Dance Director and Studio Owner Marcella Palazzo of Mood Studio San Francisco isn’t afraid to take up space in this diverse city

On my family vacay to The Bay Area, my dance heels were ready to get to a studio but I couldn’t decide which one with the amazing options in this city. In the political climate we are living, the concept of diversity and inclusion are being shouted from everyone’s rooftop (or social media platform) and San Francisco is a huge leader in this wave of enlightenment-dance is a huge participant in this conversation. I finally made my decision: MOOD Studio SF.

~your author pictured at MOOD studio~

It is no secret that I favor the educators in our community who are looking to build relationships with their students and with Marcella and Mood Studio, her dance space is built with heart. When she agreed to sit down and zoom with me to talk dance studio shop, I was thrilled! A sweeping view of SF city in the background of our meeting was as captivating as her personality. Here’s how it went.

theFoxyDancingMama: Okay first question: If an actress could play you in a movie, who would it be and why?

Marcella Palazzo: I’ve thought about this one before: Jennifer Lawrence, she’s kind of silly but she can be serious.

theFDM: What’s your favorite thing about SF?

MP: Definitely the fact that they’re so accepting of everyone. You can be whoever you are and if there’s somebody that doesn’t accept you, you will have someone backing you up. It’s so diverse. Least favorite thing? How expensive it is.

theFDM: What is your goal with MOOD for the SF dance scene?

MP: I kind of want to spice it up. There is not much performative style classes and I really want to bring that into my studio with feedback on performance quality. I want to focus on performing, it’s not always about technique.

~ Marcella’s accentuation with arms and hands to tell a story while utilizing her studio to bring the element of *space* to life with her dancers is giving ~
Choreography: Marcella Palazzo
Dancers: Tashi Cowan, Genesis Mendoza, Marcella Palazzo
Videography: Renato Boucher

theFDM: Why the name MOOD?

MP: Because I feel like every class you take there’s always a mood.

theFDM: What do you bring differently to the SF heels game in your classroom?

MP: I incorporate a little bit of jazz and burlesque, adding sensuality to the style; the students can take that with them if they want to expand.

~ Marcella began her heels training in 2019. Her advice for the beginner? "I started taking fundamentals and became better. It makes sense after you get that"~

“I believe Marcella has brought many strengths and talents to the dance world. The first would be her absolute passion for dance in general. Through her choreography, she shows a huge love for dance and also through her yoga classes, she helps people relax, practice self love and reflect on life. Marcella also utilizes the Burlesque and old Hollywood eras as influence to her Mood & Moves dance class and in past dances, that just hasn’t been seen in the dance community very often. These unique qualities make her stand out among the dance world.” -Amber Tandel, dance sister

theFDM: What does your creative process look like?

MP: I imagine in my head first, steps last- I close my eyes and imagine how I want it to be. Imagining comes first, steps come later. 

~MOOD & MOVES, Marcella’s signature dance class was not predetermined, it happened by chance. When Palazzo realized she had a “bad ass” group of dancers, she was ready to put some magic on it, developing M&M into a performance and filmed themed class on the schedule~

Choreography: Marcella Palazzo
Dancers: Tashi Cowan, Melody Wong, Una Traynor, Genesis Mendoza, Aubrey Zhang, Debra Avelar, Marcella Palazzo
Videography: Sydnie La Rosa 
What Marcella hopes dance students entering her studio experience? “I hope they honestly have fun and feel safe.”

Dancing & Choreography: Marcella Palazzo
Videography: Jerico De Guzman

theFDM: How do you pick who teaches at your studio?

Marcella Palazzo: I go by two things: 1. Does their choreography stand out; are they diverse?2. Are they friendly, down-to-earth? I look for people our students feel comfortable with and if they have a clientele.

theFDM: How will you contribute to the growth of dance in the San Francisco Bay Area?

MP: Having a studio in the city is one of the main ways. The pandemic closed up a lot of studios so there are not many anymore; providing a place for teachers to teach. 

~what sets Marcella apart from the competition is how she took the time to dig up the fundamentals and make it a primary teaching point in her heels class; she is more than a teacher, she is a mentor. here’s me in action taking her beginner heels class ~

fun fact: Marcella started dancing at 15 years of age. A dance program in high school helped her break out of her shy shell and she hasn’t looked back since.

“I believe that anyone who meets Marcella can see her passion for dance and her studio. She is a very kind and likable person who makes you feel welcomed anytime you step foot into Mood Studio. She treats every person with compassion and it feels like she’s one of your sisters. It is so nice to see how happy she gets when a new person takes a class at Mood because the studio is so dear to her heart. It is refreshing seeing her enthusiasm about dance and wanting to share it with the world. Marcella makes Mood Studio not only just a dance studio, but makes it feel like a dance community.”

-Amber Tandel

Before we go

Marcella’s dance mission statement: “I want to reach people like me to be dancers, to be in videos and have fun; have visions of their own, give them a chance.”  

MOOD offers both adult and kids classes along with studio rentals for rehearsals and videos and private lessons with existing clientele. If you live in the Bay Area or are visiting SF, is a wonderful option if you’re looking for a sparkly dance teacher who cares about your experience and growth. I can honestly say I envision myself making a concept video with the beautiful space and vibes Marcella has built.

-love, theFoxyDancingMama

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