What is a dream job? It is easy to conceptualize, but tough to fully describe. It wouldn’t be all about money; it would be all about passion – doing what you love; a job that literally makes you jump out of bed to begin each day. It may be a dream for most and a reality for a few, but it certainly defines the life of Mickela Mallozzi, who was featured in February’s edition of O Magazine in its Dream Jobs segment.
Mickela has turned her dual passions for dance and travel into a life-changing experience, one that has led to four Emmy Awards as the host and executive producer of “Bare Feet with Mickela Mallozzi.” Her travel series highlights the diversity of dance across the globe in an infectious blend of music, culture and the universal language of dance. Bare Foot airs on public television stations nationwide and also on Amazon Prime globally.
A professional dancer and trained musician, Mickela decided to start a journey around the world, taking her camera with her to follow dance in the lives of everyday people wherever she went. While teaching dance in 2010, she had a middle of the night epiphany – the idea that would become the ‘Barefoot’ series. Turning her concept into reality required more than just creativity in her dance steps, she had to create, nurture and develop the concept from the ground up. She traveled to her parents’ hometown in Minturno, Italy, located along the Tyrrhenian Sea, roughly midway between Rome and Naples. It was in the town that she filmed a segment on dance during the town’s annual Wheat Harvest Festival. The program would become the pilot episode for her series. It took a bit of time, but in 2013 she made contact with the right people during the American Public Broadcast Conference in Boston. PBS was excited by the concept and the series was born. In 2014, Mickela began traveling the globe, filming segments for her show.
From re-discovering her family’s heritage in southern Italy to dancing the tango on the main stage 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, Forbes, American Express and AFAR Media. She has also performed on various television shows including Sesame Street and The Doctor Oz Show.
Mickela was born and raised in Stamford, Connecticut, which also happens to be the sister city of Minturno, Italy. Growing up immersed in the traditions of the southern Italian culture, her appreciation for folk culture began at a very early age. She started dancing at age three and was playing the piano at five. Her love for the arts flourished. Mickela, who was trained in classical and jazz piano, also plays the violin and flute and studied at the Stamford City Ballet School, as well as the Center Stage Dance Studio. She was choreographing and performing with prestigious companies in the tri-state area by the time she reached high school.
In college, Mickela attended New York University for Music Composition. She studied abroad for one semester in Florence and another semester in Rome, which sparked a love for travel that would be a strong influence in her career and in her life.
Out of college, she worked in the music industry, eventually landing a position with one of the top music management companies and working with one of the industry’s top heavy metal bands. She realized that arts were no longer the central part of her life as they had once been. She decided to leave the music industry and went full force back into dance. She began teaching jazz, tap, ballet and lyrical dance at the Locust Performing Arts Center in Stamford, as well as The Masala Bhangra Workout at The Ailey Extension in New York City.
Inspiration from her own experiences led Mickela to create the Bare Feet Blog, documenting her dance adventures around the world. These would evolve into her Emmy Award-winning television series – combining her two passions, travel and dance into a true dream job.
This weekend, Mickela will be appearing at the Women’s Travel Fest in New York City, taking place at 172 Norfolk Street. She will then be off to speak at the TBEX Europe Conference in Catania, Sicily, from March 10-13. She will also be speaking at the San Francisco/Bay Area Travel & Adventure Show on March 21 and 22.