Photo of the Day – June 18


A trio of Gotham City Cheerleaders

Detroit Pride Cheerleader Finals Showcase

By John Froelich
Detroit Free Press

The NFL draft weekend provided the perfect backdrop for football starved fans from all over Metro Detroit to celebrate the upcoming season when the Detroit Pride – the unofficial cheerleaders of Detroit’s professional football team – selected their new squad during the Detroit Pride Cheerleader Finals Showcase at the Fillmore Detroit on May 10, 2014. Friends and families of the 40 plus hopefuls joined the frenzied fans in the theater for an exciting conclusion to the long audition process. The prospective team members participated in 3 rounds of competition during the event. The lovely ladies put their best foot forward for a panel of celebrity judges, which included Detroit Piston Andre Drummond and former Detroit Lion Ron Rice. The audience had their own choices to make as every attendee voted for the Pride Fan Favorite Award via ballot boxes in the lobby before the announcement of the 2014 Official Detroit Pride Cheerleader Squad. The events proceedings were emceed by Channel 955 radio personality Slim, and Detroit Pride’s Director of Operations Andrea Wilamowski. Performances by acoustic hip-hop artist Kenny Spear and DJ Rob-Play rounded out an entertaining evening.

[Showcase Gallery]

[Detroit Pride Cheerleaders]

USA Cheerleaders Philadelphia/South Jersey Auditions Rescheduled for July 13th

[USA Cheerleaders on Facebook]

Our Favorite Photos – Gotham City Cheerleaders on the Sky Bridge

This month is our Tenth Anniversary and to celebrate we’re posting some of our all-time favorite photos.

Natalie, BriAnna, Lana and Colleen

 

Another early Sunday morning photoshoot at the P-R-O Convention, this time with the Gotham City Cheerleaders on the sky bridge linking hotels in downtown Atlanta.

Photo of the Day – March 21


A Pair of Gotham City Cheerleaders

It’s a Small World Afterall: Former Pro Cheerleaders on Current TV Shows

Over the years, I have photographed many professional cheerleaders and as luck would have it, three of them were cast on current television shows.  Morgan, a former 49ers Gold Rush member, is currently on the latest edition of Survivor, Survivor: Cagayan, and is featured on the premiere episode entitled, Hot Girl With A Grudge.

And earlier this season on The Bachelor, former Detroit Pride Cheerleader Cassandra and former Phoenix Suns Dancer Kat were featured prominently on the show.

Unfortunately for them, they were eliminated in episode 6. But they’ll be back on the reunion show on Monday.

North Bergen resident dances in Super Bowl halftime show

by Art Schwartz
Hudson Reporter
February 23, 2014

More than 110 million viewers saw this year’s Super Bowl, making it the most watched television event in U.S. history. That means a lot of people saw 22-year-old North Bergen resident Ashley Marie Gonzalez, whether they know it or not.

“We were chosen to be a part of the Super Bowl halftime show,” said Gonzalez, who used to cheer at North Bergen High School and is now part of a dance team based in New York. “It was a great experience. We met a lot of people, we did a lot of events in New York and New Jersey, meeting players, doing signings.”

Ashley was on the field performing with some of her fellow Gotham City Cheerleaders. “We were on the platform on the left side of the stage, which was right where Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers were performing,” she said. “Bruno Mars requested a group of girls who were dancers and were pretty. He wanted us dressed a certain way. We were there for the whole show. It was an amazing feeling to be there in front of thousands of people.”

The Gotham City Cheerleaders

“We’re based out of New York and we are the first dance team to cheer for the New York Giants,” said Gonzalez about the Gotham City Cheerleaders.

The three-year-old cheerleading team is not officially affiliated with the Giants, she explained. “We’re not signed by them but we do support them, we go to every home game and do tailgates and do promos. It’s a lot of fun.”

“The New York Giants are a traditional football team so they never had cheerleaders,” continued Gonzalez. “They’re one of six teams that didn’t have an official cheerleading team. My director, Ana [DeVillegas], she was a Redskins cheerleader and she lives in New York and it was her and a New Jersey Jets cheerleader, they founded it and built it. Every year it has grown and progressed. We have so many fans. We do a lot of charity events and gigs all over the city.”

“Since we’re not officially signed by the Giants we don’t get to perform on the field,” she said. “I can’t be on that field… but I was on the field for the Super Bowl!”

