Ocho Cortado Options

Ocho Cortado. The word ‘cortado’ translates into English as ‘cut’ or cutted (which isn’t a word) or an Ocho that is Cut. In today’s version of the modern Ocho Cortado it rarely resembles its ocho variations or ocho roots. It’s no wonder when people say the words for the first few times they get a little confused and can’t see the embedded ocho properties that are sitting there. When we think of ochos, we tend to only think of BACK (Traveling) Ochos, not their forward variety which is where the confusion comes from. Further still it’s the interruption that of the ocho (hence the ‘cut’ part) that people don’t see which creates more confusion. Today’s Tango Topic takes the idea of Ocho Cortado and adds a few nuances to it that you wouldn’t ordinarily think of or consider, this particular variety of the Ocho Cortado are considered variations on a theme, or ‘Options’. Think of these ideas as what you can do with the Cortado before, during, and, after you execute one. This is nuance vocabulary, variance vocabulary. Ideas to give you a starting point to expand on and to play with. Hence today’s topic, Ocho Cortado ‘Options’.

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From A Following Perspective, the fact is that while you may believe that you have absolutely ZERO control over the execution of an Ocho Cortado, you’d be very, very, very wrong. You, in the role of the Follower, have an inordinate amount of control. Specifically in how and where you cross your feet. How and where your side step goes. How and where your forward step goes. All 3 of those steps have variances built into them, and those variances give you far greater control than you might realize. Just a few millimeters this way or that way is a difference between a lead choosing to go one way, or choosing to go another simply because you’re ‘not’ in the right position for them to execute their next idea. As a result they have to think quickly and come up with something else, or more to the point they have to Follow where you’ve gone! Some might consider this to be highway robbery and inciting the Follower to not be cooperative. Some might say that the polar opposite is true, where we’re creating an egalitarian dance of equals. While the latter in the real world is a pipe dream for a variety of reasons, the former is the hard cold fact – that’s how most Lead’s see the Follower having any initiative. Sadly. Regardless of which side you come down on the fact remains if they may lead it, ultimately YOU, as the Follower, have a choice in how and where you Follow it! That’s power right there dear reader! That said, there are two options that you can start doing today that add nuance to the Ocho Cortado: 1.) Decorate the 3 steps outlined on either side, either as the step begins or ends. But there is a caveat -> it must be in time to the music. If there’s no accent note, then there shouldn’t be a decoration. If there’s no musical flourish, then no decorations. If there’s no musical counter point, then no decoration. You can not just willy nilly throw in decorations because they look pretty. No. You must decorate with purpose! The purpose is that if it’s in the music, then there is a decoration! 2.) Go here. Watch that, and then set about to doing it, religiously.

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From a Leading Perspective, full disclosure here – there are two options that are not covered specifically or shown in this video: The first is the Cortado Wrap - Meaning a Cortado that turns into a wrap as either the entry or the exit from the Cortado. The second is the Multiple Cortado, meaning multiple Ocho Cortados. For those items you must see their respective videos on Wraps and Ocho Cortado. There is one thing about the Cortado that does come up quite frequently and it’s here as a reminder more than anything else that you as a Lead must be aware of, and to start to adjust for. What is that ? As the Follower takes their side step they’re going to end up in your arm pit and then stay there as they cross their feet. The key is to not to allow that to happen and to quite literally adjust the Follower’s body position so that they don’t end up there. And by ‘adjust’ that does not mean to use your arms and to force the Follower into position. No. We’re talking about 2 millimeters to the left (not to the right) that would make the Cortado comfortable for the both roles and more important than that, no body contortion is required. Far too often when performing these things (like an Ocho Cortado) you end up contorting your body to do X, Y, and Z. And while you may not realize that you are in a state of contortion, you are contorted, and you’re making the Follower contort even more! The contortion is the result of you not understanding how X, Y, and Z is also due to the poor application of your underlaying technique. So as wonderful as it is to have options and cool entrances and exits, it far more important than you work on your foundation. Specifically your walk must be stable, clear, steady. Your embrace should be effortless everywhere, specifically in turns where you don’t need to hold onto or more importantly squeeze your Follower with your forearm and/or your hand in order to stabilize yourself or to execute or indicate a leading element.



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From a Dancing Perspective, the Ocho Cortado happens. Sometimes it happens with great frequency, and sometimes not. However what is true is that with a little bit of variation here and there, the same ole - same ole can be be very very nice and welcomed addition. And that’s primarily what this video is all about - providing different entrances and exits, nuances to how to engage the Ocho Cortado for a series of commonly used pieces of vocabulary and some not so common and a few new ideas that you probably haven’t seen before. There is one aspect to the Cortado that is generally not talked about, and that’s the fact that it really is close embrace vocabulary for tight, small spaces. It’s compact enough that it can be executed on a dime without a whole lot of movement. This is aspect is shown in the video Preparing for Buenos Aires. Which is really dancing in small spaces. And the Ocho Cortado is perfect for that. These Options that are shown here display a few more nuances that can be added to dancing in small or compact way.

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