Tango Topics | Exploring Your Dance

Open post

The Rock Step Ocho Cortado

If you were logged in, you’d see the Premium version of this Tango Topic!

The Vocabulary That You See Constantly!

There are Eight Turns in Argentine Tango that Tango Topics has identified as Commonly used or Social Turns. There are a few others that are outside of the common eight but for the most part, accept in this moment that there are eight.

Just in case you were curious, the Eight Common Turns are in no particular order: 1.) The Follower’s Molinete/Lead’s Giro. 2.) Milonguero Turn. 3.) Rock Step. 4.) Ocho Cortado (Linear & Circular). 5.) Calesitas. 6.) Media Luna Turns.  7.) Colgada Turns. 8.) Anti-Molinete.

Today’s Tango Topic deals with two of those common eight turns and combines them into one movement so that they actually turn down the line of dance. This is an unusual vocabulary for Tango Topics to display because it is one of the very few figures that we teach/show to our Intensive Level Students (in Level 2 & 3) in the combined version that you’re seeing it here. We typically teach these as separate elements and leave it to the student, later on in their level 2 development of solving Tango Problems, to put them together as a possible solution set.

Some things to keep in mind:

In order for a Rock Step, by itself, to function as a turning element a.) there must be multiples of them, and b.) they must ‘curve’ OR there must be a resolution of some sort from one to the next element. 

In order for a Linear Ocho Cortado to be used as a turning element, the step prior to the crossing element must be rotated by the Lead, and/or the Follower’s side step must be curved or rotated slightly.

In either case, these pieces of venerable tango vocabulary are at best ‘quarter turn’ vocabulary. Meaning that they’ll only turn about 90 to 120 degrees under optimal conditions. However, combining these two turns increases the rotational from 90 to about 150 to a potential 180 degrees, under optimal conditions.

If all of that seems very technical for you, think of it this way: By themselves, they’re smaller, individual turns or rotationals. Together they have a bigger and better turning radius. Further still, it’s a kind of cool combined turn to do.

Today we’re going to explore this combination, so without further yapping, Tango Topics presents: The Rock Step & Linear Ocho Cortado!

What Is A Rock Step & Linear Ocho Cortado ? First we have to be very clear, if it wasn’t clear above that these are two very different pieces of vocabulary. Very different. And they’re frequently commingled due to the fact that the opening step of the Linear Ocho Cortado (not the Circular Ocho Cortado) looks very similar to a Parallel System Rock Step without the Resolution. Secondly, we need to be clear about the difference between a Rock Step and that opening step of the Linear Ocho Cortado, which is called a ‘Check Step’.

A Rock Step, put simply, is a step where the Follower is led to stepping backwards, engaging a weight change, and then led to a rebote (rebound) into a forward step that may, as an option, resolve into another step. Usually a side or forward step. These steps can be done in Parallel System (meaning opposite feet – lead left to follower right, and lead right to follower left) or Cross System (meaning same feet – lead left to follower left, and lead right to follower right). The most common of the Rock Steps is a Parallel System Rock Step that starts with the Lead left/Follower Right and does not engage a Resolution, but rather curves a bit, about 45 degrees. Further, and lastly, it should be very clearly noted that while the language above is quite ‘passive’ as to what the Follower is being ‘led’ to do, the Follower is by no means a rag doll here or what Tango Topics calls a ‘dead fish’ in the Lead’s arms. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Nor should they be. They can, and should, when engaging in any of the 8 possible Rock Steps, own them completely and step into them with gusto!

A Linear Ocho Cortado, is an North American construct, at best. Why this idea is more prevalent in the United States and Canada is beyond Tango Topics but it is. In this version of the Ocho Cortado, the Follower is led to a Check Step, then a forward step across their Lead’s body, then a side step, and then led back to a crossing step (more on this later). It should be noted that the Follower does have some level of choice in this particular piece of vocabulary. Not just in where they step, but how the cross is executed, more on this particular element in a bit.

Ok, so now that we’ve defined what these things are, we need to combine them, and in doing so, we create a much more dynamic, and not to mention but we will anyway, a far more useful social turn than the turns are by themselves! This is the Rock Step & Linear Ocho Cortado vocabulary.

Difficulty Rating:  (3 / 5)

From a Following Perspective, for you, the Rock Step & Linear Ocho Cortado has seemingly taken away all your choices, and you are nothing but a rag doll or the Lead’s plaything. You have no control over what you’re being led to do. Ummmm….not! The reality is, and you really do need to get used to this idea – it has a very powerful effect on your dance once you embrace it, that you have an enormous amount of control over what’s being done to you and with you by means of how you execute something.

Let’s be clear about something here, this is not taking control away from your Lead. It is more influencing the Lead more than anything else. Possibly to limit their options into doing something else or to increase their options to make different choices than the standard ones. This line of reasoning assumes that a.) You know what those options could be. b.) You have mastered your foundation enough to be diligent to even attempt it. c.) You have an exit plan for what you’re influencing. and d.) That what you’re influencing is appropriate for the music, always! As many first Tango Teachers have said, “If it ain’t in the music, it ain’t on the floor!”.

Why are we yapping about what amounts to an “Active Follower” ? Because these pieces of individual vocabulary by themselves are the epitome of Active Following, that’s why! Both the Rock Step (and really the Rebote component) the Linear Ocho Cortado really do require the Follower to step up (no pun intended) into their roles and be very active and energetic participants in what’s happening to them and with them. Which is not to imply that the normal state of the Follower is anything but that. However, to be a bit clearer, the Follower can make a choice, for any number of reasons, not to fully engage their L/lead or the vocabulary that they’re being led towards. Meaning ? The Follower’s feet hurt, the Lead is being far too compressive with their embrace, the Lead’s breath is atrocious, the Lead is too sweaty, the Lead is being far too forceful and manhandling the Follower, the Lead is talking in their ear, the Lead’s navigational skills are less than desirable (they’re bumping into other couples, chairs, and tables), the Lead couldn’t find the beat of the music to save their proverbial lives, the Lead is forcing the Follower out of their own stability continually, and a host of other things that prevent the Follower from doing their best or engaging fully.

We could go into excruciating detail into both of these pieces of vocabulary for the Follower, however, that’s already been done in their respective articles and videos. So please, for the love of Gardel, go look at The Argentine Rock Step and the Linear Ocho Cortado in your Tango Topics library, and if you’re not a subscriber yet, then now is a good time to do just that. Registration is free by the way, subscribing will cost you a few pennies if you’re interested in knowing more and seeing the video library. No, that’s not a plug for subscribing, it’s to state that that work has already been done and it is rather extensive in a myriad of different ways and what’s here is only a sliver of what’s there. So….go subscribe, read and then watch! You’ll be happy you did.

The Follower’s Gotcha. The Replacement Step. Uuuugh. This one is going to cause a bit of consternation for a variety of reasons, most notably because it’s almost never taught…ever, and it needs to be taught, constantly so that it becomes 2nd nature in every Follower when they’re being led to a Linear Ocho Cortado.

