Segunda Quimbamba

Crystal Montalvo

Born in Brooklyn, NY, Crystal Montalvo started her Bomba y Plena journey at age 7 in 1992 with Groupo Gwomba, an Afro-Puerto Rican folkloric music group under the direction of John and Carmen Berdeguer from Queens, NY.  Her parents moved to central NJ the following year, and it was not until 2016 that she reunited with her love of Bomba y Plena after learning about Segunda Quimbamba (2Q). She registered for their dance and drumming classes with her two small children in tow. Almost a decade later Crystal has remained with 2Q further developing her knowledge and practice of dance and percussion in class and through performance under the teaching and mentorship of Juan Cartagena and Nanette Hernandez. After they became of age, Crystal enrolled her children in the children’s classes. 

She serves as an administrator of community partnerships and programs at the College of Staten Island (CSI), part of the City University of New York (CUNY). As part of that role, Crystal oversees CUNY’s Continuing Education pre-college, high school equivalency and ESL programs, as well as local lifelong learning programs. She’s also a student of CSI’s EdD in Community-Based Leadership.

Her research interests seek to explore the significance of critical theory on building and sustaining community-based programs hosted by public Hispanic Serving Institutions in Latino communities. Crystal is a proud practitioner and grateful to be a part of 2Q’s work of preserving and passing down the Afro-Puerto Rican spiritual tradition and art that is Bomba y Plena.