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Milonguero Ochos into Milonguero Turns

There are 8 types of Ochos, but only 2 of them are used routinely to lead into other things. The 2 types ? “Lazy” or Milonguero Style Ochos, and Traveling Ochos, what you folks think of as an ‘Ocho’. Traveling Ochos ? You know the one where you’re supposed to lead Disassociation and you frequently don’t especially on the closed side of the embrace (tsk, tsk, tsk), and where the Follower infers that led Disassociation and fills in the gap and starts Applying Disassociation all over (what you erroneously think of as a ‘pivot’) ? That ocho ? Yes. Frequently these two types of ochos are used as transitions into other pieces of tango vocabulary without a stop or a pause. There is a natural flow in a good number of these transitions and one of them is from the Lazy Ocho into the Milonguero Turn. They align themselves rather nicely. However with the alignment of these things, and the frequency with which you see these things, you would think that there would be more classes on this stuff. But sadly there isn’t. A good portion of the time, you’re taught the under lining vocabulary technique and then shown for 2 minutes near the end of the class where this stuff could (operative word in the sentence, ‘could’) fit. It is for this reason that this topic and the resulting video exists: Ocho Transitions – Milonguero Ochos into Milonguero Turns!

What is an Ocho Transition ? It is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a transition between a commonly used type of Ocho into another commonly used piece of vocabulary. There are 4 types of Ocho Transitions that rely on 2 of the more common types of Ochos. Milonguero Ochos, which are sometimes referred to as “Lazy” Ochos because the hips of the Follower do not rotate. This type of Ocho is absolutely perfect for dancing in a small space, and requires very little effort to lead and very little effort to follow, hence the reason why they’re called “Lazy” Ochos. The second commonly used type of Ocho is the one that everyone is familiar with, these are called “Traveling Ochos” because they do exactly what they say they do, they “Travel” down the line of dance! A Lead will typically engage one or sometimes both of these types of Ochos as a way to transition into another type of vocabulary, usually as a way to lead upto one of the Eight types of turns that are used in Argentine Tango.

What is a Milonguero Ocho to Milonguero TurnIt’s quite possibly the single most used transition the Tango world, for those that are Dancing In A Small Space (DIASS). This transition employs the Follower’s natural diagonal backstep (which is the Lazy Ocho part) and uses that as the opening step for the Milonguero Turn to be engaged!

Pre-Requisites: So that we’re all clear on this part, note the difficulty rating below, it is not an exaggeration! You would think this is just walking and turning. That would be a mistake. 1.) You must have mastered your walk first and foremost to the point where you are not using your partner (either lead or follow) for stabilization. 2.) You must be familiar with the Milonguero Ocho from a Leading perspective as well as from a Following perspective. 3.) You also must have mastered the Milonguero Turn from both sides of the embrace. While this transition is a natural extension of both ideas put together it’s important that you have them both clearly in your mind before you attempt to put them together. The reason this video exists is to clean up the issues of the transition itself so that you don’t run into the common problems that most people do when they put these things together. 

Difficulty Rating:  (3 / 5)

From a Following Perspective, your job here is 3 fold.

1.) Stay in front of your Lead (the person, not the action).
2.) Follow the Milonguero Ocho without turning your hips (which would be ‘Traveling’ Ochos which are not the same things). 
3.) Try to make the back step of the Milonguero Turn as clean as you possibly can. “Clean” in this case, is making certain that the back cross is tight and sharp and not muddy where there is distance between the feet. 

That’s it really.  Sounds easier said, than actually done, as you’ll see. Those 3 things can literally drive you mad for a variety of reasons.

a.) Your Lead (person, not action) isn’t clear about the type of ocho that is possible or that they can lead (action, not person).
b.) You’re not clear on the difference in types of ochos, most notably because your teachers only had one ocho in their heads and that was what you got. There are more. You just have to learn to listen to other ideas.
c.) Staying in front of your Lead is a bit of a challenge especially when they have this rampant desire to place YOU in THEIR armpit … better known as the Arm Pit Dancer. 

