The 12s roar, CenturyLink trembles, the Seahawks O-line runs the football. But on the sidelines, something’s different about the Sea Gals, Seattle’s pom-shakers since 1976. Rebranded as the Seahawks Dancers, this year the team added eight men. Membership means eight hours a week of practice and a regimented blue-and-green identity: Dancers go by first names only, don bedazzled flannel (or hoodies for the dudes), and don’t hang with players outside of promotional events. For four seasons, onetime Husky cheerleader Hailey has fit dancing around a career as a business development executive; now she welcomes rookies like network technician Vince, a dance teacher and choreographer whose coed routines inject hip-hop moves into the team’s time-out repertoire. At a moment when NFL cheerleading is under scrutiny for low (or no) pay, the Seahawks squad touts inclusivity and grooves to DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win.” Sparkles, sweat, and what Vince calls “a full part-time job”? Bring it on. —AW
I started dancing when I was four. My background is tap, ballet, jazz, lyrical, hip-hop, some musical theater.
I went to the first game at CenturyLink—I think I was seven or eight. All I did was take my disposable camera, go down as close to the field [as] I could, and take pictures of the Sea Gals.
Now I’m on my fourth season, and I wave to all the little kids I see. It’s great for little girls who dance to see it happening on a huge, huge stage.
You have to know when a big play happens. One time in my rookie year, we were on the opposite corner of the field and thought it was a touchdown. We were all super excited, saying hi to the fans, but actually Tyler Lockett broke his leg.
Pretty much every single uniform we have has some sort of sparkle or rhinestone to it. It’s fun when the lights are shining down and it’s total sparkle city.
Our past dance style could be described as sassy, fun, flirty, kind of girly. We still have some of that, but now also being able to dance to Drake and Kanye? A total 180.
We get paid for everything that we do. Honestly, I would do it if even if we didn’t. This is my passion job.
My dancing began watching Michael Jackson in a video and trying to copy his moves, ’cause he was cool. “Smooth Criminal,” it was. To this day, I still want his white suit.
In high school I joined a step dance team. They taught me a body roll. I was practicing it in the bathroom mirror and I felt like such a dork, but I got it.
Hip-hop dance, by definition—hip is what’s mainstream, what’s popular. Hop is what makes you move.
I joined the Air National Guard shortly after 9/11. I was always planning on it, but I felt a stronger urge to join after that.
People were like, “Why would you do that? It’s going to get crazy.” But I had this sense of, I don’t know, not patriotism—but a sense of purpose.
Every time I saw the Sea Gals, I was like, I don’t know how they do that. They’re never offstage. It seemed like a really hard job.
I tell my students that if you’re nervous about something, that just means that in your heart, you care about it.
Even on TV, I react physically to the games. I scream and stand up when Russell Wilson is running. So this job is great for me—I can react.