The dancers drove about 1,000 miles so they could appear Wednesday on BET's live "106 & Park" show. But they hit traffic at the tunnel, which connects New Jersey and New York City and is just two miles from the TV studio in Manhattan.
The five young women and three young men decided to sprint the rest of the way. They left their adult chaperones behind and ran through the toll plaza.
Armed officers with Port Authority police and the FBI-NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force gave chase, closing the tunnel for 45 minutes.
They eventually offered to escort the dancers to the show, but the producers told them it was too late.
The troupe headed back to Jacksonville, Florida.