What on earth are we yapping about ? Put simply the last step of the Linear Ocho Cortado is a Crossing Step. It’s where the Follower is led to cross their feet. While this step can, and frequently does invoke a ‘Dirty Cross’ as a result, the issue that we’re on about is the not the Crossing Step itself, but rather the step that’s almost never taught. And that’s what Tango Topics calls The Replacement Step.

What is the Replacement Step ? It’s a step between the Follower’s Side Step Rebote and their Crossing Step.  It’s a simple movement of the Follower’s weight bearing foot (their Right) from where it was in the Side step, to about an inch or two back in front of their Lead. The Replacement Step itself should end up with the Follower’s foot in the same track as the Lead’s Right Foot.

The video above shows you this same thing. Mind you if you’re a subscriber you’re going to see the more recent video that was shot specifically for the Linear Ocho Cortado with better sound, and better close up visuals. And if you’re not a subscriber, you’ll see the YouTube video that was shot in 2014 with awful sound and titled The Ocho Cortado Error. It’s not an error, it’s just not taught. We should point out that it was right about this same time, in the continuance of Tango self-education, that we discovered the Circular Ocho Cortado and that that was the default Cortado for most of the rest of the world. 🙂

Why is this a Gotcha ? Because not executing this tiny Replacement Step puts you a half-a-body out of sync with the lead, thereby putting behind your L/lead, and really puts you in the Lead’s armpit. And as a result, you’re reinforcing Armpit Dancing. That’s why! So, as we like to say at Tango Topics: Not so much with that!

From a Leading Perspective, believe it or not, you got this. Leading this stuff is a piece of cake for you. So don’t over stress yourself in that there’s something special to this. There isn’t. It’s a Rock Step without a Resolution in Parallel System. And a Linear Ocho Cortado. It’s not until you get into the variations on this stuff where your head starts to spin.

To be clearer: if you understand how to lead a Rock Step without a Resolution, and if you understand how to lead a Linear Ocho Cortado, then putting this stuff together is a snap for you.

However, if you don’t lead these things reliably (ahem) without really thinking about them as if they were second nature to you, then….ummm…you probably have issues.

Regardless of which type of lead you are, you really should revisit your foundation on this stuff: the Linear Ocho Cortado as well as the Rock Step. And the reason that you should has everything to do with your embrace! More than likely you’re compressing the embrace (squeezing) with your Right forearm, pushing your Follower with your right bicep and the inside of your elbow where it comes into contact with the Follower’s ribcage in Close Embrace; OR if you’re in Open Embrace using your Right hand along the left side of the Follower’s Ribcage and pushing them to move. Or you are pulling with your Left forearm, and/or squeezing the Follower with your Left hand. And here’s the kicker, you’re completely unaware that you’re doing any of that! Most Leads are unaware that they’re doing any of that stuff. They think or believe, erroneously so, that they have no embrace issues. They do. They just haven’t asked the more desirable partners yet, nor created an opportunity to ask the more desirable partners for feedback in the proper environment (a practica), nor have they gotten past the platitudes of “oh you’re lovely to dance with”, and digging beyond (with their question) the niceties to get down to, “Is my embrace compressive, restrictive, pushing, pulling, restraining your motion ? Is the embrace compressive in turns ? Do I ask for resistance ? Do I invoke La Marca as a default ?”.

Why are we yapping about the Embrace ? The reality is that 90% of Tango issues stem from 1 of 3 areas. 1.) Your Walk. 2.) Your Embrace. or 3.) Misunderstanding and Misremembering how something functions. That’s why.

Boring! Assuming that there are no issues with your embrace (as if!), and assuming you have mastered these two pieces of vocabulary with absolute prejudice (sure you have 🙂 ) then the next thing that we’re after is variance. And lots of it!

Look, the reality is that a good 80% of the time, you do the same thing, over and over and over again with exacting timeliness. So much so that you can quite literally set you watch by some of your vocabulary choices. If you has the temerity to video yourself dancing, which you should do anyway, you’d see the same ideas expressed over and over again with very little, if not any, variation to the execution of the those vocabulary choices. No changes to them. Nothing beyond the basic, simple, idea that you were taught. While there’s nothing wrong with that dancing that way, it does get a little…yawn, snooooooze, Zzzzzzzzzzzz….what ? Oh we’re sorry, we dozed off…. you get the picture, right ?

For example: 1.) You lead an Argentine Cross and then what immediately happens next is you lead the Follower to forward step across you. And/Or you Lead an Argentine Cross in Parallel System only. Wait! There’s another walking system ? Another type of Cross, actually there are 256 of them! 2.) You perform the same Type of Ocho (Traveling Ochos) over and over and over and over. 3.) You rarely follow or engage the music pauses which are ripe in the music. 4.) After every move, regardless of what it is, you invoke an Unused Mordida which should tell the Follower that one of two things is going to happen (Volcada or a Colgada), but doesn’t, hence the “unused” part. 5.) You end every piece of vocabulary with a side step out of your lane of dance.

And that’s just for starters. There are ooodles of these default Lead actions that we all do, that we need change up now and again to add a little bit of variance to our dance, otherwise we become boring!

Variance ? The Rock Step & Linear Ocho Cortado has a lot of variance built into it. Or more to the point, it has opportunities for you to exploit. Areas where you have the opportunity to create variations which allows you not only to change things up a bit, but creates vast amounts of musical interpretations choreography-on-the-fly that you wouldn’t ordinarily think of on your own. That’s why this video exists. The fact is that these topics by themselves is kind of boring because you’ve done them 10 million times. However what’s presented in the video are 5 other options that open the doorway to oodles of variation and variance. Which, when invoked, can and will break the deadly cycle of doing the same thing over and over again, ie – being boring!

The Lead’s Gotcha! In every piece of vocabulary there is a sniggle. There’s a gotcha moment. And in this case, the differentiation between the Rock Step and the Check Step. They are vastly different from one another. And the Lead, in this instance needs to be very clear in what they’re leading.

On the surface it looks like the opening step of the Linear Ocho Cortado is a Rock Step. It’s not. It’s a Check Step. The problem is that most Leads are fluid between one idea and the next and most of them aren’t clear that there is a Rock Step that is very different in its execution from the Check Step.

Why is this important ? The simplest reason has everything to do with Musical Interpretation. 9 times out of 10 when Leading as Linear Ocho Cortado we are invoking it because of its sharpness of movement. Its particular-ness. Its near precision. Because it clearly aligns with a section of the music that we’re currently in that consists of sharp, crisp, clear singular notes. Such as in the case of Lucio Demare’s “Lo Mismo Que Un Tango“, that’s why we’re yapping about the clarity of the Linear Ocho Cortado and not letting it slip and slide between a Rock Step as the opening step, but rather a Check step. In this instance, now we want to invoke the Rock Step and the deliberate hang time and languidness of that Rock Step, which can create other variations on a theme simply because the Lead has been clear in other instances. In other words, we want to be clear here because at some point we’ll want to invoke a variation and won’t be able to do so because our variation has become our default behavior!

