MOMZ-N-DA HOOD is a one of a kind dance crew that proves age is nothing but a number (they were even featured on John Oliver)! WOD Magazine was lucky enough to sit down with these remarkable women to find out all about their dance journey and what inspires them. Read our exclusive Q&A below and don’t forget to follow MOMZ-N-DA HOOD on social media.
Barbara Adler, age 58, Susan Estep, age 62, Lori Lee age 53, Susan Avery, age 59, Nancy McAndrew (Scotland) age, 56, and Lancelot E. Theobald, Jr, Director/Choreographer
Give us a brief history of MOMZ-N-DA HOOD
MOMZ-N-DA HOOD® was “born” in the year 2000. It started as an exercise class called “Dance With Lance” at a local community center. “Lance” is Lancelot Theobald, Jr, a working choreographer and performer who was hired to teach the class. He challenged us, choreographing “routines” that were difficult to learn and remember and most of the class dropped out, except for 5 of us. We secretly began practicing in each others basements before the next class and started videotaping the classes to remember the dances. When Lance learned that these middle aged moms were doing all of this just to be their “best” in his class, he said “You ladies are more dedicated than half the professionals I work with, I should take you on the road!” And he did.
We did our first “recital” at the Great Neck Arts Center in NY and made our husbands bring flowers like we were little kids in a dance school. However, a CBS news producer was in the audience and the next thing we knew, we were performing live on the plaza of FAO Schwartz, NYC for “CBS Eye On America”, shown on airplanes for months. A Warner Brothers producer saw that and called us. It has been one amazing, adventure filled train ride ever since.
One important point is that the “HOOD” in MOMZ-N-DA HOOD® stands for motherhood. Motherhood is the same no matter where you are from, what you look like, what you believe in; what you say or do. We stand with mothers everywhere in the world and are inspired by every one of you.
When did you start dancing as a team?
After that CBS Eye on America performance, we trademarked our name and began performing where ever we could. We all have young children and jobs and husbands and responsibilities. It was difficult but we would move mountains to be together to dance. What became very fascinating was the reason each of us were there; we all shared a passion for performing and dancing that was never realized in our younger years. We soon learned that Lancelot, himself, was a professional football player and also had a later in life passion for performing, choreographing, and dance and left football to pursue his dreams. We had MUCH more in common with this young, urban man than anyone could have “seen”.
What makes your group unique?
We are PROUDLY considered the first and only dance crew of its kind. Dancing hip-hop and learning to breakdance at our age is almost unheard of. We are NOT professional dancers so it is a somewhat odd and unexpected thing to witness. We are most proud of being the first older dance crew to perform at a half time show at The N.Y. Liberty in Madison Square Garden in 2003. This single performance inspired MSG to create an older dance team to perform at half time shows. This caught on, and now there are older dancers performing in sporting arenas for professional sports all over the country. Lancelot’s idea to show the public that older people can be entertaining, authentic and inspiring literally launched a movement, and we could NOT be more proud.
What have been some of the highlights of dancing with MOMZ-N-DA HOOD®?
The greatest joy for us is inspiring other people (young and old) that “Anything is Possible at Any Age”. We have heard from people all over the world who said that they too had unrealized dreams and passions and wanted to find a way to experience them. We have had amazing adventures traveling, appearing on TV, in videos and more. We have performed several times at Hip Hop International in Las Vegas to an international crowd of dancers and enjoyed a standing ovation. In 2017, Ellen DeGeneres surprised Barbara by SKYPING her on the show. Barbara’s “screams” of joy were heard all over the world. Being acknowledged and accepted by people in the hip-hop dance community has been precious to us. We have met the founders of several of the unique dance forms in hip-hop and the “OG’s” have taught us to learn about the origins and help spread the messages of its history. The other VERY important feature of our group, is that we give back-constantly. We do more charity and fundraising work than anything. During the holidays, we march into Walmart and randomly pay off people’s layaway plans, often engaging in random acts of kindness, and supporting several charities. We are hoping to book a national commercial to make some money….so we can give it away!
What motivates and/or inspires you?
The member of MOMZ-N-DA HOOD® are motivated by an internal drive and passion for performing, and have a deep love for hip-hop music. But the greatest rewards have been inspiring people to listen to their inner voices and pursue their dreams and passions at any age, even if it’s unexpected or unusual. We are also very inspired by young people, who just so happen to be very supportive of our crew. Our own children grew up watching us do this, and they are not as embarrassed as you’d think! There are other not so obvious benefits like combatting osteoporosis, difficult symptoms of menopause (bless Lancelot’s heart for living through that with us! LOL), thwarting anxiety and depression. I had a full hip replacement in 2015 and was back on the dance floor in four months. We are have all experienced the challenges of motherhood, and currently are enduring the sadness of caring for our aging and declining parents. We have gone through so many life cycle events together and have danced our way through all of them.
What are some of your go to songs/artists when you dance?
We can (and will) dance to ANYTHING. But we are definitely most fond of the “old school” music of James Brown, Dennis Coffey, and many others. We actually got special permission from The Jimmy Castor team to use “Just Begun” in our shows which is a symbolic title for us. A younger “boy band” called “The Bomb Digz” gave us license to use their hit “Age is Nuthin But a Number” which could not be more perfect for us.
Do you have any upcoming projects in the works?
YES! We are in the studio now shooting video for are soon to be released ios/android APP. We want to bring our message and friendship to people who may not have the ability to take dance classes or have someone willing to teach them to learn to dance like this at older ages. We want to expand our family by having people all over the world learn from Lancelot’s extremely unique style of teaching and provide a platform for them to dance and be seen.
Does anyone in your group have any hidden talents?
Well, that’s an interesting question, because hip-hop and breakdance IS our hidden talent! When you meet me, you would have NO IDEA that I spend my free time learning how to do a windmill between loads of laundry and carpooling.
Anything else you think our readers would like to know?
First of all, HELLO to all the wonderful people in the World of Dance community! We have attended many WOD events in over the years and have never missed an episode of the television show. Each one of you have motivated us, inspired us and made us so proud to represent our crew in the dance world. We know we are not the best dancers, we dance to the realm of our own possibilities, but we love what we do and strive to master the impossible even at our age. When we perform our joy is apparent; no one is having more fun than us! We love and cherish your support on our social media platforms. We like when you “follow” us on our social channels so we can “meet” you and follow along your adventures too.