Segunda Quimbamba

Nanette Hernández

A recipient in the inaugural class of the first Heritage Fellowship Awards given by the NJSCA. She is a Master Dancer, Educator, Arts Administrator, event organizer, and community leader. In 1989, she co founded Segunda Quimbamba Folkloric Center in Jersey City, NJ, a 501(c)3 nonprofit cultural arts dedicated to celebrating Puerto Rican folkloric music Bomba and Plena through education and performance. For 30 years, she has performed in the professional ensemble Segunda Quimbamba as the group’s principal dancer and as a percussionist.  She is the organization’s Director of Development and Education Initiatives; in this role, she runs year-round class programs in Bomba and Plena dance and drum for all ages.

Hernández has spearheaded numerous campaigns for SQFC from fundraising to execution to management, including the band’s 2015 trip to perform at El Festival de Pardiñas in Spain; 2019 trip to Puerto Rico to play at El Festival Libre Soberao in Salinas and El Día Nacional del Encuentro de Tambores in Cataño where she was one of four principal dancers; and 2021 trip to Barbados to perform at a private wedding. In 2017, Hernández led SQFC’s fundraising efforts to raise more than $18,000 for its sister organization Centro Cunyabe to aid in rebuilding the Salinas center after Hurricane Maria. In addition to her work for SQFC, Hernández is an Artist-in-Residence with Young Audiences, and Dance New Jersey where she has created programs to teach Plena and Bomba dance and drum in public schools across New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania. Gaining a 2023 Governor’s award recognition for PS27 for excellence in Dance Education awarded to the school Principal. In 2021, Hernández was recognized by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts as a Master of Dance. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and International Market Management at Pace University in 1991.

A lifelong learner, immersed in culture passed down by her family, she continues in her healing journey spiritually lifted through acts of remembrance honoring our ancestors through the ritual practice of dance and music.