Mickela praised GA for providing such a rich performing arts experience in tandem with the rigorous academic curriculum, weaving her love of dance and music into her school day. Finally, she expressed her gratitude with the audience and all scholarship donors for providing life-changing opportunities to so many girls so that they may realize their own potential.
We invite you to learn more about Mickela below in her introduction and to view the video of her speech. Also, be sure to watch her show Bare Feet on PBS!
Visualize the recreational thing you enjoy the most: any golfers, gardeners, or cooks in the room? Now imagine engaging in this pastime around the world in the style of local traditions and all while making newfound global friends. This is exactly what Mickela has done in combining her passions for dance and for travel through the nationally acclaimed public television series, Bare Feet with Mickela Mallozzi.
Mickela is a born performer. Growing up with the well-preserved traditions of her parents’ small village in southern Italy, Mickela’s appreciation for the arts began early as she studied classical and jazz piano, violin and flute, as well as ballet and modern dance. By the time Mickela arrived at GA in Group X, she was choreographing at prestigious companies in the tri-state area, all while performing in GA’s Dance Corps, in a cappella, and as the first and the only GA girl playing jazz piano improv for the Brunswick Blue Notes.
After GA, Mickela attended New York University majoring in Music Composition, and studied in Florence for two summers sparking her love for travel. It should be noted that NYU also sparked her love for another talented music student, her now husband Paul DeFiglia, bassist for the well-known Avett Brothers Band out of Nashville.
Out of college, no surprise, Mickela worked in the music industry, but was quickly disheartened that the performing arts, which defined her very soul, were no longer part of her daily life. And so she quit her promising career and returned to teaching dance throughout CT and at the Alvin Ailey Extension in New York City.
During these dance years, Mickela’s wanderlust flourished, and her fascination for folk dance and music inspired her to take part in local performances wherever she journeyed. Travel turned Mickela into a storyteller, with her authoring of the Bare Feet® blog that chronicled these adventures, and then evolved into the incredible Bare Feet travel series.
Bare Feet has been featured by The New York Times, the Travel Channel, Dance Magazine, Yahoo! Travel, USA TODAY Travel, and American Express, and Mickela has performed on various TV shows including Sesame Street and Doctor Oz.
Last summer over a cup of coffee grabbed between rehearsals for a new series on New York City’s vibrant ethnic dance enclaves, Mickela shared these thoughts with me:
“…the culture of GA was always to promote not just possibility, but exponential possibility with as much success as you can conceivably imagine. Today the inner core of who I am—my life principles of working hard, thinking outside the box, and having higher expectations for myself---are clearly the characteristics that I first refined at GA.”
Mickela, you make us feel like dancing. Please join me in welcoming Mickela Mallozzi back to GA!