HONG KONG -- It's been a busy off-season for the Sea Gals, who just weeks after they wrapped up the 2017 season found out they were to perform in the Chinese New Year Parade in Hong Kong.
The Chinese New Year celebration is one of the oldest in the world, dating back centuries. One of three American teams selected to participate, the Sea Gals returned to Hong Kong for the fourth time since 1997.
"We were the first cheerleaders to ever come, then they just invited us back again the very next year because, honestly, I think they just didn't know that there were more NFL teams out there, not that we didn't do a good job," says Sea Gal Director Sherri Thompson. "Then they started going around the league."
"All around the world people are kind of enamored by this idea of the NFL American cheerleader. We've seen it here just going through the rehearsals, you can see how excited everybody is to have them here and the excitement is palpable," says Jackie Alvarez, of the Hong Kong Tourism Bureau.
The Tourism Bureau sponsored the Sea Gals for this trip. More than 100,000 people show up for the New Year parade, making it one of the largest annual mass human migrations in the world.
The Sea Gals had only two weeks to prepare for the trip but they're weren't fazed.
"It's very similar to the idea of dance travel, which is what we do for the Sea Fair Torchlight Parade, dance travel and stop in the viewing area. It's the same thing and they do that in July. For the rookies that's their first main performance," says Thompson.
But it still comes with it's own set of challenges. There is definitely a language barrier. Yet no test is too big for these 24 dancers and their director Sherri, who's been with the Sea Gals for over 35 years.
"She just always tries to get the Sea Gals out there ... that we're athletes and that we're amazing performers and great ambassadors for the community," says Sea Gal Brittany.
"It's really a special and unique position to be in," says Sea Gal Kelsey, "it really makes you aware of how big the NFL is and how big our 12 fan base is. I think it's really special to realize that no matter where you are in the world, there is someone that shares a common interest with us."