Photos and text by Jerrey Roberts
Thursday, September 18, 2014
(Published in print: Friday, September 19, 2014)
Last Wednesday, a room at North Star in Hadley was transformed into an Afro-Cuban dance party by members of the Iroko Nuevo Performance Group, which holds monthly dance classes for Hadley residents. Every few months, the performers present a public dance. Led by Miguel Periche of Florence, a native of Holguin, Cuba, the troupe began in 2001 as Grupo Folklorico Palo Santo. But after an expansion in 2012 that added professional singers and additional musicians, it was renamed.
The event, which was attended by about 25 people, opened with a visit from Oshun, the Yoruban goddess of sweet water and motherhood, portrayed by Elizabeth Fernandez, of Shutesbury, in a golden-yellow dress. After about an hour of music and dance, a cake was presented to Periche to celebrate his 48th birthday.
Fernandez, a performer with the group and its costumer, said she’s been dancing for 42 years. “It brings me to a place where I can feel the fullness of myself in the community,” she said.
“People come here and they release the stress of life and be happy,” Periche said. “When they hear our music, we come together and they enjoy it.”
Iroko Nuevo will perform at a benefit Nov. 7 for Not Bread Alone, a meals program at First Congregational Church in Amherst.