In this interview to Vesa Pakkari, el embajador de la bachata, we will learn a little more about how Bolero dance came to Finland. We met Vesa in the Lithuanian Afrolatin Festival. While we were there we got the chance to talk a little more with him, know more how he got started in this crazy latino dance world 🙂 and learn how Tango and some social dances like Waltz, Cha-Cha-Cha, even Bolero got introduced in Finland. At this point in time, we had never been to Finland,….yet. And the interest Vesa had in Bolero dance, got us also very interested in how is Bolero and Tango evolving in Finland.
Vesa explained to us how Tango was imported to his home country in the early 1900’s and become very popular. The finnish musicians started playing it and soon created their own style, so much so that there is the term “Finnish Tango” and it is considered a variation of the Argetinian tango. Since 1985, there is an annual tango festival, that has become hugely popular, Tangomarkkinat, attrackting more than 100,000 participants in the central finnish town of Seinäjoki. After Tango’s success, traveling musicians also imported other music styles like Cha-cha-cha and Bolero, Foxtrot, waltz, etc, making also their own compositions and arrangements, singing in finnish for their social dances and influenced by the finnish folklore and their own rhythms. According to Vesa, dancing used to be more relaxed, but when people started taking more dance lessons, ballroom lesson, sort of speak, “they become more stiff, and they need to relax and enjoy it more”.
Vesa explained that all the cities have restaurants with live bands playing this mix of ballroom/social/latino/Tango music, and in the country side, specially in the summer, they have great huge events with live bands where they get the change to social dance all these rhythms including Bolero! and their own folkloric music: Humppa and others . These country side places are open from 8pm to 1-3am. Nice for a few hours of dancing, and actually on our first ever visit to Finland, Vesa make sure we got the chance to visit one of those country places and dance Bolero, Waltz, Tango and even improvise dominican Bachata to some Humppa??? I really have no idea what it was dancing too, and Bolero too but it was great fun. We hope that our Bolero becomes a Iskelmä in Finland soon!
The photo is from that event, where we got the chance to dance bolero, and you can see the band way way at the end. The only confusing thing for us, was to go out for a night dance, but never see the night…. get dressed for an evening dance, but no evening….:) (Check the windows in the right) It was close to 11pm!!
And as you can see, these dances are quite popular!!!
Enjoy and if you visit Finland, have a Bolero dance or bachata dance in one of these places…. and try Humppa!!!