“Madonna dei Mambo” is based on a 2012 interview with Serbian-American ballroom dancer Diane (Fontaine) McCarthy. McCarthy discusses her evolution in ballroom, from a small studio in D.C. to headlining in Atlantic City, to founding Dance for Life, Pennsylvania. She is candid about her roles as sister, mother, and daughter. She talks about losing religion and the surprising place she found faith, as she battles terminal breast cancer. McCarthy died in 2014. “Madonna dei Mambo” appeared in the University of Pittsburgh literary journal Hot Metal Bridge in Winter 2015.