Finnish Tango is yet another misconception of Tango that we feel the need to clear up. Jorge is Finnish and lived in Finland until he was 22 years old. At which point he moved with K to Canada in 2005. K lived in Finland for just under five years working as a kindergarten teacher. While we lived there together, we enjoyed going out to dance socially to live music in the dance halls (inside and outside). At these places, many dances were danced including Fox Trot, Quickstep, Slow and Viennese Waltz, Jive, Rumba, Cha Cha, Humpa, Jenkka, Polka, Samba, and FINNISH TANGO.
Being from, and having lived in, Finland causes many people to ask us about the large tango scene that exists in this tiny country. Many people who dance Argentine Tango mistakenly believe that Finns are dancing some form of Argentine Tango. This is somewhat understandable given that Wikipedia says Finn, “Finnish tango is an established variation of the Argentine tango“…How misleading! Yes, there is a very large tango scene in Finland, but Finnish Tango is just that: Finnish Tango. It is not Argentine Tango and does not resemble Argentine Tango in any way. In fact, it mostly resembles ballroom tango, as does the music. At a minimum, the majority of the population can dance Viennese Waltz (they learn to do so in school) and in general they can all dance tango as well. At its most basic form, Finnish Tango involves moving to the music and not much more.
When Argentine Tango is danced in Finland, it is completely separate of Finnish Tango. Not unlike many other Argentine Tango communities outside of Buenos Aires, Finland has a small A.T. community that dances to Argentine Tango music. If someone wants to learn A.T., they go to classes specifically for A.T.
For a taste of the (rather depressing) sounds of typical Finnish tango music, take a listen to Mikko Kilkkinen, the Tango King winner of the 2002 Seinäjoki Tango Festival:
As further proof that Finnish tango, the dance, has more in common with ballroom tango, we can let you in on another dirty secret of ours. We were actually in one of Mikko’s music videos with another young ballroom couple. The four of us danced our ballroom tango choreography to his song.
Finally, you can watch this video of a couple dancing Finnish Tango:
This is a much more elaborate version of the dance and you will rarely see the general public dance it this way. Therefore it should be pointed out that this couple used to dance International Competitive Ballroom and probably still teach it. In fact, they used to teach Jorge when he was a child!