TEDx USF- Dancing for Freedom: Your Dark Story has a Purpose

Dancing for Freedom: Your Dark Story has a Purpose

Hoola for Happiness founder Carissa Caricato speaks at the TEDxUSF event on March 28, 2015 at the University of South Florida’s School of Music. TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. This TEDx event theme was “A World Beyond Ourselves.” Click here to see all talks from this event!

Talk description:

Our stories of transformation have the power to change the world, if only we have the courage to share them. Carissa shares a part of her own story, including Take Back the Night sexual violence rally participation, which eventually led to starting Hoola for Happiness. She shares about the issue of sex trafficking, specifically in India. The focus is on therapeutic dance and storytelling dance as an avenue for survivors of trauma to heal and find purpose after darkness. Carissa shares the meaning of the 5 colors and how hoop dance is used to bring joy and renew a sense of childhood for survivors. Finally, the audience is encouraged to use their own personal stories of transformation to influence the world around them and ignite positive change in others.

After the talk, a 5-color storytelling hoop dance was performed by Carissa, Casey McKinney (Chief Operating Hoola-gan of Hoola for Happiness, Tampa) and Brandy Gottlieb (Joy Spreader, Pensacola, team member for India dance projects 2014). The 5-color music was specially written for this TEDx event by Aman Nath, a friend and composer/artist in Mumbai.

This talk and dance is dedicated to all the girls in India who have survived trauma and are finding their voice and learning to dance again, and to the countless others around the globe who are crying out to be set FREE.


USF Oracle article: USF alumna finds hope in hula hoops

Carissa Caricato is the Founder of an international dance NGO called Hoola for Happiness, which has taken her all over the world spreading joy through hoops. Graduating from USF in 2008, Carissa has proudly called Tampa home for 11 years. Her passion is to give a voice to women oppressed by violence and bring smiles and laughter into dark places. She hopes her life serves as an example that anything is possible through simple people, simple tools and an extra dose of faith and boldness.