Traveling Ochos into The Follower's Molinete

Traveling Ochos are probably the 3rd most used piece of tango vocabulary right behind Collection and the Argentine Cross. First a bit of clarity as to what a ’Traveling’ Ocho is and is not. A ‘Traveling’ Ocho is an ‘Ocho’ that goes down the line of dance. As shown below:

It is one of 8 Ocho types that we use quite frequently, and it is the one that most people think of when you say the word. However, there are others, just so you know! Moving on. What is it not ? It’s not a Lazy Ocho (sometimes rightfully referred to as a ‘Milonguero’ Ocho), nor a Circular Ocho, nor a Linear (just to name a few). No this Ocho, is the venerable one that most Followers are forced to do on day one of Following regardless of whether or not they have been properly trained to do them or not. Usually it’s more the ‘not’ variety than anything else. Why are we talking about ochos ? Because this particular variety of Ocho is so venerable that we use it for nearly every kind of transition there is. It is for this reason that today’s topic is not really about the Ocho itself, but about the Transition between one piece of vocabulary and the next, or Ocho Transitions Part 2 - Traveling Ochos into the Follower’s Molinete!

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From a Following Perspective, you have your work cut out for you in this one. The fact is that a good portion of your Leads (the person, not the action) are going to squeeze (compression) the living daylights out of you in Traveling Ochos making it damned near impossible for you to invoke any level of actual disassociation and applied disassociation (what you think, erroneously, as a ‘pivot’). And because the lead is squeezing you, and your default behavior (and their’s by the way) of staying in the armpit, you’ve got problems. Now when we actually get to your turn, you’re quite literally running behind your lead to catch up. And unless you do something you’re going to

a.) Feel like you missed something (you didn’t by the way - see “the lazy man’s turn” below). and
b.) making it impossible for you to do anything other than hold on for dear life. And god help you if the lead (the action, not the person) is going fast! You’re done!

And yet this transition between Traveling Ochos, and your Follower’s Molinete is used so often and by so many leads, you keep wondering is it you ? It must be you. Something’s not working. You’re right that something isn’t working but mostly it’s not you. It’s the lead. To be fair and not to L/lead bash here, you do have issues going on. If you’re not stable, and if your applied disassociation isn’t clear, and if you’re crossing your body meridian on your back steps, or if you’re using your Lead for stabilization, and/or needing to be pushed around the floor, or pulled around the floor, and/or pushed and pulled into and out of disassociation and then applied disassociation then you have issues that are not related to Lead at all and they need to be addressed ASAP!

From a Leading Perspective, put simply, you’re going to use this a lot and probably don’t realize that you’re using it right now in your dance. This is such a venerable transition that one hardly wonders about it anymore. And there's a reason why it's used so much it's because both pieces of the assembled vocabulary are used so ubiquitously. It’s almost as overused as the Argentine Cross is. However, the issue on the table is not that it’s used, it’s how it’s used or more importantly what happens within the transition itself. To be clear, a good number of Leads (the person, not the action) employ the Lazy Man’s Turn which was detailed in Truism 1159 and 1185 of Volume 3 of Tango Truisms.


Neither one of the videos above clearly detail this issue sufficiently for my taste, because it only shows the problem from a static position, and furthermore where it happens and/or how to resolve it. The Ocho Transition Series shows those solutions. There is one thing here that is absolutely key to making this transition function properly. And it has everything to do with the relationship of the couple, and your job as a Lead. Part of the key has to do with the fact that you are the center of the circle, and that you can not move from that center point. You must be like a rock, and not move, not tilt, not waiver in any way, shape or form. Failure to do this and quite literally your transitions will fail. Still another toy is that leading the closed side ochos you must in fact do something that feels all wrong but is absolutely required of you. And the reason it feels all wrong is a.) because you’re just not familiar with it. and b.) you’ve forgotten about it. Your teachers (assuming they had their collective shit together) did show you this tiny little toy but you seem to have forgotten it. And what’s the toy ? Going with the Follower’s motion! There are a few other toys that you need to remind yourself of but those will do for starters.

see parts 1 & 3 of the series

see part 1 of the series


see part 3 of the series

From a Dancing Perspective, this particular Ocho Transition is never discussed, never shown, and almost never taught properly for a variety of reasons, but mostly because it’s boring as the day is long! It’s not sexy. It’s functional. The functional stuff never gets people into classes and workshops. It’s the flashy stuff that you respond to. Yet it’s this stuff that is quite literally the glue that holds the dance together. This transition in specific is what makes tango work. Get it right and you get to move on to the next thing. Get it wrong…and well, you’re going to be apologizing a lot. The fact of the matter is that both roles have a responsibility here and that’s to work on their foundation, and smooth out the issues that are causing problems in their dance, and yet that’s not what happens. You contort, cut short, compress, squeeze, push, and pull to make things fit and work within the construct of the embrace and the dance. And that is precisely what you can not do especially here with this transition. You must do so much with this transition that relies on default behaviors to allow both partners to do their jobs without compromising the rotation, without comprising their foundations, without the use of force, while allowing body position and body placement to happen and to make it happen when it doesn’t come out exactly right.

About The Video. This video is 23:52 in length in 1 section.

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 Watch It On Youtube ? Why should you pay for this video, or subscribe to this website when stuff like this is available on Youtube ? Because what you'll find on Youtube doesn't explain and walk you through the how a Ocho Transition works! That’s why! 

So, please, go right ahead, go watch all the presentation videos on youtube all you want. Because that's what they are 'Presentation' videos. The couple's that you're used to seeing are performing for the 15th row for a room full of people, they're not social dancing. Whereas this website is all about 'Social Dancing'. So please, go spend your time, trying to infer, and figure out how things may work in that situation. Bend your body this way or that, twist and force this position or that. Place your foot here or there and figure it out.  Which can be a lot of fun, but more than likely it won't help you, because you're missing something: The explanation from an experienced teacher! (ahem) ME!  The goal of youtube videos is to entice you to go study with those teachers in person. The goal of these videos is allow you to work at your own pace, in the comfort of your own space, so that you can play them over and over again to improve your understanding of the vocabulary or technique being described to therefore better your dancing experience. The goal of classes and workshops is to get you to come back over and over and over again, thereby spending more money with that teacher. This website and the videos under it are here to act as a resource for you to help you to improve your dance. Pay once and be done with it. 😉

Eventually, one way or another you’re going to pay for this lesson, either here and now, or with them. TANSTAAFL! The difference between that lesson and this ? Is that you get to play this lesson over and over and over again. Further still, there are supporting materials (other videos) that help to explain the language and the underlying technique.

In an hour long class, with the blind leading the blind through rotation of partners (uuuggggh!), you may glean a piece of the information you need and not get the whole thing, and you’ll miss important pieces that you’ll end up having to take a private lesson for to get the finer points. This way, you can watch over and over again, and get all the supplementary materials, and if you want you can still go take the class, only you’ll be better prepared to do so!

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