From a Dancing Perspective this a cool turning apparatus. Yes, it’s a step/pattern/figure. Yes, it’s a co-combined turn. And yes you will see this thing all over the damned place for a variety of reasons. However, the kicker here is not that it’s just cool, but when it has been properly researched and practiced, it has the opportunity to become vast resource of vocabulary ideas. Why ? Because when you add in the Linear Ocho Cortado Options, as well as Cross Body Incrementals, and incremental steps on their own, as well a series of Simple Sacadas on the Follower’s Side Steps…lots of cool things can happen to our dance or in short…oodles of variations on a theme that could quite conceivably be danced all night long and never hit the upper limit of variations. And yes, there is an upper limit. We know…we counted. 🙂 And yes, we are that anal!

this video can be purchased through the tango topics store 🙂

About The Video. This video is 16m:44s in length in 9 sections. Both lead and follower technique are combined and integrated into the video.

Introduction – 00:04:48 (this is the video above)
  – Linear Ocho Cortado – 00:00:54
  – A Check Step – 00:00:13
  – A Rock Step – 00:00:23
  – Parallel System Rock Step with Resolution – 00:00:22
  – The Explanation – 00:00:53
  – The Creepy Lead Lunge No-No – 00:01:17
  – The Socially Acceptable Idea for the Rock Step – 00:00:45
The Follower’s Replacement Step – 00:01:32
The Rock Step/Linear Ocho Cortado – 00:00:54
The Cross System Version  – 00:01:54
The Open Side Version – 00:04:19

The Curving Version – 00:01:20
The Closing Ideas – 00:01:24

Related Videos Mentioned In This Article: 

The Six Ways of WalkingDownload
Close Embrace Sacadas – Article/Download
The Ocho Cortado Options – Article/Download
The Circular Ocho Cortado – Article
The Argentine Rock Step – Article/Download

this video can be purchased through the tango topics store 🙂

thoughts about tango ?

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 –

Tango Topics is little reminders and snippets of information that your teachers would have told you about but didn’t have time to or didn’t care to remind you for the umpteenth millionth time. Do you need videos like these ? Yes. Why ? Simple…you need as many reminders as possible in as many forms as you can get. In today’s Tango world it does take a village to raise a dancer. And that means having as many voices, reminders, ideas, concepts, perspectives as possible. This video and the rest of the ones that are sitting behind the Tango Topics paywall are that. While what you’re seeing above is only the smallest hint of what’s contained in the actual video. It should be enough for you to make a reasoned and intelligent choice that perhaps there’s something of value in this site and the videos that are here. Considering becoming a subscriber today.

FREE REGISTRATION

Get More Great Content from Tango Topics

Open post

Circular Ocho Cortado

The Circular Ocho Cortado

The Circular Ocho Cortado. First let’s get the language out of the way. The phrase “Ocho Cortado” translates from the Spanish to English like so: ‘Ocho’ translates as the number 8. ‘Cortado’ comes from the root Spanish -AR verb ‘CortAR’ which translates as the infinitive ‘to Cut’ (or to Slice). However, you’ll notice that there’s an ‘ADO’ ending on the verb, which is akin to an ‘ed’ ending of a verb in English as in ‘HelpED’ or ‘LikED’, or ‘WalkED’. It’s the past participle version of the word. 🙂 However, when you put them together the translated phrase almost makes no sense. So we have to move things around a bit for it make sense to an English speaker. So ‘8 Cut-ed’ makes absolutely no sense, however if we invert the words so that it becomes ‘Cut-ed 8’, it starts to make a bit more sense. Typically when dealing with other languages we end up having to infer the meaning. ‘Cut-ed’ in English makes no sense, however…it’s secondary meaning does, ‘SlicED’! A ’SlicED 8’ or Half of an 8! So quite rightfully an Ocho Cortado is a HalvED 8! Language lesson over….

There are two varieties of the Ocho Cortado, the Linear variety and Today’s Tango Topic: The Circular Ocho Cortado. In the case of the Linear Ocho Cortado, it really is a linear step. Meaning ? That it’s stretched out along a walking line. The vocabulary itself is really great for rounding corners, when you need to ‘cut’ a 90º corner. They’re great for musical interpretation elements. They’re great for cross play. And they’re even better when inverted! 🙂 However, the Linear Ocho Cortado is only taught in certain places. Tango Topics talks about the Linear Ocho Cortado as if it were the default Ocho Cortado. That is not the case. In other parts of the world, The Circular Ocho Cortado is the default and the Linear variety is weird one. In certain places the Linear variety is almost never taught, so you’ll never see it on a social dance floor at all. In certain places, the Circular variety is the odd man out and you’ll never see it either. So today without further adieu Tango Topics presents – The Circular Ocho Cortado. The OTHER Ocho Cortado. [Editorial Note: This site will be cleaning up the language for the Ocho Cortado in the other posts that deal with this to make the clear distinction of Linear vs. Circular.]

What is a ‘Circular’ Ocho Cortado ? Put simply it is leading the Follower to a Forward Ocho. However this is a very specific kind of Ocho that we only use for teaching purposes. In this particular case, that teaching Ocho is what’s sometimes called (and this site referred to as such) a ‘Linear Forward Ocho’. They’re called that because these ochos don’t go anywhere at all, and in fact they’re done directly in front of the Lead on a line. Hence the ‘Linear’ part of it’s name. 😉 The Lead invites the Follower to a Linear Forward Ocho across their body (to the open or closed side of the embrace, usually the closed side), and then interrupts that motion to invite a change of direction, and that change of direction is the Ocho part. The ‘Cortado’ part comes from the fact that only ONE HALF or one side of the Ocho is danced. Typically an complete Ocho is both sides of the 8 or the Applied Disassociation. However in this case, only one half is done, and as a result we have a Cortado or Halved 8. What makes it Circular is the fact that the Ocho itself is the circular part. The curvature of the opening step into and out of the Ocho (the applied disassociation part) Cortado where the Follower is at first stepping next to their Lead and then back to the same position again.

Difficulty Rating:  (2.5 / 5)

Following Perspective. Usually when talking about Follower vocabulary this site mentions the reality that as a Follower you don’t really have a whole lot control over what is initiated and but that the Follower does have an inordinate amount of control over what is executed and HOW something is executed. This topic is a little different, and the reason is that it has to do with several factors, most notably that the Follower can mishear or misread (ahem…<sound of someone clearing their throat>….read that as ‘the Lead isn’t being clear with their invitation’) the Lead’s intention as one of four possible ideas. 1.) The incremental cross body step (video topic coming soon). 2.) The Linear Ocho Cortado. 3.) The Circular Ocho Cortado. and 4.) A Closed Side Molinete which starts with a Forward step across the Lead. Let’s talk about #4 for a moment. Typically the Closed Side Molinete starts with engaging the Follower’s back step. However in this instance we start with a Forward Step across the Lead. And as such, there is a moment of confusion as to what you as the Follower are being led to do. However, that moment of confusion stops right after the Follower’s Forward step across the lead ends. Why ? Because at that point, 3 very different decisions can happen. In the case of #1 – The Incremental, the Follower doesn’t transfer their weight forward, it’s an extension step without a weight transfer. So we can immediately discard that as an option. In the case of #2 – The Linear Cortado, the Lead will/should take a step to the side after the Forward step. We’ll get to this in a moment. and #4 the Lead continues to rotate into a side and there is a sensation of momentum. These three indicators are all very different from each other.