Cheering in North Bergen

Gonzalez has a strong background in her craft. “I’m 22 and I went to North Bergen High School,” she said. “I cheered all my years of high school and graduated in 2009. I grew up with my dad being my coach. I was a competitive gymnast so a lot of my experience comes from my background.” That experience included dancing during halftime shows for the Jets.

Moving to Florida to attend Miami International University, she auditioned for the Miami Dolphins cheerleaders. “I danced for a semi-pro team in Florida, the West Palm Beach Makos,” she said. “I did a year with them, and then after college I moved back up here to New Jersey.”

“Every spring is when the NBA and NFL teams audition and I auditioned for several teams,” she continued. “And being as how I didn’t make certain teams I was freaking out as a dancer; what am I going to do? I Googled the Giants and found out about the Gotham City Cheerleaders and I auditioned and I made them. That was last May when I auditioned and I signed the contract from June to March.”

A bit of clarification is necessary here. “We are known as cheerleaders but in the professional world we don’t cheer as in lift each other and jump and tumble or stunt,” said Gonzalez. “We don’t shout cheers. As a professional cheerleader you’re more of a dancer. When you audition for a team they look for your dance background. They like a gymnastics background and I have that.”

“We’re actually dancing to music as opposed to cheerleading,” she explained. “We have choreographed routines and we have our pompoms. I get asked that all the time, even when we’re at promos they ask us to cheer and we tell them we don’t cheer but if you play music we’ll dance to it.”

The Super Bowl

When the Super Bowl gig came up, the coach and director of the team, Ana DeVillegas, selected about 20 cheerleaders to participate.

“It wasn’t my whole team that was part of the Super Bowl,” said Gonzalez. “My team itself, there’s about 25 of us, but my coach and my captain went to Japan in December and did an audition for Japanese girls who wanted to come dance in New York City. Whoever made the auditions was chosen to come out for Super Bowl week and they performed with us at our events. Most of those girls were the ones chosen for the Super Bowl, and a few of the girls who were already on the team. I was glad to be one of them. It was an even better feeling being one of the chosen girls.”

Onstage they were part of a much larger group selected to dance to the music. “There were over 900 of us as part of the halftime show so we weren’t dancing like our team performing. It wasn’t choreographed but we have these dances that we do, we call them snippets, just short little dance moves that we do as a team making us look in sync,” she said. “It was hard and there wasn’t much space for us since we were crammed on that stage. There wasn’t room to move the way we wanted to. But it was a lot of fun.”

Next (dance) steps

“Next I am going to prepare for a different audition,” said Gonzalez. “My contract is still going until March 15 so once that comes I’m free to go. I like to be a part of different teams because you learn different styles of dance from different coaches and different directors.”

“Right now is the down time until the next football season,” she said, “and I don’t want to not be dancing so I was just Googling and I found this team based out of Long Island, the Long Island Lizards, professional lacrosse, they have a professional dance team and they are a spring/summer team so I’m hopefully becoming a part of their team.”

“The best thing that could happen is definitely being part of a pro team where I am performing on the field for an entire season. That’s where I’m trying to get,” said Gonzalez. “What I’m trying to do right now is build my dancer resume.”

SunDanz Dancers

Based in Fort Lauderdale, the SunDanz Dancers support many sports teams that do not have in-house teams, and perform at charity and promotional events

[SunDanzDancers.com]

Photo of the Day – January 31


Lana of the Gotham City Cheerleaders

Gotham City Cheerleaders

Gotham City Cheerleaders outside MetLife Stadium on a windy November morning.

A little last minute rehearsal before going outside

All bundled up!

Dancing in the parking lot.

Director Ana showing of her moves.

[GCC Gallery]

[Gotham City Cheerleaders Website]

Gotham City Cheerleaders – Winter Auditions and Off to Japan

In just their third season, the talent and dedication of the Gotham City Cheerleaders (GCC) has caught the attention of another international sports entertainment company for their second overseas appearance this year. This trip, however, is in search of elite dancers that aspire to perform with the GCC in New York for the GCC’s Super Tailgate Football Party during the week leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII.

Japan’s mega sports entertainment company, World Sports Community, Inc (WSC) launched their vision of a pro cheerleading team, Loicx Girls, as a means to open performance opportunities for aspiring dancers. The Loicx Girls have performed for various sporting events across the country and are now ready to make their New York City debut with the Gotham City Cheerleaders.

Ana De Villegas, Executive Director and Choreographer of the GCC, will teach an intense 2-day workshop that will run from 8:00 a.m – 5:00 p.m. together with GCC captain, BriAnna and 2nd year GCC veteran, Kaitlyn. What started as a workshop for Japanese dancers has now evolved to an audition process that will culminate with hundreds of dancers competing for ten (10) spots to join the GCC in New York City come January, 2014.

“It’s humbling and inspiring to travel abroad and teach dancers who want to join our team. What WSC is doing in Japan is in line with the spirit of the GCC, which is to provide avenues for dancers who work hard to live their dream of performing on numerous platforms,” said De Villegas. “We are excited about our new partnership with Loixc Girls and look forward to selecting the best dancers to join us for our blow out tailgate party. It’s innovative, it’s ambitious; it’s a reflection of the GCC’s foundation.”

Mic Eto, the CEO of WSC, is enthusiastic about the partnership with the GCC as they expand their company for sports fans in Japan. “I’m honored to hold this cheer dance event with the GCC. Japanese top level dancers will participate in this event and they are all looking forward to meeting these NYC dancers that they have been following on social media.”
WSC is the only company in Japan to offer a sports support service for Japanese sports fans since 2008. “WSC’s mission, like the GCC, is sharing joys and memorable sporting events with fans all over the world. We will continue to produce these opportunities of sports entertainment with overseas teams. I’m looking forward to meeting many American sports fans in NY come January,” said Eto.

New York dancers can also audition for the playoff season squad and GCC variety show team. The GCC is hosting a one day audition on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. at Equinox on Wall Street. For more information and to pre-register, dancers and promo models may visit: GothamAuditions.eventbrite.com.

[Gotham City Cheerleaders]

[GCC Winter Auditions Registration]

Meet Gotham City Cheerleaders Director Ana De Villegas

Written by The Philster
Pro Player Insiders
November 30, 2013

Until 2007, the NFL teams in the Big Apple didn’t have official cheerleaders. The New York Jets rectified things on their end with the Flight Crew but the Giants cheerleaders, in their 3rd year of existence, aren’t official, just yet. To truly understand how the Giants went from having no cheerleaders at all to a squad of Unofficials, you have to understand the drive of the lady who founded the squad.

After moving to the US from her native Bolivia, the woman known as “Wonder Woman” to her partner, Ana De Villegas, spent her childhood training in ballet and jazz dancing and then joined the dance teams in high school and in college. It was in college where she started studying choreography in addition to earning degrees in Communication and Criminal Justice. She put that training to work in choreographing dances for her home studio, the Ballet Academy of Northern Virginia, where she trained when not in school. Once a young lady finishes dancing in college, there are a limited number of avenues left to continue performing. One of those avenues is in professional cheerleading and in 2009, Ana joined up with the First Ladies of Football, the Washington Redskins Cheerleaders. After a season with them, she turned her focus to the Big Apple and got a job with the Broadway Dance Center. However, her role with the BDC was as more than a dancer but as a director as well.

It was in her childhood that she started on her path to becoming an entrepreneur. The Gotham City Cheerleaders isn’t the first group she created as she started groups as early as 4th grade. She even formed a company while in middle school called the “We Can Do That” Club to raise money to bring a friend with her on a trip to Miami for the summer. Her company did various odd jobs around the neighborhood and in addition to raising money, gained a fan base as well. All her success during her childhood creating successful ventures showed her some of what it takes to get something started. Seeing that the Giants had no cheerleading squad, she did the same thing as she did with groups and her childhood company all her life: she created one.

Like in many new projects, the biggest challenge in forming the GCC was listening to the doubters and naysayers. As Ana herself puts it, “There are 2 types of people in the world, those that believe and those that don’t. There is hope that most people are believers. There is the creative kid in all of us that still believes in dreams and in making the impossible possible. It’s really what keeps life fun and innovative.” Ana’s dream was to create a cheerleading squad that fans of the New York Giants could support while creating an outlet for ladies to perform as well as give back to the community. Based on how they’ve been received, she’s achieving her dream.

