When Ana De Villegas moved to New York to pursue a career as a dancer, she left behind a career in law and position as a Washington Redskins Cheerleader. Knowing that the career of a dancer can be limited, De Villegas drew on her love of football, professional experience, and a void on the sidelines of her favorite team, the New York Giants, to form the professional dance company, Gotham City Cheerleaders in 2011.
They dance in their tailgate area in the parking lot before game, interacting with fans, and raising the spirits of those who are preparing to watch the Giants play inside MetLife Stadium. There have been some discussions with the Giants front office about bringing GCC inside, but they have been minimal, and to date, only via telephone. De Villegas hopes that a halftime show would serve as an audition leading to a permanent gig on the sidelines during games.
More than just dancers, these women are knowledgeable football fans, who would prefer to be watching the game than working it, but, as De Villegas explains, “We do it for the fans De Villegas is the founder of Gotham City Cheerleaders, performing during the time outs and halftime. We want to be something the fans and the community can be proud of.”
The 22 woman troupe includes the reigning Miss New Jersey, two mothers, a scientist, college students, and accomplished professionals in a wide variety of occupations. They represent the GCC and by association, the Giants, in the community. De Villegas speaks with pride of the diverse backgrounds of the women in Gotham City Cheerleaders, and points out the growing role women have as fans of professional football.
“Just look where the NFL has gone with women; half of the fans are female, but the Giants have no representation of women in their sport. New York is also the entertainment capital of the world, and yet, we have an empty field where instead, local talent could have employment and we could create one of the best shows in the NFL! Other Cheerleaders are among GCC’s biggest fans, and support growing our industry in this market. Women, old and young, within our community and women have also reacted well to us,” says De Villegas.
Reactions have been positive from the start. Giants360 asked De Villegas to tell us her favorite parking lot memory from among GCC’s appearances at MetLife stadium, “It would have to be our first. Everything was new and we didn’t know what to expect,” begins De Villegas, “Many of the fans immediate reaction was ‘WHOA! Did we finally get cheerleaders?’ and they were pleasantly surprised how friendly and knowledgeable the girls were about the Giants.”
One group in particular, was quite skeptical. It was a veteran group of fans, older gentleman enjoying their beer before the game and not sure what to make of the cheerleaders who appeared in the tailgate section next to theirs. “They tested us,” says De Villegas with a laugh, ”On one side you have these older men holding their beers and on the other, cheerleaders with pom-poms, and a Giants trivia contest broke out.” GCC won them over with the knowledge of the team.
You may already be familiar with GCC’s work and not realize it. Their “You Down with JPP” video tribute filmed with actor and comedian, Josh Hyman, went viral earlier this yearin 2011 before the Giants brought home the Super Bowl trophy. It trended on Twitter, had hundreds of thousands of hits on YouTube, and generated appearances for the squad on morning shows. The song was performed by Naughty-by-Nature at the Super Bowl Champions ceremony at MetLife Stadium.
Among the professional cheerleading experience on among the current and former Gotham City Cheerleaders, include De Villegas Redskins, and are former Eagles, Jets, current Cowboys, and Patriots dancers. It begged the question if all the team members are Giants fans. De Villegas said that if they didn’t join the team as Giants fans, they were quickly she converted them, and if they are not, she doesn’t know about it. On GCC, it’s Big Blue all the way.
As with any professional cheerleading team in the offseason, all the members have to re-audition for their spot on the team for 2015. The first audition was held in April and the second earlier this month. New team members have been in boot camp for about two weeks, and De Villegas reports that they are coming together nicely, and she is eager to introduce them to fans in July.
De Villegas knows that Giants fan hold much power and influence over the team and their decisions. The positive response to GCC has fueled their growth from a squad of 6 to their current 22 and see recognition for their charitable efforts. Performing squadat various events side by side with Giants players, performing overseas, on HBO and SNL, and even on the field for the Bruno Mars halftime show at Super Bowl XLVIII, the GCC has begun to see the fruits of their hard work. But they are still just the “Unofficial” cheerleaders of the New York Giants.
You can support their cause by buying a team calendar, which is released annually the weekend before the NFL season kicks off. You can get more information by following the links below.
As for getting them on the Giants sidelines, followers of the Giants360 Twitter account are aware that, although we appreciate their talent, we are not a fan of the G-Line drum corps. This drum line (or drum circle as we’ve referred to them) bring a collegiate atmosphere to a professional game. With experienced and talented cheerleaders just outside in the parking lot, John Mara and Bob Tisch need to make a swap. Drum circle outside, Gotham City Cheerleaders on the sidelines and then all will then be right with the New York Giants universe.
Connect with Gotham City Cheerleaders on social media:
And visit their Website for more information
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