The Nitty-Gritty/The Real Deal. The fact is that if you have not mastered your disassociation and/or your applied disassociation then you can use a whole body ‘pivot’ but you are a.) sacrificing a very beautiful and elegant change of direction for you. and b.) you are more than likely using your Lead for stabilization everywhere and don’t realize that you’re doing it. You’re using your arms, and your hands for stabilization, and even micro-stabilization with your fingers! These stabilizations are NOT desirable at all in any way, shape, or form.

That said…

There are 3 things you want to be aware of when being led to an Circular Ocho Cortado.

One: Collection. Collection. Collection. Your collection into the Circular version is insanely important. While you can engage an elegant Lapíz or Planeo (not shown in the video), it’s sometimes not desirable to engage them, why ? Because you quite honestly don’t have the time, and as a result you may end up executing them poorly and then they look ‘sloppy’. And the last thing you want is sloppy execution especially when you’re dealing with ‘advanced’ ideas like that. So a good rule of them is to use the Lapíz and/or Planeo for the what this site refers to as “The Long ‘Stringy’ Note”. You can find this idea, in it’s simplest form here.

Two: Disassociation. It’s important that on your forward step, that you engage Disassociation, this will help you with ‘staying with your lead’s’ torso. It’s also a precursor to your Applied Disassociation, so it will also help with the execution of your ending Ocho!

Three: The Difference Between One & The Other. There is a clear and distinct difference between the Linear and the Circular varieties. The question you’re going to have is how do you know the difference between them ? The simplest answer to this question has everything to do with the Forward step across your lead. If the step continues, it’s a Linear. If it doesn’t then it’s a Circular Ocho Cortado.

The Caveat of Following. While this particular item that is about to be mentioned does get discussed with some frequency here, it’s very important that you, in the role of the Follower (passive, active, or ‘delicious’/delightful) that you not get stuck in the Lead’s Armpit! (See the Armpit Dancer) If you do, you’ll get left behind. A good portion of the Leads that you’re currently dancing with are on pseudo cruise control. Meaning they lead something and then expect you to interpret what’s been led. The lead is vague at best and you’re left to figure out what they meant and you have a half a nanosecond to figure out what THAT motion was. As a result when applied to the two varieties of the Ocho Cortado it’s even more vague. Because the lead isn’t so clear. 9 times out of 10 the Follower is supposed to ‘infer’ what was intended. And if you get it wrong (from a lack of mind reading skills…ahem) then the Follower is to blame for their clear (ahem) failure. When in fact, it’s not your fault. It’s the Lead’s fault for not being crystal clear with this stuff. And they need to be crystal clear. Unfortunately their idea of ‘crystal clear’ is to use their arms and hands to push, pull, squeeze, and compress the living daylights out of you to INSIST that you do X, Y, and Z. How does this relate to the Armpit Following that you don’t want to do ? Because of the fact that the lead isn’t clear, it’s vague, you’ll more than likely end up in the armpit of the Lead, which will make your job even harder regardless of what variety of Ocho Cortado was intended and/or executed! So here’s a helpful free tip: STAY OUT OF THE ARMPIT! Where do you want to be ? Buttons to Buttons, Sternum to Sternum. Right in front of your lead! At all times.

Leading Perspective. This is one of those times that your job as a lead is at once, insanely simple and at the same time, requires a bit more of you than your usual run of the mill idea of ‘dancing’.

The Key to the Circular Ocho Cortado functioning as advertised is in fact you employing Disassociation. Failure to accomplish this goal and you’re doing nothing more than pushing, pulling, and throwing your Follower around the floor. And while that may seem like you would never, ever in a million years do such a thing. Nor would you even conceive of it. And quite literally bristle at the idea that this page would even suggest such a thing…(ahem) the fact is that you do do this and quite frequently! This is called ‘Rushing the Follower’. A fair number of leads invoke this way of dancing. They believe or think that if they ‘just’ lead something that the Follower should…well…Follow it. With no cause or thought towards the whole reason why the lead is there in the first place…to GUIDE the Follower from point to point without being ‘pushy’ about it, or as it happens in Tango quite frequently “arm-y”. Meaning to use one’s arms (and hands) with physiological pressure, rigidity, tension, and force to indicate what is coming or intended next. So the whole of the Circular (not the Linear) Ocho Cortado relies on the fact that you must actually Lead your own disassociation without the use of your arms but in fact your torso! That’s it right there. That’s the toy. However, doing it properly and understanding the pitfalls of how and where this thing can and does go wrong is what today’s video is for. So that you can actually learn to lead it properly and avoid all of the many pitfalls of it. The vocabulary itself is insanely simple. But as with all things that are insanely simple, the devil is in the details. And the Circular Ocho Cortado has a lot of ‘details’ to it.

Smooth As Buttah. The fact is that this is a very elegant Change Of Direction. There are very few of these in Tango that aren’t ‘jerky’, and this one of them. The Circular Ocho Cortado has the potential to be a very elegant change of direction for you and your Follower. It’s also a wonderful opening to leading the Follower’s Molinete, and it also lends itself towards allowing for the Follower to employ a planeo or lapíz as they come around the Ocho, assuming they have the temerity of mind and more importantly you, as the Lead, create space for them to do so. How’s that ? You don’t rush them to accomplish what you’ve asked but instead ‘listen’ to the response of what you’ve led, and here’s the hard part, allow for the Follower to execute that. Assuming all things are equal here, the result will be a smooth Change of Direction for the Follower and you.

Disassociation. Think Ochos. Only for the Lead. You thought this was a skill that only the Follower needed to master ? Wrong thinking. This skill must be so ingrained in you that you have mastered your control over the speed, your posture as you rotate – no titling from side to side, you contain the motion (so that you don’t ‘spill’ the motion outside the longitudinal axial line – no wobbling), and most importantly the disassociation and the applied disassociation must be absolutely smooooooth, and not just in one direction, but both rotational directions (to the left – open side of the embrace, and the right – the closed side of the embrace). You must learn to do this independent of your Follower, and to do it slowly. This isn’t about speed but control. Every incremental motion must be smoothed out, no jerkiness. None. At no point along your applied disassociation can you jerk or lose control of the next stage of the rotation. It must all be slow, and controlled disassociation and then applied! 😉 If you think that’s going to take you a while to learn to do, you’d be right. This is not something you’re going to learn to do in 5 minutes, this takes time, patience, and ooodles of practice, hours, days, weeks, months and possibly years of daily practice to smooth out the rough spots in both directions. And remember that you want to be able to execute this stuff without the use of your arms or your Followers. This is independent control! Good luck, you’re going to need it. Gosh if only you had a Primer on this stuff, so that you could re-learn at your own pace in the comfort of your own home and correct your issues. If only there were a resource where you could see how this stuff is actually generated. [Disassociation – $12.99]

And just so that we’re clear about something, watching the video above is not going to create the necessary clear instruction that you absolutely need. No. You do need instruction on how to generate this stuff. Hence the link above.

