STCC to host traditional music, dance from Puerto Rico and Cuba

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. –  The Hispanic Association in Higher Education (HAHE) at Springfield Technical Community College will present music and dance from Puerto Rico and Cuba on Wednesday, Oct. 11, between noon and 2 p.m. in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.

The public is invited to attend the free performance and workshop at STCC’s Scibelli Hall Theater.

Performed by Boston-based MetaMovements Latin Dance Company, “Cuba & Puerto Rico: De Un Pajaro Las Dos Alas” (Two Wings of One Bird) explores Puerto Rican and Cuban cultures through audience engagement and musical interaction.

The presentation will feature folkloric music such as bomba and rumba as well as salsa, the contemporary dance that both islands call their own.

“We are bringing this to STCC not only to celebrate Hispanic heritage, but to educate students and the public about the vibrant culture in Puerto Rico and Cuba,” said Jennifer Wallace-Johnson, who co-chairs the Hispanic Association in Higher Education.

“A lot of us in Western Massachusetts are from Puerto Rico, but we wanted to explore more than culture from our home island,” Wallace-Johnson said. “We thought this was an appropriate way to be more inclusive – to bring in history about Cuba and tie it into Puerto Rico. 

Both islands – near neighbors in the Caribbean Sea – share Spanish, Taíno and African origins and play key roles in the history of the Americas. The title of the presentation comes from the saying, “Cuba and Puerto Rico are two wings of one bird.”

The presentation will offer an in-depth look at the origins – and similarities – of the music and dance in Cuba and Puerto Rico.

“We want to bring something positive and uplifting, especially in light of recent events with Puerto Rico, Cuba and all of the islands down there,” HAHE chair Irma Garcia-Zingarelli said, referring to recent storms that battered many parts of the Caribbean.

Garcia-Zingarelli said the Hispanic Association hopes to host more heritage events at STCC that will spotlight other Latino countries and cultures.

Sponsors of the Cuba and Puerto Rico presentation include STCC Human Resources, the STCC Foundation, the Hispanic Association in Higher Education, Latino Leaders Achieving Valuable Education (LLAVE) Club and the Student Activities and Development Office, and Paul Zingarelli from Keller Williams (paulzingarelli@kw.com).

HAHE was created five years ago to support Hispanic faculty, staff and students on campus. 

About MetaMovements Latin Dance Company

MetaMovements is an entrepreneurial artist collective dedicated to using the arts as a tool for positive transformation of self and community, creating bonds, fostering meaningful relationships and creating lasting social change. 

Inspired by their trips to Cuba, MetaMovements creates inclusive environments for high-quality performing arts programming (workshops, classes, master classes, large community events, fundraisers and gatherings) for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to actively participate in. 

About Springfield Technical Community College

Founded in 1967 and located on 35 acres of the Springfield Armory National Historic Site, STCC is a major resource for the economic vitality of Western Massachusetts. As the only technical community college in Massachusetts, STCC, a designated Hispanic Serving Institution and an Achieving the Dream Leader College, offers a variety of career programs unequalled in the state. STCC’s highly regarded transfer programs in business, engineering, liberal arts, science and technology continue to provide the most economical options for students pursuing a four-year degree. With an annual enrollment of more than 8,500 day, evening, weekend and online students, STCC is a vibrant campus rich in diversity.

For more information about STCC, visit www.stcc.edu. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@S_T_C_C).

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