Ana goes on to say “While we are not sanctioned by the Giants, it’s a hope that we carry with pride, as we continue to be ambassadors for fans who are truly the ones that make this game come alive. Whether it’s a charity event, a special performance or our wonderful tailgate appearances at MetLife, I believe that people are inspired and moved by our team. When I come across people who say “don’t you think you should just give it up and be a director of an established team?” I can’t help but chuckle. This is the most official group of dancers you could meet. Not many people have the guts, the passion and the dedication that these girls do. They have the talent to go to any team, some have even come to us from other pro teams. Yet, they are here, making a difference and have left a mark in history. Not many people can say that. We have performed overseas, appeared in music videos and completed countless hours of community service and fundraising for charitable causes. It’s a beautiful, commendable thing that we do, why would we stop? Clearly, I can’t explain this in an “elevator pitch”, so it remains the biggest challenge to get those who question, to believe. Dressed in their red, white and blue uniforms, this team is to me America’s Dream Team.”

Away from the Gotham City Cheerleaders, Ana keeps herself busy in a variety of areas of dance. Before starting up the GCC, she landed a spot as a NJ Devils Cheerleader and midway through the squad’s first season, she joined up with Going Pro Entertainment, an organization that, among other things, helps aspiring pro cheerleaders make it onto the big stage. Finally, in 2012, after Christie Artinger joined her with the GCC, she took on the extra role as the coach of Pace University’s Dance Team. You can read more about Ana at Going Pro Entertainment.

Gotham City Cheerleaders Ref Squad Looking For A Few Good Ladies


[Ref Squad Registration]

[Gotham City Cheerleaders]

Photo of the Day – November 11


Lana of the Gotham City Cheerleaders outside MetLife Stadium on Sunday

The Sun City Girls: The Story behind El Paso’s First Professional Dance Team

Esme Ojeda
City Beat Magazine
Oct 27, 2013

It all began with a funeral. Richard Rivera Jr., CEO of CBE Artist Management Company, was working and living in Los Angeles when he received the news that his grandmother in El Paso had passed away. Within the month, his other grandmother had passed away as well. Rivera then took some time off and flew down to El Paso help his family deal with the situation and help pick up the pieces.

During his stay here in El Paso, he was invited to an event at a local pizza place. It was a party sponsored by the El Paso Diablo Diamond Girls. “I was in shorts, and a pink cabana shirt, and I stood out like a sore thumb,” recalled Rivera. “The event was very disorganized. To be honest, the pizza place didn’t even care that these girls were there.”

Rivera then began to talk to the girls. He took the opportunity to talk with the girls about his company, CBE Management, and began to discuss the nuts and bolts of the entertainment company, and what his company does for talented individuals. “I found out that not only did these girls not get paid, they had to pay for their uniforms. All they got from the Diablos was a patch, some kind of emblem. It was basically volunteer work.” He dug a little deeper and found out that most of the girls were very educated. “Most of them had degrees, and they were working two jobs, just so they could keep doing what they loved to do. They’re trying to get to this next level of success, but they’re being capped off because there’s no other road. This supposed ‘dance team’ was not giving them what they needed to get to that next level.”

One of the girls then asked Rivera, “How much do I have to pay you?” Rivera said, “Right then and there, I knew that something was wrong. The entertainment business model here in El Paso is: We will promise you the world, we will deliver on zero, and we will use you to our advantage. I knew something had to change. These girls had the drive, but they just didn’t have the direction.”

It was then that Rivera had the idea that would later turn into the Sun City Girls. “I realized that there was a marketplace here in El Paso for talent management, and I knew I could do something substantial for the city. So I talked with some people back in LA that I trusted, and they said, if I can pair these girl with some brands, not only can I pay them, but this could be something real, what it’s supposed to be. From then on, what was just an idea became a reality.”

CBE Management Company was started back in 2009. Rivera explained, “What we do is that we help guide talent to become the best that they can become. We are not an agent, but a sort of stepping stone to an agent. We are a business manager. We focus on actors and models. We’re a commission based company, so we don’t make any money unless our clients do.” Rivera warned that the Entertainment Industry is not as glamorous as it sounds. “I’m on the phone with casting directors all day long. My clients are competing with 30,000 other hopefuls in LA, and not everyone is going to want our client. You need drive, passion, but more importantly commitment. We don’t want a pretty face, or even talent. What we want more is commitment.”