One more thing: Going With The Follower. This site has talked about this item before, it is what drives the Ocho Transition Series of Videos. However, this idea is also present here in the Circular Ocho Cortado, and leading the Follower’s Molinete. You must in fact go WITH the Follower into their Ocho. What does that mean ? It means that you must match their motion to yours, while at the same time not rushing them to execute, all the while not pushing, pulling, compressing, squeezing or interrupting their motion at all in any way, shape, or form. This is the hard part of the Circular variety, this is the ‘requiring a bit more of you’ that was alluded to above. There are a few things that you have to do here in order to insure that the Follower hears the proper or correct message and doesn’t hear something else (as in the linear version of the cortado, or a molinete, or …. etc), that’s why this video exists.

Dancing Perspective ? The Circular Ocho Cortado when executed nicely, in time to the music, can be a lovely showpiece for both Lead and Follow to show each other off. From the Lead’s perspective it shows that they listen to their Follower, and are not rough with them but actually lead and guide the Follower gently. From the Follower’s perspective it creates yet another opportunity show off the Follower’s Unused Forward Step of the Dance! At the same time, a good portion of the time, once a Lead learns this piece of vocabulary, it can easily be overused in much the same way as a rock step is overused. So ? As a result, we want to use to sparingly from a Leading perspective. Rightfully the Circular Ocho Cortado should not take up anymore space in the line of dance than a Close Embrace Molinete does. If it’s taking up more space then something is amiss.

About The Video. This video comes in at 31m:28s in length in 9 Sections. Follower and Lead Technique is explained in the video. 

Section 1 – Follower’s Perspective – 00:12:43
Section 2 – The Difference Between Linear & Circular – 00:01:07
Section 3 – Leading Perspective – 00:03:09
Section 4 – The Open Side Circular Cortado – 00:02:44
Section 5 – The Close Embrace Version – 00:03:52
Section 6 – The Lead’s Error! – 00:01:34
Section 7 – The Lead’s Head – 00:01:34
Section 8 – Lead/Follower Footwork Detail – 00:03:41
Section 9 – Closure – 00:00:22

This video is not for sale. It is only included with a subscription package. 

Watch It On Youtube ? Why should you 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 Circular Ocho Cortado can function, but not all the toys that are described above. So this is one reason why you want this video series, and more importantly to have this stuff broken down for you from a leading and following perspective. 

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!

The Last Word. Tango Topics is little reminders and snippets of information that your teachers would have told you about but didn’t have time to or didn’t care to remind you for the umpteenth millionth time. Do you need videos like these ? Yes. Why ? Simple…you need as many reminders as possible in as many forms as you can get. In today’s Tango world it does take a village to raise a dancer. And that means having as many voices, reminders, ideas, concepts, perspectives as possible. This video and the rest of the ones that are sitting behind the Tango Topics paywall are that. While what you’re seeing above is only the smallest hint of what’s contained in the actual video. It should be enough for you to make a reasoned and intelligent choice that perhaps there’s something of value in this site and the videos that are here. Considering becoming a Gold, Gold Plus, or Diamond level subscriber today.

Open post

Argentine Rock Steps

If you were logged in, you’d see the premium version of this Tango Topic! Just sayin’… 🙂

Argentine Rock Steps

The Argentine Rock Step is a very venerable piece of tango vocabulary it’s used quite often as a way to avoid a hazard, and infrequently as a what is primarily supposed to be used for as musical interpretation. More often than naught for a lot of people the addition of the Rock Step is where they stop developing kinesthetically. This becomes their experience, their go to move, and they don’t realize that this is the case.  So let’s talk about Today’s Tango Topic: The Argentine Rock Step.

What is A Rock Step ? First let’s define what the word ‘Rock’ means. According to Webster’s Dictionary, the English word ‘Rock’ in this case is being used as a verb. It has a noun form, which means “a mass of stone”. In its verb form, it means “to sway back and forth”. Next, when we apply that idea to Dancing, a Rock Step means that you have a step that is going to go from weight transfer to weight transfer, very quickly.

An Argentine Rock Step is a little different. It refers to a very specific construct and is not swaying to from side to side, but actually weight transfer to weight transfer (usually back and forth) sometimes with a Resolution (more on that later). In a lot of ways, a ‘Rock’ Step appears to look like (operative word) as if the couple dancing is a Rocking Chair. The Argentine Rock Step is in the family of ‘Alterations’ of Tango Vocabulary. Meaning that due to a possible Resolution, the Follower’s direction (orientation) changes as a result. One more thing: There is a distinct and clear difference between an Argentine Rock Step and a Check Step and/or Incremental Step as shown in the video below:

The video above shows the difference between the two (and one possible error that happens quite frequently). A Check Step has no weight transfer forward (for the lead) and backwards (for the follower). In the case of the Rock Step there is a clear, and definitive weight transfer backwards AND THEN forwards. 🙂

Pre-Requisites: Walking. Weight Changes. Extensions. One does have to have mastered one’s walk and possess stability in their embrace without using the embrace for stabilization against their partners before they can initiate these ideas.

Difficulty Rating:  (2 / 5)

From A Following Perspective there are two things that are going to confuse you about a Rock Step. 1.) The Rocking Motion itself. And 2.) The desire to collect your feet. Let’s deal with the second item first, as it’s the easiest to describe. You’ve been taught to ‘collect’, ‘collect’, ‘collect’, and then along comes the proverbial Rock Step that says, “don’t collect…not just yet”. While there is a collection there, that collection is in fact, a led collection. And that’s the part that will confuse you. Why ? Because a good portion of the Leads you’re currently dancing with will not lead it, and more over they expect that you’ll ‘follow’ them. This is better known as reading their minds. You’re not a mind reader are you ? Hmmmm, probably not.

Now let’s deal with the first of these issues, the ‘Rocking’ motion itself. First and foremost it is actually much like a rocking chair motion, only we don’t actually lift our feet off the ground. It’s more like a weight transfer back then forward more than anything else. Now for the confusing part, we actually want to add a tiny bit of ‘spring’ to the motion itself. Truthfully the rocking motion is kind of dead, there’s no energy to it. And that’s the problem with it right there. You’ll transfer your weight back, and then forward and it’s like a ’thud’. But we don’t want to that to happen, and instead we want a tiny bit of a ‘spring’ motion to happen on the back step. So for this, you’re going to bend your knee and launch into the forward rock.

The advice above, covers the Linear and Parallel/Cross System Rock Steps. However, when we make the step Circular and not Linear, and then make them Parallel or Cross System Rock Steps, and then the possible resolutions out of the Rock Step, this is where things get interesting for you.

Resolutions ? First we have to talk about resolutions. What’s that ? A Resolution means that you want to get back in front of the Lead. Usually facing the lead, your torso plane facing the lead’s. However when we make the Rock Step Circular and Cross system based, your rock step resolution (just the resolution part) is not back in front of your lead, but rather turned perpendicular to them (not shown above but in the Rock Step Video)!

