. “I think my kids are capable of nothing short of excellence, but getting there comes from a lifetime of hard work,” father Toby Willis says.
While not a dancer himself, Toby pushes his children to excel. “Sometimes it’s more nerve wracking dancing for my dad than dancing for an audience because the audience isn’t going to tell you what you did wrong,” Jennifer says. In addition to school work and rehearsals, The Willis Clan also creates the costumes worn during competitions and each child is responsible for making their bed and doing their laundry every day.
During the special, Toby and the six oldest children load up a van and make the 15-hour drive to Tampa for the dance competition. While there, Toby stays in the back of the room doing his own judging. “Perfection is just the cruelest master in the world,” he tells his kids after the competition. “I’m really proud of them,” mom Brenda says. “Sometimes Toby has more confidence in us than we all do.”
Watch a sneak peek!