Lucia Mauro earned her BA in English/Communication from Loyola in 1986. Shortly after graduation, she embarked on a long and fulfilling arts writing career–specializing in dance and theatre–in Chicago. Today, she continues to review and write about dance for the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Magazine, Playbill, and other publications. She is the dance critic for Chicago Public Radio and has penned three arts-related career books for McGraw-Hill. Since 2008, she has served as an adjunct professor of dance history in Loyola University Chicago’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts.
Besides the arts, Lucia harbors a great love of Italy, something that derives from her time as a student at the John Felice Rome Center. She has traveled to every region of the country and writes and speaks frequently on Italian culture and life. In Summer 2010 she will teach Dance History: Renaissance to Present at the Rome Center.
What’s the most enduring lesson you learned at Loyola?
It’s a two-fold lesson: to regard everyone as an individual with unique gifts and talents, and to carefully evaluate all sides of an issue.
What’s your favorite memory of Loyola?
Many are tied to my unforgettable experiences of seeing history come to life before my eyes at the John Felice Rome Center. I’ll narrow it down to a significant one. I was put in charge of picking up the tickets for my History of Opera class at Il Teatro dell’Opera di Roma and frequently managed to sneak into the elaborate theater, where I caught more than a few delightfully chaotic rehearsals.
Why did you decide to become a writer, speaker, and educator?
My career and life seem to have evolved in unexpected ways. I always loved telling stories and discovered that I could best express myself in writing. And I was determined to follow my passion. My writing has, over the years, allowed me to extend my infatuation with words to public speaking and teaching. Personally, I believe writing must begin with observation…the rest is a lifelong process of chiseling and polishing.
What’s the most interesting part of your job?
There are so many dimensions, and I’m constantly shifting gears. What unites them all is the unexpected joy of meeting people from all walks of life, traveling to new places, and engaging in an exchange of knowledge and insights with others.
What’s the greatest piece of advice you’ve ever received?
I can’t believe I would ever find myself quoting The Karate Kid, but there’s a lot of truth to Miyagi’s adage, “Wax on…wax off”.
What book are you reading right now? Would you recommend it to others?
I’m splitting time reading Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. So I’m vacillating wildly between ideas of self-reliance, survival and the role of instinct and compassion.
What (or who) inspires you?
Though I’m no technophobe, I’m inspired by individuals who maintain a real connection to humanity despite the temptation to rely on the abundance of gadgetry invading our lives.
If someone made a movie of your life would it be a drama, a comedy, a romantic-comedy, action film, or science fiction?
A sword-and-sandals epic. Not quite an accurate portrayal of my life, but I like the way it sounds…and I’ve spent a lot of time in Rome.
Describe your perfect day.
Coastal sailing in Italy with my husband Joe…and not being tied to a schedule or deadline.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go, and why?
I never tire of Italy, in general, or the island of Sardinia, in particular–it’s ancient, remote, and mystical…and I could subsist on Sardinia’s wafer-thin carta da musica bread, pecorino sardo cheese, and red cannonau wine.
What’s your favorite Chicago pizza?
As an unrelenting Italo-phile, I prefer the more traditional thin-crust pizzas at Spacca Napoli Pizzeria and the unconventional but flavorful Neapolitan Coalfire Pizza. I also have fond memories of the deep-dish spinach-and-mushroom pies at Gino’s East when I was a student at Water Tower Campus.
Who would you want to be for a day?
Anita Garibaldi–the Brazilian-revolutionary wife of Giuseppe Garibaldi and quintessential woman of action.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
The Food Network….besides Giada, Rachael, and Tyler, I’m hooked on The Next Iron Chef.
Which one best describes you in college: athlete, intellectual, artist, young professional, activist, or social butterfly?
I’d have to start with young professional because many of my classes were at Water Tower, which had a high number of economics and law students. I often wore a business suit and carried a briefcase – remember it was the ’80s. At the same time, I clocked many hours reading in the library when I wasn’t obsessively studying ballet in downtown Chicago. So intellectual and artist also apply (but both sound a bit pretentious to me).