BOISE, Idaho — In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, all week long, we're showcasing local leaders, resources, and more - supporting Idaho's Hispanic and Latino community.
Norma Pintar brings traditional Mexican folklore alive through dance and these days, she's using her talents to train the next generation of dancers, one move at a time. Pintar is a one-woman show, suitcase and costumes all in tow.
"This dress weighs 25-pounds!" she said.
She says preparing for a performance takes her hours and getting to this level of mastery takes years of training.
"I started to dance at the age of five," said Pintar.
Pintar says knew she wanted to dance professionally, but her father worried it wasn't a viable career. Still, she persisted, even touring internationally.
When Pintar moved to Idaho in the 90s, she says her Mexican culture was noticeably under-represented.
"There were no dance groups, no Hispanic Cultural Center," she said.
So she set out to change the landscape. She was instrumental in forming the Hispanic Cultural Center in Nampa, served as a dance director and master instructor, and taught traditional Mexican Folkloric dance the way she had been taught back in her hometown.
"Every state in Mexico has its own traditions and costumes and food and music," she said, "I have a variety in my repertoire that I've been teaching to other students."
It's a program she calls apprenticeship. So far, she has seven students and she hopes young dancers will continue her work and create their own groups.
"For me, it’s very important to keep the traditions alive no matter where you are in the world," said Pintar.
And as for her dad - once so worried about Norma's career in dance? Well, he came around.
"When he heard that I got the Governor‘s Award for tradition and folk dance [my father] said, "Norma I'm sorry I'm very proud of you."