Home / Community / Lords and ladies of the dance!

Lords and ladies of the dance!

The Italianettes folk dance troupe was once again invited to perform at the Museum of Science and Industry’s Christmas Around the World and at Navy Pier’s Winter Wonderfest, making our holiday season a spectacular event from beginning to end.

The program was sponsored by the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans under the leadership of President Antonio Romanucci. Antonio and judicial candidate Lisa Marino were able to attend the program at the museum. Antonio’s nieces and Lisa’s son are members of the Italianettes. A most gracious thank you to the Donald Mazzone family for their generous sponsorship of the Italianettes dance costumes for all 40 children.

The Italianettes were first conceived by the late Pauline Jo Cusimano, the past program chairman of the JCCIA. She then enlisted the talents of her sister, present director and choreographer Marilyn Cusimano Fredericks.

An interesting and gratifying element is that children and grandchildren of the original Italianettes now perform with the troupe. Marilyn is truly humbled to have the opportunity to span TWO and even THREE generations.

O4fnz9K9qK-mbtSww1ItPmhnaqmaumrjiVQ2lW9ZSOgMusical enhancements were provided by older brothers Matt Novack on the guitar, Mike Novack on the keyboard and Dominic Glimco on the guitar, all of whom were home from college on Christmas break. Musical selections were “For the Sheer Delight of Loving” by Giovanni Bononcini and “Vieni sul Mar,” a familiar Italian folk song. Filling out the musical ensemble was Izzy Glimco on the violin.

During a musical interlude between folk dances, Izzy Glimco sang “Terra Gloria,” which she has prepared for a vocal contest. Older sister Caitlin, who has performed with us vocally previously, was studying in Bologna, Italy.

A trio of singers — Kaitlin Casey, Izzy Glimco, and Priscilla Scola — added to the musical splendor. Jack Glimco assisted with musical backup for the Dance CDs. John and Greg Glimco were the photographers. Gabriella Cavalieri and Gianna Fiorvanti assisted with the tambourines.

There are now three levels of Italianettes. The program opened with the “Tween” group performing a spirited tambourine tarantella. They also danced an allegra tarantella and a contra/quadrille. The newest group (first time performing, and they were great!) performed a circle tarantella and a contra dance. Our Teen group performed a contra/tambourine and a quadrille.

Assisting behind the scenes were Sara Gullo and Anna Marie Gullo Arthur, who have been part of our performances for many years. Anna Marie has been our “Befana” with Sara reading the story in Italian.

The costume assistant, Jomarie Cusimano Fredericks, has been both on-stage and backstage for countless performances as a dancer and as a singer throughout the years.

Elisa Romanucci added grace and efficiency beyond description as backstage coordinator, keeping everyone in the right place at the right time. Her beauty graced our stage as she modeled one of the regional costumes.

A special feature of the program was the regional costume segment. Many costumes in the fashion show were provided by Tina Scola, courtesy of Calabresi in America Organization. The costumes were for adults as well as children, which added a special touch. Children in the fashion show were Lucia Scola, Sabrina Scola and Elena Scola Ruffolo. There were aristocratic costumes and peasant costumes from Venice to Sicily, modeled by the children’s mothers and grandmothers.

The amazing children who belong to our Italian Folkloric Italian dance troupe are:

Alessia and Arianna Arthur
Alexandra Avolio
Anna Bella Bucarra
Leana Cali
Gabriella Cavalieri
Giorgia and Dario Cozzo
Marina D’Arco
Gianna, Gina, and Vince Fiorvanti
Olympia and Christian Giacolone
Olympia and Isabel Greco
Kelly, Kerry, and Izzy Glimco
Nicosia and Nino LaCorte
Luigi and Gabriella Laudando
Maxx Marino
Maggie and Katie McDermott
Milina and Amelila Miulli
Juliana Onesti
Anna Marie Novack
Olivia Rocco
Ariana and Isabella Romanucci
Alessandra and Priscilla Scola
Angela Vecchi
Giana Unti-Smith

We are so grateful to the parents who ensure the continuity of our Italian culture and heritage by encouraging their children to perform with the Italianettes.

What a beautiful tradition. The proud parents are:

Anne Marie & Chad Arthur
Jackie and Chuck Avolio
Sam and Angela Bucarra
Debbie and Philip Cali
Robert and Gina Cavalieri
Andre and Giovanna Cozzo
Sandra and John D’Arco
Rita and Gino Fiorvanti
Christian and Mary Rose Giacolone
Patrick and Antoinette (Cozzi) Greco
Beth and Greg Glimco
Becky and John Glimco
Marianna and George La Corte
Kathy and Pasquale Laudando
Lisa Marino
Julie and Jim McDermott
Michele and Amatore Miulli
Elena and Ron Onesti
Debbie and Paul Novack
Mr. & Mrs. Rocco
Mr. & Mrs. Gabriel & Maria Romanucci
Luigi and Tina Scola
Fred and Donna Scola
Janette & Robert Vecchi
Mr. & Mrs. Martin Unti-Smith

There are not enough words to express my deep appreciation to Marilyn Fredericks for her boundless energy, dedication and devotion to the children of the Italian-American community. Marilyn is truly the chief cook and bottle washer of this troupe. Besides being the choreographer, dance instructor, coordinator, telephone operator, e-mail sender, etc., she stores all of the costumes in her home, spot checks them after every use for cleaning and altering, and transports them back and forth to all performances. She calls all the practices and continues to recruit new members.

All this is done through the generosity of her time and talent. If it weren’t for Marilyn Fredericks, there would be no Italianettes! Again, Marilyn, thank you from the bottom of my heart, and that of the Italian-American community.

About Fra Noi

Fra Noi produces a magazine and website that serve the Chicago-area Italian-American community. Our magazine offers our readers a monthly feast of news and views, culture and entertainment that keeps our diverse and widely scattered readers in touch with each other and their heritage. Our website offers a dizzying array of information drawn from every corner of the local community.