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IPA Hall of Fame Biography



Emily Pinter began her music and dancing at the early age of five, studying piano, ballet and tap dancing.  At age 16, while dancing with the Alliance of Polish Clubs group, the dancing instructor took ill, and Emily was asked to take over the class.  The following year she was hired full-time, launching her on a career of dancing.  In 1948, Emily directed her first recital.  She continued with musical lessons on piano, accordion and clarinet at Northwestern University School of Music.


She joined an international folk dance group and became a piano accompanist.  In 1951, Emily and her partner, Vince Samaska, entered the Sun-Times Harvest Moon Festival Dance Contest held at the Chicago Stadium with 23,000 people in attendance.  Emily and Vince took first place in the Polka Division.  She performed at the Oriental Theatre and Blackstone Hotel.  She taught ballroom and polka dancing at Arthur Murray Studios and Aragon Ballroom.


She organized the Polish Festival Dancers, a young adult group, which became quite popular performing on WGN-TVs "International Cafe," Folk Festival at the Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis, MO, Downtown Christmas Parades, Chicago Lakefront Festivals, etc.  They appeared at many dinner-dance floor shows with the Steve Adamczyk, Johnnie Bomba, and the late Joe "Pat" Paterek Orchestras.


She attended various Folk Dance Camps throughout the country, teaching and studying new dances.  Her expanded knowledge of the various ethnic dances resulted in a performance titled "80 Minutes around the World", at which 263 of her students performed dances of Polish, German, Russian, Jewish, Irish, French, Ukrainian, Italian, and Mexican origin, all in costumes of the country represented.  The show was held at the Morton High Auditorium in Cicero, IL and was emceed by Chet Schafer.


For many years she taught the children of the PRCUA groups at seven different parishes throughout Chicago.  In addition, she has two private groups on the north side, and one on the south side.  In 1973, she was instructor at the PNA College in Cambridge, PA.  Her last group was at St. Francis of Assisi Parish.  Emily belonged to the7PNX Youth Choir and sang with a quintet called the "Charmettes" with the late Mattie Madura.


Emily assisted Chet Gulinski on WOPA Radio & Chet Schafer on WTAO.  She participated in many Polka Stage Shows produced by Chet Schafer.


In 1969, Emily became involved with the IPA where she served as director for two years, treasurer for eight years and the first woman president for two years.  It was during her tenure as president that the IPA building was purchased.  She served as chairperson of the Annual Awards Banquet for many years.  She is a recipient of the Antonina Blazonczyk Award for her dedication to the polka field.


She worked full time for Kemper Insurance Co. as an executive assistant for 27 years and then as a secretary for 11 years for Storgaard Construction Co. She found time to marry Joseph Pinter in 1963 and attended many polka festivals with him throughout the country.  They both now serve on a dance committee in Venice Gardens, which holds a dance every second Saturday from October through April.  Recently they became members of the Polish-American Pulaski Association, Inc., and the Polish American Club of Venice, Florida.


She died on October 21, 2013, in Florida.