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A touch of Italian seasoning can be good for a mom

When it comes to love... it's always better to be Italian.

An Italian woman, wow -- she is a plethora of things. Listen to the passion that comes through the Italian language. When you hear an Italian woman speak, you know that she is confident, sexy, saucy, she can be stylish, she can smoke a cigarette like no other, and she can fight for what she loves! An Italian woman is also a good Catholic wife, she can cook, and is a hard worker, and most importantly she is a mamma. She will love her family with all her heart! Look at Sophia Lauren; she is all of these things. What better role model for an Italian "wannabe" like me!

Sophia Lauren is Italian royalty. I read when filming Nine, people in Rome lined the streets to wave at her. She may be known for her sex bomb roles, but she loved her husband, adores her two sons, and grandchildren, and she still loves to cook for her family.

Photo: Penelope Cruz in the muscial, Nine.

I had been anticipating seeing the movie Nine since I saw the previews in July. I didn't pay attention to the reviews and went to see it with an open heart. One of the first lines in Nine is "What's your favorite pasta?" That's so Italian! I was hooked from then on! I can't get the music and dance out of my head.

Being a dancer and having a taste for musical theatre, I adored the choreography. If I had to pick a favorite scene, I'd say Fergie's "Be Italian." I thought it was sensuous and gypsy like with tambourines, sand, and a chair dance that reminded me of the Kit Kat Club in Cabaret. I would have loved to play her part in this movie. The beauty of acting is that you can pretend to be someone else. What fun it would be to play the temptress!

Nine is set in the sixties. Women wear lingerie with garter belts and satin and lace bras. It balances fantasy, reality, history, dreams and beauty in a way that movies are supposed to. Movies and books are supposed to be a pleasure, an escape and take us away to a faraway place. This is exactly what Nine did for me. Nine is a grand movie, a must see if you love Cinema Italiano.

I thought of the musicals Chicago (I was in this musical in college) and Cabaret (my husband and I saw at studio 54) with all the Razzle Dazzle of the costumes and dancing, I also thought of the Lido in Paris when Dame Judi Dench sings Folies Bergere, and of course the movie La Dolce Vita with the romance of an Italian fountain (one of the most famous scenes in film history). I am that dancer with the big feathers. She's in me!

The sixties in Italy were a time of glamour; there was no such thing as "mom jeans". I like the pizzazz of that time. I try to mix a bit of glamour into my life every day. It might just be red lipstick, but it's something fun to remind me I'm a woman.

Daniel Day Lewis was very intense, very Italian (I would have liked to play a role if it was called Ten)! He plays a filmmaker who suffers from a creative block of procrastination. He has demands of nine women in his life and they are a major distraction when he's trying to make his new film called "Italia." He's one of those men you love to hate.

I think one of the sexiest movie lines ever was when Lauren Bacall said to Humphrey Bogart in To Have and Have Not, "You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together - and blow. One of the sexiest dance scenes was the tango in the Chicago movie danced to Roxanne. Now, after seeing Nine I'd say Fergie's dance number beats them both out when her character, Sanghina says before singing Be Italian, "But now I teach you three words, You will learn them and drive your women crazy: Ti voglio bene you will say, It means I want you every day. Ti voglio bene. Ti voglio bene you will learn means every night for you I burn." I think the Italians have more passion than any other culture. It must be in the water...that's why I drink San Pellegrino!

Sanghina is trying to teach the Italian film director about how being Italian is having a love for life, food, dance, drinking, sex, fighting... Live today as if it may become your last. I love that passion and fire. Everyone should have a zest for life that joie de vivre.

The older I get, the more drive and enthusiasm builds inside of me. I attribute it to being a mom. I bet most flamenco dancers are mothers! Being a mother fuels our fire and makes us appreciate every day. Having children makes a woman sexier, stronger, and full of such intense love that we never dreamed possible. I can see myself being a flamenco dancer. Have you ever seen authentic flamenco dancing? It is usually performed by an older dancer and if you watch her face you will see she dances with a love for life; she dances as if it may be her last dance. She is a Gypsy! I think that's why the character Fergie plays is my favorite. Just like the tango scene in ChicagoChicago.jpg, it's a dance that has a strong, defiant, and explosive energy. I just love it!
Love...Italian style should be Ti voglio bene and to live today as if it may be your last. Be Italian!

Photo: Ashley in dancing in the musical, Chicago.

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