The New York Jets have the Flight Crew, the New York Knicks have the Knicks City Dancers and even the New York Rangers have cheerleaders. The New York Giants? Not so much. But one group, the Gotham City Cheerleaders, are aiming -in part- to change that.
If you're one of the many Giants 101 readers who've attended one of our tailgates with The Fan Van this season, chances are you've seen these ladies perform. But in an effort to get a better understand of just who they are and what they aim to do, Giants 101 recently sat down with Ana De Villegas, a former Washington Redskins cheerleader, who now serves as the Founder and Executive Director of the Gotham City Cheerleaders, formerly known as the NY UnOfficials.
Ana De Villegas: "The NY UnOfficials launched in September of 2011 as the first cheer squad to independently support our home team, the NY Giants. We currently (and have never) had any affiliation with the franchise or any affiliate.
Our name developed from that fact – we are an “unofficial” cheer squad and we perform and support Big Blue and other teams out of the passion we have for dance and of course, sports.
The Gotham City Cheerleaders (GCC) is a new team that was formed to focus on more community outreach as well as variety performances in the tri-state area. We no longer go by the name 'NY UnOfficials.' "
Giants 101: "But one of the ultimate goals is to eventually become the official cheerleaders of the New York Giants?"
Ana: "It is a one of many goals and dreams. If the opportunity came where we could present our idea of what 'official' cheerleaders would do for the New York Giants, we would be beyond grateful. I think many people are surprised to find out that we are not pushing to be on the sidelines of every game. Sure, that's an amazing experience and part of the game-day spirit of football. However, we have a different approach to how the tradition of cheerleading can coincide with a team whose approach to the many facets of the game-day experience are more conservative than most."
Giants 101: "So just a coincidence that your colors are Giants blue?"
Ana: "A beautiful coincidence! Our team is a representation of the American tradition of football and sports entertainment. We believe that as such, our colors of red, white and blue are the best colors. Yes, we carry a unique sense of pride that we are in the entertainment capital of the world, New York City. The Dallas Cowboys may have done a great job in calling themselves America’s Team, but dedication, excellence and hard work that makes up our beautiful state is what we believe makes us America’s Dream Team. The saying is right – 'If you make it here, you can make it anywhere.' "
Giants 101: "Are you all Giants fans or does the fandom vary from girl to girl?"
Ana: "Absolutely. While the nature of our work naturally brings talented woman who have a strong interest in sports and sports entertainment, our dancers are first and foremost, bleeding-blue Giants fans! We actually have fun quizzes and trivia moments during practices to see who's the biggest fan of all. Who knows… we may have our own Fantasy League soon."
Giants 101: "Now, we saw you and spent some time with your team at a recent tailgate outside of MetLife Stadium, but the ladies take part in far more events than just tailgates. What other events do they perform and how might someone contact you to set up an appearance?"
Ana: "We focus on events/organizations that promote the importance of A) athletics and team-related sports B) charity organizations and C) youth programs.
We also perform for a variety of events such as corporate parties, sporting events and parades. This summer we performed for the NYC Dance Parade and performed on stage at Thompson Square Park in an effort to promote the importance of dance education.
Our variety shows have become such crowd-pleasers that we have also been asked to perform at birthday parties and Mitvah's, which are always a lot of fun and full of energy! Those are probably some of our most memorable moments as the hosts never know we are coming and it's always a great surprise.
There are many events where we don't necessarily perform and simply make appearances to donate our time and good will to charity organizations. We recently helped to hand out water bottles and towels at the annual Lima 5K at MacArthur Airport, which helps raise money for Veterans and those affected from 911. This fall we will be helping out in 2 different soup kitchens as well as working with the Special Olympics November events.
Organizations and individuals interested can visit our website for more information on booking events or they can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org."
If you'd like to learn more about the Gotham City Cheerleaders, attend one of their showings/events or book an appearance, you can check out their official website. They can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
We'd like to thank Ana for taking the time to chat with us, and we greatly look forward to them joining another Giants 101/The Fan Van tailgate in the near future.
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