By Jessica Turk
Assistant Program Manager, NPT
Bare Feet with Mickela Mallozzi is a 30-minute travel TV series highlighting traditional dance and music culture from around the globe. Emmy® Award-winning host and producer, Mickela Mallozzi, began the series as a way to combine her two passions in life: travel & dance. From rediscovering her family’s roots in Southern Italy to dancing the tango on the main stage in Buenos Aires, the series covers Mickela’s adventures as she takes her camera around the world to follow dance in the lives of everyday people around the world.
Tune in Sunday, June 26, at 1:30 p.m., when Mickela turns her travel lens on her adopted home of Nashville. You’ll see familiar sights and discover hidden gems here in Music City as Mickela tries everything from line dancing, to modern ballet, to old-time buck dancing.
NPT is the presenting station for Bare Feet, so over this past year I’ve worked with Mickela on distributing her show to public television stations across the country through American Public Television. The series has come a long way since 2008 when Mickela began her journey to bring it to television. In the early days, she filmed the shows with a selfie stick or asked bystanders to film her as she danced in the street.
I sat down with Mickela recently to discuss the roots, success, and future of the series over lunch at Sunflower Café on a day marvelously devoid of summer heat.
A professional dancer and trained musician, Mickela said she loves to dance and the exuberance that comes through onscreen is her natural self. “I love to dance. It’s all genuine; it’s not fake. I think from the feedback I get from viewers, they feel like they’re with me,” she said. “Whether the camera was there or not I would still be doing it.”
Mickela said bringing the show to NPT and other public television stations was also a natural fit. “I ended up exactly where I wanted the show to be and where I believe it was always meant to be. For an audience that values not just interesting cultural content but things that are fun, too,” she said.
Though she would be the first to tell you she’s made many mistakes along the way, Mickela also said she’s learning all the time. “I’ve been blessed in the sense [that] I’ve also surrounded myself with people that know what they are doing,” she said.
Mickela’s following her passions and experiencing the world one dance at a time, but does she have any regrets or is there anything she would have done differently to make things go smoother? “If I had had the money to just throw at people to do these things for me, I wouldn’t have learned to make it,” Mickela said. “I think I have a knack for really connecting with people on a level that makes them feel comfortable enough to talk to me on camera. And that’s just something I learned to do over the years doing it by myself with a selfie stick and a camera.”
Bare Feet with Mickela Mallozzi airs Sundays at 1:30 p.m. on Nashville Public Television. Click here to find our complete programming schedule.