This Circular Cross System Rock Step and Resolution part is a little confusing at first and the reason is that it’s an unusual motion for you, it’s not back to facing your lead. Most of your Tango life to this point has been about resolving back in front of your lead. “Stay in front of your lead” is what you’ll generally hear. The Circular Cross System resolutions specifically breaks that convention. Because you’re not, in certain cases, going to end up facing them, but rather perpendicular to them. 🙂 And you’re going to think to yourself that you missed something, or that you’re behind, or that you’ve ‘disconnected’, and that’s less than desired thinking. If you followed what was led, then you’re not wrong. The fact is that the resolution is awkward, fun, but awkward.

The Caveat of the Rock Step. A good portion of your leads are going to jerk you around with their arms and hands. They’re going to believe that they have to ‘stop’ you. And thereby they’ll feel that they need to pull you towards them. This is an error on their part, they haven’t quite mastered intention based dancing. Neither have you for that matter. So as a result their going to squeeze, or compress, the embrace with their right forearm to stop you from going any further. This is not desirable on their part, but they don’t know it. And since no one has complained about it, they see no reason to change their behavior. Unfortunately this stopping motion has an undesirable visual side effect. It make the couple look ‘choppy’, as if the lead is jerking the Follower around. Truthfully, there’s not a whole lot you can do about this. Sadly. You’ll just have to survive until the end of the song, at which point you can say “thank you” and move on. But that’s your choice. Best practice ? If the squeezing is really painful, switch embrace types, and then if that still doesn’t change anything, you can always say “Thank you” at the end of the song (and not the tanda). Remember to take care of you! There’s one more fix here and that’s to start saying “No” to these leads that Rock Step endlessly, and jerk you around, as shown in the video below.

From a Leading Perspective the Rock Step is over used. Once a Lead learns this stuff they lose their proverbial mind, and it becomes their go to vocabulary for every possible resolution. Further still they have a distinct and clear, unconscious in most cases, desire to squeeze their partners bodies in order to stop them from continuing backwards or forwards or resolving cleanly. It’s an evil thing really. Quite honestly the Rock Step is usually performed without any level elegance unless by a trained professional and sometimes not even that. However, most of the time it’s overused, and executed in a manner that makes the couple appear sloppy and inelegant. 🙁

That said…

Now we get to the good parts of the Rock Step. There are some really cool things that we can do with a Rock Step. And the fun parts really begin with the Cross System and Circular versions. Because in both cases they’re door openers to other ideas and other pieces of vocabulary. Basically they’re transition elements. If nothing else, they’ll act like glue between one idea and the next. And it is for this reason that they’re over used. There are other ideas that don’t get used at all that can take their place such as turns, ocho cortados and the options, wraps, colgada turns just to name a few.

One more thing: Stepping backwards in the line of dance. The Rock Step seemingly breaks the convention of stepping backwards in the line of dance, and that’s not necessarily the case. If done properly, it should take up no more space than a single walking open step. However, if you’re concerned that you’re taking up too much space, here’s a free tip: Angle the resolution step, backwards against the line and lane of dance!

From a Dancing Perspective as has been indicated, it’s over used, far too often. There are other ideas that we want to engage. However, from a dancing perspective you’re going to see it every where and think that there’s nothing wrong with it until, after reading this article and seeing the requisite videos that you start to recognize that you use them far too much. Is this article going to change your mind on the topic ? No. Are you going to continue to use them ? Yes. Are you going to continue to over use them and thereby squeeze the living daylights out of your partners ? Yup. So why bother wasting breath on this stuff ? Simple. Awareness. The fact is that the more voices out there telling you not to do something hopefully it will start to sink in. And that, friends, is the point at which change has happened or can occur and that’s part of the reason why this page and the site and the videos under exist. So that change can and does occur, that you begin to think differently about the dance than you have.

this video can be purchased through the tango topics store 🙂

About The Video. This video comes is 14:16 in length in ONE section broken up by markers. Both lead and follower technique are combined and integrated in the video.

Section 1 – Introduction – 00:00:48
Section 2 – Lead Technique/Follower Technique – 00:01:15
Section 3 – Side Step Resolutions – 00:02:06
Section 4 – Parallel Linear Rock Steps (Example: Close Embrace) – 00:00:20
Section 5 – Parallel Linear Rock Steps/Resolution (Example: Close Embrace) – 00:00:18
Section 6 – Cross System Rock Steps – 00:01:27
Section 7 – Cross System Resolutions – 00:02:38
Section 8 – Cross System Examples with Resolutions – 00:01:20
Section 9 – Linked Rock Steps (Multiples) – 00:01:50
Section 10 – Chained Rock Steps with Resolutions & Closure – 00:01:57.

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 –

Tango Topics is little reminders and snippets of information that your teachers would have told you about but didn’t have time to or didn’t care to remind you for the umpteenth millionth time. Do you need videos like these ? Yes. Why ? Simple…you need as many reminders as possible in as many forms as you can get. In today’s Tango world it does take a village to raise a dancer. And that means having as many voices, reminders, ideas, concepts, perspectives as possible. This video and the rest of the ones that are sitting behind the Tango Topics paywall are that. While what you’re seeing above is only the smallest hint of what’s contained in the actual video. It should be enough for you to make a reasoned and intelligent choice that perhaps there’s something of value in this site and the videos that are here. Considering becoming a subscriber today.

FREE REGISTRATION

Get More Great Content from Tango Topics

Open post

Ocho Cortado Wrap

Ocho Cortado Wrap

The Linear Ocho Cortado is a venerable piece of tango vocabulary used primarily for cutting turns, adding accents to the ends of musical paragraphs, or just to add a bit more ‘fun’ to the dance. It’s great in open, fabulous in close embrace, and just delish when led and followed slowly. There’s nothing crazier than an Anti-Ocho Cortado (reversing the Cortado, lead doing the follower’s steps & the follower doing the lead’s), while going against the music as counter point. 🙂 However, far too often a fair number of Leads, and a good number of Follower overuse it as if it were going out of style and they just have to get all they can in, before the end of the Ocho Cortado. After about the 3rd time most Followers yawn and yearn for something else, a little nuance, a little spice, a little…something else. While this belief could make most Leads (the person, not the action) cop to the ‘more vocabulary is better’ philosophy that pervades most leading classes, there is another way to go here. And that’s the add nuance. The nuance in this case is today’s Tango Topic: The Ocho Cortado Wrap.

What is An Ocho Cortado Wrap ? Put simply it’s a Follower’s leg wrap….

mixed with an Ocho Cortado (the ‘Cut’ Ocho).

To be fair the Ocho Cortado is not really an Ocho, not by any stretch of the imagination, nor is it a broken one at that. It is more akin to the Follower’s Molinete more than anything else.

