Traveling Ochos into The Follower's Molinete
For most people you say the word “Ocho” and only one thing comes to mind. Ummm there are Eight types of Ochos actually. However in Today’s Tango Topic, we deal with that singular type of Ocho and then we tack something on the end to it that makes it more than just a traveling item but a transitional element. The thing that we tack onto the end ? The very venerable and well used singular turn that most people think of when then think of a turn in Argentine Tango: The Follower’s Molinete to the Lead’s Giro. That turn. These two pieces of vocabulary, by themselves, form the backbone of the 7 Basic Moves of Argentine Tango. However, when you put them together, they co-create a well worn pattern that is, unfortunately overused, without any variation, or for that matter distinction! These are amazingly powerful pieces of vocabulary that when executed properly can create such a distinction in our dance that it frequently goes overlooked. Distinction ? Most people lead and follow these ideas the same way each and every time. The distinction comes in how they’re applied to the music! They could be led slowly, the could be adorned, they could be over executed! All of these are possibilities, and yet they’re the same, each and every time. You could quite literally set your watch by them. In Today’s Tango Topic we look at co-combining them so that they work flawlessly each and every time. In this episode of ‘dancing tango better’ (hahahahha) we show you a way to execute these singular pieces of vocabulary so that in the transition state between them, there is no hesitation, no hiccup, no…ummmmm what was that ? 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!
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 Traveling Ocho is where the hips of the Follower do rotate. 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 Traveling Ocho to Follower’s Molinete Turn ? It’s quite possibly the single most used transition the Tango world, for those that are Dancing with a Lot of Space. This transition employs the Follower’s taught Ocho technique (applied disassociation) to open into their led Molinete! 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:
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 Traveling Ocho from a Leading perspective as well as from a Following perspective. 3.) You must have mastered Applied Disassociation. This is not a Pivot! And anyone that tells you differently is taking the easy way out. Applied Disassociation is much harder to do but soooo worth it in the end for a variety of reasons, most notably due to its controlled elegance! 4.) You also must have mastered the Follower’s Molinete 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, 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.
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. Lead and Follow technique is co-combined.
The funny (strange, not ‘ha-ha’) thing about this Ocho Transition Series is that it is used more often than you would think. So learning both techniques and tools will help you in the long run as you can use both pieces of vocabulary almost anywhere. From a Following perspective, you’re going to make the mistake of believing that this is all about the Lead. And that’s not the case here. You really do want to understand the Milonguero Turn for you, because the question will come up as it always does, when would I do engage one turn over the other ? And who’s actually leading the turn, the Lead or the Follower ? And the answer is a little bit of both in today’s Tango world.
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