In this special series of Girls That Go! we hear from Mickela Mallozzi, co-director of the first ever Women’s Travel Fest, coming up in March of 2014!
Read on for Mickela’s take on the most technical dance she’s had to learn in her travels, what she’s pumped about for the upcoming Travel Fest, and more!
GGG: Welcome to Girls That Go! To kick us off, can you tell us who you are, where you’re from and what got you started traveling?
I’m Mickela Mallozzi, host and producer of the travel/dance web series, Bare Feet
™ where I “experience the world, one dance at a time.” I’m from Stamford, CT but I’m an adopted New Yorker of over 13 years.
I started traveling on my own during college, and I’ve been addicted ever since.
GGG: Your project, Bare Feet™, is pretty sweet. Can you tell us a bit about what inspired you to look at dance the way you do as you travel?
Thanks! Bare Feet™ is the product of combining my two passions in life: travel and dance. I started dancing when I was three years old, and I haven’t really stopped since, eventually becoming a full time dance teacher in New York.
I had also studied abroad for two summers while in college, making it a point after that to travel at least once a year. During my time off on my travels, I would find local festivals and holidays in each place I visited.
Most of these celebrations included folk dance and music, so I would find myself making new friends with the locals just by asking them to dance with me or teach me their unique dance steps. Even if I didn’t speak the language, I was able to connect with these people. And this is how the idea of Bare Feet™ was born!
GGG: What has been the most technically difficult cultural dance that you’ve learned?
Most of the dances I learn in each place are folk dances and I can pick them up fairly quickly, but I’d have to say the most challenging dance so far for me has been the tango. I come from a ballet background, and I had to un-train my body for alignment and turnout when it came to dancing the tango. But the dance is so passionate and infectious, it is also one of my favorites. Having the opportunity to learn the tango in Buenos Aires was an incredible experience that can’t be replicated anywhere else.
GGG: There must be innumerable cultural dances. How do you choose which ones you want to learn?
You’re right, there are countless dances around the world – it’s almost like asking a foodie which dish they want to eat next!
My schedule is usually booked at least six to 12 months in advance, and I look that far ahead because I try and base my travels around local festivals and holidays.
I’ll also try and find places that are diverse to where I’ve been before, trying to get a broad spectrum of style and region for my shoots.
Sometimes I get recommendations from people watching Bare Feet™ to come visit their own country or city, or friends and other dancers who give me ideas. I have to be honest and also mention that without sponsorships and support, the web series wouldn’t exist, so I also go where I can find support for the videos.
GGG: If you had to do a show about a different aspect of culture other than dance, what would you choose, and why?
I don’t think I would – this is what I love to do and I hope I’ll be able to do this in some capacity forever. However, Bare Feet™ doesn’t just limit our coverage to music and dance – in every episode we incorporate all aspects of the culture that surround the local music, dance and celebration, including food, history, architecture, fashion, etc. It just comes with the territory.
There is a lot of geographical, anthropological, and economical history behind dance, so a lot of other flavors from each culture easily shine through as well.
GGG: Along with Masha and Kelly, you’re one of the co-directors of our Women’s Travel Fest! Why were you excited to get on board with this project?
As a woman, I know how hard it can be to travel, in any country! And when the three of us got together with the same idea in mind, to inspire women to travel, to empower them, and to help them make new connections, it just made sense for us to work together and bring all of our talents in once place to help an under-represented group in the travel sector.
Living in New York, you sometimes forget that the rest of the world doesn’t always run the same way – and travel helps to remind us of that. And travel also helps us realize that change starts small and slow, but it has to start somewhere. By giving women the resources and the inspiration to travel either solo or with their girlfriends or with their families or in such unique ways, we are hoping to create a community of strong, open-minded people that share the same passion as us!
GGG: What are you most looking forward to about the event?
I’m really looking forward to meeting all the other women attending the event that are just as excited about travel as we are. Even if only one person at the event walks away feeling more inspired to book that trip she’s always wanted to take, then I’ll be happy.
GGG: Where are you headed next for Bare Feet?
Like I said, my schedule for 2014 is already almost booked, but the next step for Bare Feet™ as a company is what I’m most excited about – I have recently launched the Bare Feet™ Tours which are itineraries based on the Bare Feet™ mission of experiencing each culture through its music and dance.
So instead of just watching me have the time of my life in my videos, viewers can join me on these trips and have just as much fun! Upcoming tours include learning salsa and bomba in Puerto Rico; dancing in Bali, Indonesia; trying la pizzica in Bari, Italy; and immersing yourself in the trad culture in Ireland! tFor more information on the tours, go to www.travelbarefeet.com
And don’t forget to register for the first ever Women’s Travel Fest in New York on March 8, 2014!
All photos are courtesy of Mickela Mallozzi.