Veronica Rojas is the Vice President of CBE Management Company. Although Rivera and Rojas run CBE, their main focus in the Sun City Girls. Rojas was Rivera’s right hand man in making the Sun City Girls become a reality. While Rivera was in LA, Rojas was here in El Paso doing business and trying to get this new idea off the ground. A native El Pasoan, Rojas was Rivera’s key to the city, letting him know what the marketplace was here and whether a professional dance team could work here in El Paso. After a year and half of scouting the marketplace incognito, Rojas determined it was time to launch this new dance team. Rivera then moved to El Paso, making the Sun City Girls his main focus. Rojas said, “The quality of life is definitely changing here in El Paso. And I think its time that El Paso had something to show for it. I believe a Professional Dance Team is exactly what El Paso needs.”

In July, CBE announced that they would be holding auditions for the Sun City Girls. Rivera explained the tough road that the girls had to follow. “We had about 150 girls audition. There was only 32 spots, 16 team members, and 16 alternates. After we selected the 32, we put them through a dance training camp and a boot camp. We made them train at 5:30 A.M., every morning. That helped weed out the girls that weren’t committed enough.”

Rivera said that at the beginning, all the girls were excited. “They all wanted to be on top. But the second they had to do the work, that was the hairline fracture that separated those who wanted it, and those who didn’t. As the training process went along, some began dropping out. These girls had never seen anything like this before.”

“In LA, these girls come off the conveyer belt, ready to take that spot. Here in El Paso, not so much,” said Rivera. “When the girls found out that they might not make the team, they began dropping like flies.”

Even when the girls were chosen for the top spots, it still wasn’t guaranteed. They had only signed non-disclosure agreements up to that point. When Rivera finally gave them the 15 page contract that would make it official, the girls were overwhelmed because they had never seen anything like that before.

Rojas said they had to explain everything in the contract, detail by detail. “We had to really make them understand what these girls were getting into. It was a long process. It was exciting because afterward, they felt relieved to be part of this company.” And for not being exposed to this type of professionalism, Rojas said the girls are adapting very well. Rojas said, “They’re doing a tremendous job. It’s incredible because not many girls would sacrifice to be here every morning at 5 in the morning.”

Rivera stressed to the girls that they are not only representing CBE Management, but they are now representing the City of El Paso. “We even made them take down all their social media. No Facebook, no Twitter, no anything. They represent a professional company. Think of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders and prestige that comes with being part of it. That is what the Sun City Girls are for El Paso. They are professional athletes.”

Rojas also added that they don’t want any surprise party photos ending up online. “We explained that they have to learn how to conduct themselves because they represent El Paso. As ugly as it sounds, people will be judging these girls. As soon as they step out of their house in the morning, they have to be ‘on’.”

Rivera added that Sun City Girls represent the All-American Girl. “We believe in the American Dream, that if you work hard, you can achieve anything. We want our girls to represent that: the well rounded All-American Girl. We even have the flag on their uniforms, because we want to give homage to our Country, to Ft. Bliss. We might not be solders, but we are American, and we want to represent that as best as we can.”

Rivera and Rojas said that they want the Sun City Girls to be great role models. They specifically looked for girls that had leadership skills because they want little girls to be able to look up to the Sun City Girls. Rivera added, “Everyone in the family can be proud of these girls. Mom, Dad, Grandma, they’re all going to be proud. El Paso is going to be proud. We are El Paso’s team.”

Rivera is proud that the Sun City Girls are bringing a level of professionalism that El Paso has never seen before. “Before, a photographer would take photos of a model for free, and just give her a CD with photos. But technically, he owns that image. The model is then being used and not making any money off it. We want that to change. People in El Paso need to know that that’s not how the Entertainment Industry works. And by showing these girls how it should be, they will begin to hold people in El Paso to higher standards. And that’s how we plan to raise the bar here in El Paso.”

Although the Sun City Girls haven’t been officially revealed, they are already getting plenty of publicity. On the Sun City Girls Website, there is a countdown, counting down the days until the city of El Paso will meet their new Dance Team. Rivera said that for now, the Sun City Girls will be performing for the El Paso Rhinos. He did not want to say what else they will be doing, but that all will be revealed in time.

“We just started. We’re in year one, and we’re still baking. We don’t want to commit to anything until we know that our product is ready. But I’ve gotten so much feedback already, so I know the Sun City Girls will be exactly what the city needs,” said Rivera.

To learn more about The Sun City Girls, about the countdown, or about CBE Artist Management Company L.L.C, visit www.thesuncitygirls.com.