Mickela Mallozzi To Lead Viewers Through Buenos Aires On Travel Series
Mickela Mallozzi leads first official collaboration between Dance Adventures and Bare Feet Tours.
By: Megan Morrison
Mickela is the Emmy® Award-winning host and producer of Bare Feet with Mickela Mallozzi, a travel series airing on PBS. From re-discovering her family’s roots in Southern Italy to dancing tango
in Buenos Aires, the series covers Mickela’s adventures as she experiences the world, one dance at a time. She has been featured in The New York Times, Travel Channel, Dance Magazine, USA TODAY, and American Express. Mickela is also the Director of the Women’s Travel Fest, an annual conference whose mission is to inspire, empower, educate, and connect women through travel. Below, Mickela shares more about her love of dance, her TV show, and why she’s excited to lead the Argentina trip with Dance Adventures. Dance Adventures is a team of travelers and dancers with a mission to bring more joy, creativity, play, freedom and connection to people’s lives through dance trips abroad.
Dance Adventures: What inspired you to start the show Bare Feet? Mickela: I caught the travel bug the summer between my sophomore and junior year of college at NYU – I studied abroad in Florence for six weeks, and I was addicted to the empowering feeling of traveling independently. After that, I made it a point to travel abroad at least once a year, whether that was through scholarships, crashing on friends’ couches, etc. Wherever I would visit, my first instinct was to jump right in with the locals during festivals, holidays, and local celebrations that were taking place. I would approach complete strangers asking them (or gesturing to them, especially when I didn’t know the language), that I wanted them to teach me the dances that they were doing during these celebrations. I immediately made a personal connection with all of these people, and I got such a high from these experiences, I wanted to continue having those magical moments over and over again. My original idea for Bare Feet was actually to create dance itineraries for a tour company, and since I had that idea in 2008 when the stock market crashed, it was terrible timing. The idea gnawed at me for a few years. Eventually, through the idea planted by a friend of mine, I decided to create a TV show about these experiences instead (by way of blog and web series first). I’m so excited that the idea for Bare Feet has come full circle, and I’m now able to work with Dance Adventures to offer Bare Feet Tours!
Dance Adventures: What’s most exciting to you about our upcoming dance trip to Argentina? Mickela: The Bare Feet in Argentina episode is one of our most popular episodes of the series on television (and on the web). I’m most excited about finally giving the opportunity to my viewers to have them join me and experience all of the wonderful things about Buenos Aires and tango that doesn’t translate through the TV screen. And that says a lot, since the passion and beauty really do come across so well. I look forward to having our travelers experience the addiction that you get from dancing tango, and the amazing tastes of Argentina–including dishes like parilla and all the incredible wines!
Dance Adventures: What dance experience abroad most surprised you? Mickela: It is so hard to pinpoint one experience since I’ve had so many moments that were eye-opening, transformative, and enlightening through dance. The thing that ALWAYS surprises me, however, is the immediate connection that is made through dance–even when you’re dancing with a complete stranger. It’s like a switch that turns on for the people I’m dancing with – I think they realize that my interest in them and their culture in genuine, and they become more excited to share it with me. Because of the trust that is exchanged in dance, more doors open like invitations to family gatherings, home-cooked meals, and more.
Dance Adventures: Do you have a favorite dance?
Mickela: I actually haven’t been back to Buenos Aires since we first filmed the Argentina episode, but I do have to say that the tango was really a joy to learn. Tango has such a strong tie to the Argentine identity, so dancing it really helps you connect with Buenos Aires in a completely different way. I’m also drawn to many masculine dances around the world that have stronger movement and may be more grounded. I think it’s because of how my body is built. I don’t consider myself feminine and delicate, and I really love dances that get my heart pumping. I recently danced with the Serbian community for our new series in New York City, and I absolutely LOVE the dances from The Balkans – it’s like doing math with your feet!
Dance Adventures: What tips would you offer people who want to experience the world through dance? Mickela: Of course, I would love for them to join us on any of the Bare Feet Tours – they are open to anyone and everyone who has an open mind, who loves to get up and move, and is willing to step out of their comfort zone a bit. Every time I’m on a Bare Feet TV Series shoot, there’s always the chance that I won’t be able to get the steps. But that doesn’t matter – what matters is that I try and let myself be vulnerable with whomever I am dancing – and that makes the experience all the more authentic and genuine.That said, if taking a trip abroad is too big of a first leap, dance in your own communities. There are dance classes available throughout the US where you can start taking lessons on something you’ve been interested in. And if you’re really adventurous, seek out ethnic groups living in your community that may be hosting celebrations where dance, music, food, and fun are available to the public – this is where amazing cultural exchange within the communities can happen, right at home!- – –