In this episode, Dolores interviews Mickela Mallozzi, an Emmy Award winning host and producer of the popular travel dance TV and web series “Bare Feet®.” Born and raised in Stamford, Connecticut of Italian immigrant parents, she grew up with well-preserved traditions of the Southern-Italian culture, and her appreciation for folk tradition started at a very young age. She began dancing when she was 3, started playing the piano at age 5, was trained in classical and jazz piano, played violin and flute, trained at the Stamford City Ballet School and Center Stage Dance Studio, and was choreographing and performing with prestigious companies in the Tri-State Area once she reached high school. In college, Mallozzi attended New York University (NYU) for music composition, studying abroad for two summer semesters through the NYU Florence Program and as an AIAE Programma Ponte Scholarship recipient in Rome in 2003.
Inspiration from her own experiences led Mallozzi to create the Bare Feet® blog, documenting her dance adventures around the world, which then evolved into the Emmy® Award-winning TV series on public television nationwide, “Bare Feet with Mickela Mallozzi” – combining her two passions in life: travel and dance.
The Italian American Stories segment of this episode features an interview with Grazia Solazzi from Cook with Grazia. Anthony conducted the interview on site in Lerici, Italy where Grazia spends her summers.
“You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true.” – Richard Bach
- “You feel a duty to make your ancestors proud.” – Mickela Mallozzi on being a child of immigrants
- “They made things work and they found ways to find opportunities for me.” – Mickela Mallozzi on her Italian immigrant parents
- “In an immigrant family, [your parents] want you to live a better life.” – Mickela Mallozzi on her Italian immigrant parents
- “To me travel is about making an effort of learning about the place through the people that live there.” – Mickela Mallozzi
- “I’m not doing this to be on TV, I’m doing this because I genuinely love meeting people through dance and music.” – Mickela Mallozzi
- “I was putting everything on the line.” – Mickela Mallozzi on shooting her first travel dance videos in Italy
- “I am extremely fortunate to know where my family comes from.” – Mickela Mallozzi
- “The number one rule if you want to raise bilingual kids, is to pick a language and stick to it.” – Grazia Solazzi
Some of the key points Mallozzi touched on included:
- The children of immigrants feel a duty to make their family proud. It’s not a pressure, but an inspiration.
- Mallozzi’s parents supported her because they knew the arts were what she was passionate about.
- Mallozzi went back to Italy for school, learned Italian, and and re-connected with her heritage.
- Mallozzi started blogging about her travel, which was based around dance and creativity.
- She has been to over 26 countries to shoot footage for her television show, “Bare Feet with Mickela Mallozzi.”
- Mallozzi learned about the places she traveled to through their dance traditions.
- A lot of Italian Americans are not even sure where their families are from.
- The first video Mallozzi shot in Italy was difficult to shoot because she didn’t yet have a process, but it has had an amazing effect on her and her family.
- There is something known as blood memory, which helps people to remember where they’re from, even if they have never been there.
Anthony Fasano and Dolores Alfieri
Co-Hosts, The Italian American Podcast