Six Ocho Variations
Ochos! They are the stalwart of Argentine Tango. They’re the goto move that keeps the dance moving, almost like the glue that holds everything together. Here’s an interesting experiment to prove if the statement above is valid or not, try not leading or not following them for a little while in the middle of a song, or for an entire song, and see what happens! More than likely you’ll see the validity of the statement, and how often we use them as Transitional Elements. What’s a Transitional Element you may ask ? In it’s simplest form, and yes there are complex forms of this idea, it’s a tool that we use to transition from one Tango idea to the next. Hence there’s a reason why we have detailed 3 of the more commonly used Transitional Elements, which Tango Topics calls Ocho Transitions. You might want to go look at the 3 of the 4 primary Ocho Transitions [ 1.) Milonguero Ochos into the Milonguero Turn. 2.) Traveling Ochos into The Follower’s Molinete. 3.) Traveling Ochos into The Milonguero Turn. 4.) Milonguero Ochos into The Follower’s Molinete (this video is only available to subscribers).] Moving along towards Today’s Tango Topic, there is something else that you may not recognize which is also true: Your understanding of the Ocho itself is not expansive enough. More than likely when we wrote the word “Ochos” above only one image came to your mind. You should know by now that this website details multiple ideas of what a specific piece of vocabulary can be. Take for instance the Ocho Cortado. There are 3 major variations of it. The Circular Ocho Cortado (used in Europe and BsAs), The Linear Ocho Cortado (used in North America and BsAs), and the Ocho Cortado Variations (used everywhere). Or Sacadas, we’ve detailed multiple variations of Sacadas (Simple Sacadas 2018, Close Embrace Sacadas, Crossing Sacada Turns, and Back Sacadas 2019…coming in January ), or any of the 3 types of Boleos (Social, Linear, or Circular), Ganchos (Common Ganchos, Lead Ganchos, Follower Ganchos, Gooey Ganchos), Colgadas, Volcadas…lots and lots and lots of variations. So what would make you believe that there aren’t Ocho Variations here as well. There are in fact Six Common Ocho Variations Tango Topics discusses. So without further adieu, Tango Topics presents the importance of Six Ocho Variations.
What Is An ‘Ocho Variation’ ? It is an Ocho that is varied. Hahahaha. That definition isn’t that far from the truth. Before we dive into the Variations, there’s something that you should know going in which require us to review the types of Eight Types of Ochos that are possible within the structure of Argentine Tango. There are Eight Types ? You thought there was only One, which is our point above. There are in fact Eight that Tango Topics yaps about. So without further delay a little refresher on the Ocho:
Type 1: Milonguero Ochos (sometimes called “Lazy” Ochos). They’re called “Lazy” because there is almost no physiological work for the Follower to invoke the application of this idea. This is the 2nd most common Ocho after Traveling Ochos (see Type 3). This is where the Follower is led to stepping backwards (or forwards) with their legs/feet crossing over their body’s natural meridian line on a 45 degree angle on the diagonal and more importantly their hips do not rotate in any way, shape, or form. Easier done than described or said. Here’s an example >
Type 2: Linear Ochos. These are Ochos that employ Disassociation (from the Lead) and then Applied Disassociation (from the Follower), where the Follower is being led to rotate their torso (via disassociation) and then their entire body 180º (via applied disassociation) perpendicular to their Lead. They are asked to move backward or forwards, typically backward, along a linear line in front of the Lead. Where the Follower’s feet/legs do not cross over their body’s natural meridian line. Where the Lead actually engages Disassociation (not inference) to their Left Side (Open Side), and their Right Side (the Closed Side of the Embrace) which results as Applied Disassociation in the Follower (not a Pivot! Tsk, tsk, tsk).
Type 3: Traveling Ochos. This type of Ocho is the common one that most people are familiar with, it’s the one that you thought of when the word is used most often. However, in this instance, this particular type of Ocho, and where it gets its name from, is the fact that it ‘travels‘ down the line of dance. Each Ocho invokes a smaller, or lesser amount of Disassociation (from the Lead), and a smaller or lesser amount of Applied Disassociation (from the Follower) which ends up as a 90º rotation perpendicular to the Lead. Typically these should only be done in triplets and not continuously, and going with the Followers motion, and should not be inferred. However, they are typically inferred and the Follower either guesses that they’re being led to Traveling Ochos or because they’ve done them so often they will invoke a Traveling Ocho on their own when none was led, which is better known as ‘The Automatic Ocho‘ or part of their default behavior.
Type 4: Circular Ochos. These Ochos resemble Type 2, but instead of the linear line and 180º in front of the Lead, the Ocho is led on a semi-circular arc 180º in front of the Lead.
Type 5: Over-Rotated Ochos. These Ochos are very uncommon but still a valid form of the Ocho, and to be honest with you loads of work for the Follower, and oodles of fun at the same time. These are Ochos where the Follower is led to an Over-Rotation at 270º to step backward (or forwards) into the space that the Lead has created with the same foot/leg that the Follower is stepping backward (or forwards) with! Example here:
Type 6: Anti-Ochos. These Ochos resemble Type 2 Ochos except instead of the Lead going with the Follower’s rotation and direction, the Lead goes against it! They’re insanely cool, and looooots of fun to do. Example here:
Type 7: Milonga Ochos. This type of Ocho is only used in one instance, