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Milonguero Ochos into the Follower's Molinete

Lazy Ochos into The Follower’s Molinete. This is an odd transition to be certain. It mixes two very different types of tango styles or ideas into one way of dancing. Typically the ‘Lazy’ or Milonguero Style Ocho is done in Milonguero style of dancing, that means that the Lead is not leading the Follower’s hips to rotate at all, ever. And then, all of a sudden, and it is all of a sudden, we ask (note the language here…’ask’) the Follower to engage their Molinete. Not a Milonguero Turn, but a Close Embrace Molinete. Talk about confusing! Oy. So let’s get into L/leading and Following Milonguero 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, the thing that’s going to throw you is the sharp transition between these two ideas. First you’re doing one thing where you’re not transitioning your hips and then the next you are. Crazy! The only precedent for this stuff is the inconsistent lead that gets half way through leading something and then changes their mind abruptly taking you along with them for the ride, and that abruptness is usually unpleasant. Only in this case, it’s not unpleasant, when led properly. It’s just a little jarring. Ok, more than a little jarring. Especially if you’re used to dancing ‘milonguero’ style, and then you’re being asked to do a close embrace molinete.

To be clear, a good portion of your leads, say 90% of them are going to enable your defaults, and not be aware that there even other options here. And really, up until this moment in time, you didn’t realize that there was a different kind of ocho (there are 8 in fact). You’re just used to the one kind, traveling ochos, the ones where you’re supposed to ‘swivel’ your hips. That ‘swivel’ isn’t a swivel, it’s applied disassociation. But that’s a topic that has been discussed ad nauseum, I only mention it here to illuminate that there are other forces at work that you want to consider. I digress. Most of your leads will be unaware, as you are, that there are other options. Further, the ones that do know that there are other options tend to squeeze the living daylights out of the Follower and thereby not allow the applied disassociation in the Molinete. The want the Molinete but they don’t want to allow you the movement of your body that they’re asking for. It’s nearly impossible. Oy.

The thing that you absolutely need to be aware of is that these are LAZY ochos first and foremost. Why ? Because the Lead that actually knows what they’re doing will end up having to drop beats to accommodate your default behavior of TRAVELING ochos (applied disassociation), and thereby possibly have to make changes to their line of dance, what will come next, and end up having to modify the dance as a whole because you’re responding with the wrong damned ocho! Listen carefully for the difference in the lead. Truthfully, again, only 10% of your leads will lead these but they’re absolutely delish when they’re led.

From a Leading Perspective, you need to be crystal clear in what you’re leading. Absolutely crystal clear. Rotate your chest even 2 degrees to the left or to the right and you’ll get TRAVELING ochos out of the Follower. For the LAZY ocho you must remain still! At the same time, you must allow the Follower space to move within the construct of the embrace. That said, the biggest issue here is the 3rd LAZY ocho prior to the Follower’s Molinete. This is all about allowing the Follower the space to move, and then you actually leading the over-rotation. Failure to do this, and the Follower ends up in your arm pit, and then they fee like they’re rushing around behind you never able to catch up. Part of the issue here is that you must ‘mark’ and match their rotation with yours. Remember that you’re the inside of the circle, and the Follower is the outside of the circle. For you, every degree that you turn, it’s 10 for them! Just a lot more work for them, especially on the over-rotated backstep!

Truthfully as was stated above, this transition isn’t mixed and matched all that often because you’re so used to leading (and really the Follower just responding with) TRAVELING ochos, that you don’t even think about it. However, the major problem with TRAVELING ochos is that you end up having to either drop a beat or having to rush the ochos to match the beat. It’s harder work for the Follower to do this. Their ochos have to become very tight, and very small, almost milonga style ochos…almost.

The question may come up, “why employ/use this transition at all ?”. The reason is really simple. It’s the fact that Lazy Ochos are all about hitting the beat, every beat, and they’re great for that. That’s it right there. Traveling ochos, you end up having to drop beats. So instead of every beat, it’s every other beat. Which can be kinda fun for a while…but gets kind of old later on, and typically doesn’t go with the music. Typically.

From a Dancing Perspective, quite honestly you’re going to go and do what you’ve been doing forever, which is traveling ochos into the Follower’s Molinete, and just think that this is easier. It’s not easier, it’s just what you’re used to doing. This idea, and this construct requires clarity and an amped up listening and execution skills and quite honestly it a lot more fun for a variety of reasons. Most notably among those reasons is the fact that not the fact that it’s unusual, or that you’re hitting every beat whenever you want to, nooooo! The fun part ? The precision. Believe it or not the precision part is what will give you an enormous amount of satisfaction to be able to execute X,Y, and Z on demand. And being able to hit either Traveling OR in this case, LAZY ochos as you see fit (from a leading or following perspective). That’s the fun part. Precision.

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About The Video. This video is 12:37 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 🙂

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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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