The Ravens Cheerleading Squad is taking an offseason vacation, trading the gridiron of M&T Bank Stadium for the balmy beaches of the Dominican Republic.
A select contingent of 18 girls are heading to Punta Cana next week for the first-ever Ravens Cheerleader Swimsuit Calendar.
Settled on the eastern tip of the Dominican, Punta Cana is home to the white sands, bright sun and swaying palm trees that will provide the perfect backdrop for the Ravens' finest. The group from Charm City will be staying at one of the top all-inclusive resorts in the area that sits directly on the ocean.
"The exotic location will provide us the perfect setting to create a beautiful and sophisticated calendar," said Ravens vice president of marketing Gabrielle Dow. "From the tropical beaches to the picturesque sunsets and clear blue waters, we are excited to bring back beautiful images that will allow the fans to escape to this stunning place with the Ravens."
And fans won't have to wait until the 16-month calendar is completely finished before viewing the action. Even though Punta Cana is more than a thousand miles away from Baltimore, fans will have the chance to follow the entire shoot online at BaltimoreRavens.com.
The Ravens' official Web site will have complete coverage, including pictures and videos from the scene, an exclusive video blog from Melissa and written blogs by various cheerleaders and staffers behind-the-scenes.
"I've never been to Punta Cana, so I'm excited to go explore that island," said Leslie, author of the *RavensSpirit *blog on BaltimoreRavens.com. "The Dominican will be a new experience, so I'm looking forward to sharing that with the fans."
The cheerleaders will be trading their gameday attire for various swimsuits, some that they are personally bringing, and others provided by Brown Eyed Girl in Annapolis.
The Ravens will also be traveling with personal hair and makeup artists, counting members of Robert Andrews salon.
According to Shawn Hubbard, the primary photographer for the calendar, the possibilities of Punta Cana should make for an excellent product.
"When you're in such a beautiful setting, it makes everything look so much better," he said. "Especially with these girls, how could it possibly get any better than a setting like the Dominican."
But, the fun won't only be in the photography. The participating cheerleaders will have the chance to swim with sharks, take an excursion to the tropical Sanoa Island and experience the nightlife of Punta Cana.
Hubbard will be joined by Robert Bartlett, who will focus on behind-the-scenes photography, and a crew from RaveTV that will film all the action.
By chronicling the shoot on all sides, the Ravens hope to make their first-ever calendar event a momentous occasion, one that is a natural progression for the NFL's only co-ed stunt and dance team.
"Our cheerleading squad has really grown in talent and professionalism over the last few years," Dow explained. "Accordingly, we thought it was time to expand their reach and brand exposure.
"Analytics and data have proven time and time again that the cheerleaders are one of the most popular game entertainment features and continually drive viewership on BaltimoreRavens.com. So, it made sense that we took the ladies to the next level with the creation of a swimsuit calendar."
In fact, fans can currently pre-order a signed copy of the calendar by visiting the Ravens’ Official Team Store.
Stay tuned to BaltimoreRavens.com all next week for your look inside the Ravens Cheerleader Calendar shoot!
The 2008 Baltimore Ravens Swimsuit Calendar features 16 months of your favorite Ravens cheerleaders. Shot on location in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, this is the Ravens first swimsuit calendar! Pre-order your calendar now for $14.99 and receive an autographed copy! Calendars will ship in mid-July. No discounts or other offers apply. Supplies limited.