Now add to that you’ve got the Lead that uses compression (‘squeeze’), asks for resistance, tension, and force…and on top of all of that, talks to you while you’re dancing. Singing is fine (most of them don’t thankfully), they yap in your ear while you’re trying to concentrate….oy! Add to that, that you’ve closed your eyes to ‘listen’ more clearly (bad idea – umm equilibrium kiddies).

Add it all up and it’s no wonder that you walk back to your chair having wished you had sat there instead and said ‘No!’.

From a Leading Perspective, a good portion of the time you’re not clear about Ochos anyway, and you allow your Follower to just ‘Ocho’ (Traveling) to rotate their hips and ‘pivot’ (not) and then have to deal with wherever they go with that. And then as a result of you not being clear with them and then the Follower having to infer what it is that you meant because you weren’t clear, you end up having to employ force, resistance, tension, and compression to stop them to from over doing things, and then you have to manage the Follower…all because you weren’t clear to begin with! However, let’s back up and try to imagine what would happen if you were clear in your lead. What do you think would happen to the Follower ? Well for one, they wouldn’t have to work so hard. Two ? They’d relax a lot more than they do now. And Three ? You’d get a lot more dances than you do now. Simply because your lead is clear without force, tension, compression, or resistance! Now we add in this very simple transition point from the Lazy Ocho which is nothing more than a ‘dirty’ crossing back step into the milonguero turn. Truthfully because the turn itself is really simple and the opening step of the turn is a back cross, the rest of this is really, really simple. So what would happen ? Bliss is what happens. Less work for both of you, so that you can focus on the music and navigation and how to make the dance more pleasurable than it is today. Now we add one more component…the transition step between the two. Following some very basic guidelines that can help you to stay with your partner and that’s really the key…staying with your partner. Note this is not ‘leading’ your partner, but rather staying with them. And there’s a good reason for that. Because as a Lead you have to learn to listen for what you’ve led! A good portion of Leads do not do this. And they rightfully should but don’t. They tend to rush from one piece of vocabulary to the next.

From a Dancing Perspective, the Ocho Transition is not discussed, nor is it detailed by a lot of teachers. That’s not to say that it isn’t…it’s just not the sexiest thing on the planet that draws your attention. It’s that simple. It’s not sexy. It’s functional! And yet it is precisely this functional stuff that that you absolutely need to do so that your dance becomes fluid, clean, clear, and consistent! And yet, you spend most of your time in classes that don’t really help you out all that much learning new vocabulary instead of focusing on the simple things. It is only through the refinement of the simple things that your dance will change. Adding more vocabulary is NOT the answer….cleaning up what you have already, restructuring it. That’s the key!

this video can be purchased through the tango topics store 🙂

About The Video. This video is 22:40 in length in 4 Sections. Both Lead and Follow technique is co-combined. 

Section 1 – Reminder Technique (Milonguero Ochos & Milonguero Turns) – 00:07:02
Section 2 – The Transition Point – 00:07:17
Section 3 – Review – 00:01:13
Section 4 – An Important Detail/End – 00:03:34

this video can be purchased through the tango topics store 🙂

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Remember that what you’re seeing is a couple that is performing for the 15th row for a room full of people, they’re not social dancing. Whereas this website is all about ‘Social Dancing’  or how to make things function on a social dance floor. Social Dance floor ? Your local milonga! They’re showing flashy moves as a presentation! But not stopping and talking about how this works, why you’d want to put that piece of voabulary there, or how to make things fit. These website is all about those things and more!

You could watch those videos and thereby spend your time, trying to infer, and figure out how things may work in that particular 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. This is known as Tango Twister.  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 showing you how to properly excute this stuff from a Leading Perpective as well as from a Following perspective!

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