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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 2Traveling 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 TurnIt’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:

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.

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.

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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.


this video can be purchased through the tango topics store 🙂

The Missing Information. Dearest Reader. TangoTopics is glad that you are reading this topic in the hopes that it may get you to question and to dig a little deeper into your foundation, into the music, into the codigos of the dance. However, this topic only scratches the surface. Because you’re only seeing half of the information. You really do need to see all of it. If you had registered or ponied up the kingly sum of $7.95 for your first week, then you’d either see a free tip here, or if you’re a paying subscriber you’d see some detailed notes about the video that were either left out of the video or were an afterthought to the video after it was shot! However, because you haven’t gone and registered at least, you’re missing some helpful information that could give you a tip to making your dance a better experience for you and your partners!

Why should you subscribe for access ?  Several reasons. 1.) Even if you’re a Free User, you’ll get access to free tips that aren’t available to anyone just reading the post like this one. 2.) Sometimes there are slightly different versions of the videos, that add a bit more content for the free user vs. an unregistered user. 3.) And real reason you should subscribe ? If you’re used to YouTube videos where you’ll see a performance, those Youtube videos don’t explain or walk you through how these ideas work! That is why! What you’re seeing is a presentation, a performance. Not how things work! And what you really need to see is how things work, and more importantly why they work! This website shows you that and more! 

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!

The goal of YouTube videos is to get you to study with those teachers in person. The goal of Tango Topics 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 you’re done.

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 of how and why things work, so you can easily reference those things in the corresponding articles that go with the material, and or any language in the Tango Topics Dictionary. 

– The Last Word –

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