After wrapping her stint as a modern mom on ABC's Once and Again, Sela Ward traveled back in time to the 1950s in Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. She plays lead girl Ramolo Garai's mother, who's a frustrated former ballroom dancer. While filming in Puerto Rico, Ward was thrilled to strap on sexy heels and show off her moves on the dance floor, albeit very briefly.
"Damn it, I practiced for two solid weeks and there was only 30 seconds [on screen]," Ward laments to TV Guide Online. "I was so proud of all that dancing. That's the hardest work I've ever done, physically."
Is she kidding? This 47-year-old's killer body must require serious work! "I'm [usually] doing boring things like the treadmill, the weights and resistance training," she explains. "[While dancing,] I had sweat pouring off of me in rehearsal. It was great fun and I lost a lot of weight in two weeks."
Along with the pounds, Ward shed her soft-hearted mother routine from Once and Again. In Havana Nights, her character pulls a Mommie Dearest when she hauls off and smacks her rebellious teenage daughter for sneaking out to dance with a local boy. Apparently, Mom's more than a little bitter that her child's out living it up, while she gave up her pro dancing dream to have the kid in the first place. Ah, the repressed '50s.
"The [slapping] scene was easy for me because I am a parent," she laughingly admits. "Even though my children are very young — they are 5 and 9 — I can already project what it must be like to have that insolence and disrespect and rebelliousness from a child, even though they need to separate from you. So it is not difficult to go there.
"In the next scene, you see what has transpired for her," Ward continues. "[She's] coming to terms with the fact that she questions having had children and how it took away her dream. That was the tricky scene for me, not the slap. The slap was just pure, raw emotion and resentment and anger that she was too guilty to express."