Difficulty Rating: Ocho Cortado: (2 / 5) Wrap/Enganche: (3.5 / 5)

From A Following Perspective you’re going to do a fair amount of work for this one. And most, if not all, of that work comes in the form of awareness on your part in 3 distinct areas below, and then their execution. This mixed move requires you to execute with some level of deftness and clarity what’s being asked of you so be prepared.

1.) Recognizing the Cortado. The Ocho Cortado itself is an easy piece of vocabulary for you to execute in Close or Open embrace. There’s really nothing crazy about it. The fact is though that you do actually have to recognize that this is a Cortado that’s being executed and not your Molinete. And the key component to that recognition is the opening check step that happens at the beginning of every Ocho Cortado. That motion tells you 2 things: a.) An Ocho Cortado is in your immediate future and b.) Something else could happen along the same lines, using an Ocho Cortado as the basis for that the other movement. 😉

2.) The Wrapping Indicator. Speaking of other things…. this particular piece of vocabulary for you is all about the nuance of the Wrap (Enganche) itself. So you ideally want to listen for something very specific: The invasion of the lead’s leg into your space, against the fleshy part of your thigh. That invasion tells you that this is no longer going to be an Ocho Cortado but instead, a Wrap!

and 3.) Your Side Step. Because you have already determined that it’s not going your Molinete, but instead of an Ocho Cortado, you need to make a small change in the execution of your side step: Instead of it being circular, it wants to be a linear side step. The reason being that if you’re too close, then the Wrap that the lead is looking for will not happen or become too unwieldy because you’re too close (circular side step).

Your awareness of these things regardless of whether or not you’re being led to an Ocho Cortado or a Wrap is can literally change the quality of its execution from one of “oh shit” (as in surprise) to “that’s cool” which will open up doors for you in terms adorning the Wrap itself, as there are a few places within the Wrap you have an inordinate amount of control over: the Leg up, the Leg/Calf Wrap itself, the Exit Wrap, and the Leg down. Lots of places to add a bit of ‘flash’.

The difficult part for you will be in the Wrap itself, your desire is to displace your leg (sending it out and away) unless you’ve have been trained to respond to a wrap specifically. And beyond that, the next major difficulty for you will be making the Wrap elegant and not gaudy. 🙁 The gaudy part is easy as it comes in many forms. The elegant part ? That takes time, patience, and practice. As there is a method to making the Follower’s Wrap actually work well regardless of who you are dancing with. For that to happen, look at 10 Wraps in the Tango Topics Archive. It’s full of Follower Technique on this topic.

From a Leading Perspective the Ocho Cortado Wrap is all about clarity for you. You need to be absolutely clear that you are leading ‘X’ and not ‘Y’. Otherwise the Follower will default to an Ocho Cortado. This axiom assumes that said Ocho Cortado is in their vocabulary, and they’re not suffering from Autopilot Following. 🙁 So what does “Clarity” look like from your perspective ?

1.) The Wrap Invasion. Every Lead that tries a wrap makes one of the few following errors. a) Stepping too deep. b.) Compressing the Embrace (Pulling). c.) The ‘Straight’ leg syndrome. d.) Watching the Follower’s feet. e.) Stepping too shallow. or what seems like a personal favorite -> f.) Stepping into the middle of the Follower’s space and just ‘expecting’ them to “Wrap”. Better known as not actually leading a damned thing. 🙂

2.) Leading the Linear Side Step and not a Circular one. 

3.) Opposition as you enter an Ocho Cortado. The oppositional forward step across you, is absolutely crucial to the success or failure of an Ocho Cortado. This is what will differentiate the move from the Follower’s Molinete.

Without these three things being absolutely crystal clear in you, this nuanced variance becomes a lot like a watching a gymnastics tournament, and about as pleasurable from the Follower’s perspective, sadly. Mostly this stuff comes down to actually leading this stuff but not over-leading it. That’s a fine line. You have to suggest, but not force. You must indicate, but not use your arms to do it. You must invite without resistance in any way, shape, or form. Resistance is Less Than Desirable. Period.

One thing that should be obvious is that the ending vocabulary, how you exit, mostly will be Traveling Ochos more than anything else. Why ? Because the ending step of the Wrap is set up for just that! 

About the Video: This video comes is 21:44 in length in 14 Sections.

Section 1 – Introduction – 00:00:20
Section 2 – Ocho Cortado Review – 00:00:48
Section 3 – Lead Reminders – 00:02:22
Section 4 – Follower Reminders – 00:03:23
Section 5 – Ocho Cortado Both Roles – 00:00:23
Section 6 – The Wrap For Leads – 00:01:33
Section 7 – The Wrap for Followers – 00:01:42
Section 8 – Wrap and Cortado Together – 00:01:43
Section 9 – The Open Embrace Version – 00:00:50
Section 10 – The Close Embrace Version – 00:01:14
Section 11 – The Open Side Cortado Wrap – 00:00:40
Section 12 – Why This ? – 00:01:56
Section 13 – A Double Wrap – 00:01:53.
Section 14 – Adding a Lead Gancho – 00:01:19.
Section 15 – Closing.

It can be purchased for $15.99 or downloaded as part of your subscription with a discount.

From a Dancing Perspective truthfully this is nuance vocabulary. Nothing more, nothing less. And it should rightfully be used as such. Spice. Accent. Think of adding the wrap to this as a little tiny surprise. A change of pace. Nothing more than that. It’s a variation on a theme of Ocho Cortado Options with a clear fixation on the Wrap as the exit possibility. Are you going to see this a lot ? No. Is the Follower going to expect it ? No. Is the Lead going to not push or pull in this or use their arms ? That remains to be seen. In reality this stuff does fit within the line and lane of dance, and can be a very useful too in accenting certain singular accent notes in say Di Sarli, Fresedo, or Caló. De Caro, Tanturi, or Rodriguez may not work unless the wrap is more of an enganche more than anything else, a quick ganchito. So really, more late Di Sarli more than anything else.   

The Missing Information.  There’s a free tip (for registered free users) that’s not here because you’re not logged in. If you were logged in, you’d see a free tip, but because you’re not, you’re not seeing it. So ? If you want the free tip, then go register as a free user and login. 🙂 However, if you want the toys, and to see the 22:14 HD quality video on how to properly lead a Ocho Cortado Wrap and all the toys that go with it. Then you have 2 options. 1.) You can buy it. or 2.) You can subscribe!

 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 an Ocho Cortado Wrap 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!

The Last Word. Tango Topics is little reminders and snippets of information that your teachers would have told you about but didn’t have time to or didn’t care to remind you for the umpteenth millionth time. Do you need videos like these ? Yes. Why ? Simple…you need as many reminders as possible in as many forms as you can get. In today’s Tango world it does take a village to raise a dancer. And that means having as many voices, reminders, ideas, concepts, perspectives as possible. This video and the rest of the ones that are sitting behind the Tango Topics paywall are that. While what you’re seeing above is only the smallest hint of what’s contained in the actual video. It should be enough for you to make a reasoned and intelligent choice that perhaps there’s something of value in this site and the videos that are here. Considering becoming a Gold, Gold Plus, or Diamond level subscriber today.

