Hanna-Maija Pääkkönen – Dancer, teacher, creative director

Hanna-Maija Pääkkönen is a professional dancer specialized in Caribbean dances. She has a long dance education since  she was 3 years old, featuring studies in classical ballet, lyrical jazz, contemporary dance and show dance.  She came in contact with Latin American dances already in her childhood, when living in Nicaragua where she studied local folkloric dances. During her high school years she travelled to Dominican Republic (1999-2000) to study merengue and bachata. After returning to Finland she studied afrocuban dances with several Cuban professionals such as Ramon Silverio (Conjunto Folklórico Santiago de Cuba) and Chiqui Dixon (Conjunto Folklórico Nacional de Cuba) around Europe. During her studies she worked as a teacher trainee in Dance School Salsa de Cuba, where she later on also reached for several years.

Hanna-Maija has worked as a full time dance teacher since 2002. She continues to educate herself, and makes several study trips every year to Latin America and Europe. She is known as an inspiring teacher, whose passion for dance is evident. Many of her former students now work as professionals. Her dance style is a mixture of soft feminine movements, a graceful quality of moves originating in her classical background, and explosive energy. Hanna-Maija specializes especially on Reggaeton, Ladies’ style salsa On1 and On2 and Cuban rumba.




As a dance teacher:

2010 – present                   Owner & Creative director of Studio Tambor

2002- present                    UniSport, Helsinki, weekly classes

2002 – 2012                       Dance school Salsa de Cuba, Helsinki, weekly classes

2005                                    Saimaa Bailaa Festival, salsa workshops

2005                                    Faces-etnofestival, salsa workshops for children

2007                                    Salsa de Cuba –festival, merengue, bachata, salsa and casino workshops

2008- 2013                  Dance.fi, Helsinki, weekly classes

2009- 2013                  Taidetehtaantanssikoulu, Porvoo,  weekly classes

2010                                    Fresca 2010, Helsinki Salsa Festival, Casino beginner’s workshop, Rueda de casino beginner’s workshop and Casino Master Class with Matias Löyttyniemi

2012                                    Salsa Ladies Style Workshops in co-operation with Cultura Salsera, Managua, Nicaragua

2012                                     Rumba teaching session, TV-programme “Muevelo”, Nicaragua

In addition she has thought private courses and classes, thought at salsa festivals in Finland and held several fully booked workshops. She has also been accepted as a professional member of the Union of Finnish Dance Artists (STTL ry) since 2005.


As a performing artist:

1993-1999     Several show dance performances in different line-ups

2000-2001     Dance group AfroSalsaViva, several performances around Finland

2001                Danza Afrocubana II dance theater performance, Savoy-theater, Helsinki

2002-2007     Dance group Salsa de Cuba, several performances around Finland

2003               Helsinki Bailaa Festival, the opening number

2005               MediCubaFinland- event, Helsinki

2005               Saimaa Bailaa Festival

2005               Faces-etnofestival, with Orquesta Silverio Mi Son

2006               MediCubaFinland- event, Helsinki, soloist

2007               Fantacia Cubana, dance theater performance, Cultural Arena Gloria, Helsinki, soloist

2009              URB-festival, Helsinki Modern Arts Museum, Kiasma-theater, with Dance.fi Rockers

2009 –  2011          Dance group La Nieve Fresca

2010              Ourvision- dance contest, Savoy-theater, finalist with La Nieve Fresca

2010              Show of the Year, Cultural House, Helsinki, duo with Antopio Tateishi

2010              Fresca 2010, Helsinki Salsa Festival, Cuban rumba show with Matias Löyttyniemi

2011              La Fresquita Micro Salsa Festival, Helsinki, Cuban rumba show with Matias Löyttyniemi

2011              Café de la Música- event, Cultural Arena Gloria, Helsinki, Salsa & Hip Hop fusion show with Antopio Tateishi

2011              Fresca 2011, Helsinki Latin Festival, Valkoinen sali, Helsinki, Salsa&Rumba show with Matias Löyttyniemi

2012              TV-performance in Canal 4, Nicaragua

2013-2017    Several solos and event performances

In addition Hanna-Maija has performed in several other events and shows, TV-programms and comercials.


As a choreographer:

2008-2010     Dance group Salsa de Cuba

2009              URB-festival, Helsinki Modern Arts Museum, Kiasma-theater

2011 –  2013          Fresca Showteam

2011- present  Grupo Tambor, Reggaeton EK, La Rakata


Academic education:

2009              Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), University of Helsinki, Latin American Studies

2011              Master of Arts (M.A.) University of Helsinki, Latin American Studies

Hanna-Maija is currently carrying out specializing studies on dance pedagogy and PhD studies on Latin American Studies.