Open post

Ocho Cortado Options

Ocho Cortado Options

Ocho Cortado. The word ‘cortado’ translates into English as ‘cut’ or cutted (which isn’t a word) or an Ocho that is Cut. In today’s version of the modern Ocho Cortado it rarely resembles its ocho variations or ocho roots. It’s no wonder when people say the words for the first few times they get a little confused and can’t see the embedded ocho properties that are sitting there. When we think of ochos, we tend to only think of BACK (Traveling) Ochos, not their forward variety which is where the confusion comes from. Further still it’s the interruption that of the ocho (hence the ‘cut’ part) that people don’t see which creates more confusion. Today’s Tango Topic takes the idea of Ocho Cortado and adds a few nuances to it that you wouldn’t ordinarily think of or consider, this particular variety of the Ocho Cortado are considered variations on a theme, or ‘Options’. Think of these ideas as what you can do with the Cortado before, during, and, after you execute one. This is nuance vocabulary, variance vocabulary. Ideas to give you a starting point to expand on and to play with. Hence today’s topic, Ocho Cortado ‘Options’.

Linking Notation: All the links on this site are internal definition links, nothing is external (excluding tangotopics youtube channel links), meaning the links are there to create a deeper and richer clarity.

Check Please! The video above is small snippet of a full HD video (total runtime: 14m:31s). You can purchase Ocho Cortado Options for just 14.99 not including your level discount

From A Following Perspective, the fact is that while you may believe that you have absolutely ZERO control over the execution of an Ocho Cortado, you’d be very, very, very wrong. You, in the role of the Follower, have an inordinate amount of control. Specifically in how and where you cross your feet. How and where your side step goes. How and where your forward step goes. All 3 of those steps have variances built into them, and those variances give you far greater control than you might realize. Just a few millimeters this way or that way is a difference between a lead choosing to go one way, or choosing to go another simply because you’re ‘not’ in the right position for them to execute their next idea. As a result they have to think quickly and come up with something else, or more to the point they have to Follow where you’ve gone! Some might consider this to be highway robbery and inciting the Follower to not be cooperative. Some might say that the polar opposite is true, where we’re creating an egalitarian dance of equals. While the latter in the real world is a pipe dream for a variety of reasons, the former is the hard cold fact – that’s how most Lead’s see the Follower having any initiative. Sadly. Regardless of which side you come down on the fact remains if they may lead it, ultimately YOU, as the Follower, have a choice in how and where you Follow it! That’s power right there dear reader! That said, there are two options that you can start doing today that add nuance to the Ocho Cortado: 1.) Decorate the 3 steps outlined on either side, either as the step begins or ends. But there is a caveat -> it must be in time to the music. If there’s no accent note, then there shouldn’t be a decoration. If there’s no musical flourish, then no decorations. If there’s no musical counter point, then no decoration. You can not just willy nilly throw in decorations because they look pretty. No. You must decorate with purpose! The purpose is that if it’s in the music, then there is a decoration! 2.) Go here. Watch that, and then set about to doing it, religiously.

From a Leading Perspective, full disclosure here – there are two options that are not covered specifically or shown in this video: The first is the Cortado Wrap – Meaning a Cortado that turns into a wrap as either the entry or the exit from the Cortado. The second is the Multiple Cortado, meaning multiple Ocho Cortados. For those items you must see their respective videos on Wraps and Ocho Cortado. There is one thing about the Cortado that does come up quite frequently and it’s here as a reminder more than anything else that you as a Lead must be aware of, and to start to adjust for. What is that ? As the Follower takes their side step they’re going to end up in your arm pit and then stay there as they cross their feet. The key is to not to allow that to happen and to quite literally adjust the Follower’s body position so that they don’t end up there. And by ‘adjust’ that does not mean to use your arms and to force the Follower into position. No. We’re talking about 2 millimeters to the left (not to the right) that would make the Cortado comfortable for the both roles and more important than that, no body contortion is required. Far too often when performing these things (like an Ocho Cortado) you end up contorting your body to do X, Y, and Z. And while you may not realize that you are in a state of contortion, you are contorted, and you’re making the Follower contort even more! The contortion is the result of you not understanding how X, Y, and Z is also due to the poor application of your underlaying technique. So as wonderful as it is to have options and cool entrances and exits, it far more important than you work on your foundation. Specifically your walk must be stable, clear, steady. Your embrace should be effortless everywhere, specifically in turns where you don’t need to hold onto or more importantly squeeze your Follower with your forearm and/or your hand in order to stabilize yourself or to execute or indicate a leading element.

From a Dancing Perspective, the Ocho Cortado happens. Sometimes it happens with great frequency, and sometimes not. However what is true is that with a little bit of variation here and there, the same ole – same ole can be be very very nice and welcomed addition. And that’s primarily what this video is all about – providing different entrances and exits, nuances to how to engage the Ocho Cortado for a series of commonly used pieces of vocabulary and some not so common and a few new ideas that you probably haven’t seen before. There is one aspect to the Cortado that is generally not talked about, and that’s the fact that it really is close embrace vocabulary for tight, small spaces. It’s compact enough that it can be executed on a dime without a whole lot of movement. This is aspect is shown in the video Preparing for Buenos Aires. Which is really dancing in small spaces. And the Ocho Cortado is perfect for that. These Options that are shown here display a few more nuances that can be added to dancing in small or compact way.

About The Video. This video comes in at 14m:31s in length in 7 Sections. Both lead and follower technique is combined and integrated in the video.

Section 1 – Introduction – 00:00:18
Section 2 – Linear Ocho Cortado Review – 00:02:53
Section 3 – Entry Points – 00:01:36
Section 4 – Possible Exits – 00:03:44
Section 5 – Cortado Ideas – 00:01:46
Section 6 – Cortado Variances – 00:03:32
Section 7 – End – 00:00:12

It can be purchased for $14.99 or downloaded as part of your subscription with a discount.

The Missing Information.  There’s a free tip (for registered free users) that’s not here because you’re not logged in. If you were logged in, you’d see a free tip, but because you’re not, you’re not seeing it. So ? If you want the free tip, then go register as a free user and login. 🙂 However, if you want the toys, and to see the 07m:10s HD quality video on how to properly lead & follow Ocho Cortado Options and all the toys that go with it. Then you have 2 options. 1.) You can buy it. or 2.) You can subscribe!

 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 of Ocho Cortado Options. 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!

The Last Word. Tango Topics is little reminders and snippets of information that your teachers would have told you about but didn’t have time to or didn’t care to remind you for the umpteenth millionth time. Do you need videos like these ? Yes. Why ? Simple…you need as many reminders as possible in as many forms as you can get. In today’s Tango world it does take a village to raise a dancer. And that means having as many voices, reminders, ideas, concepts, perspectives as possible. This video and the rest of the ones that are sitting behind the Tango Topics paywall are that. While what you’re seeing above is only the smallest hint of what’s contained in the actual video. It should be enough for you to make a reasoned and intelligent choice that perhaps there’s something of value in this site and the videos that are here. Considering becoming a Gold, Gold Plus, or Diamond level subscriber today.

Scroll to top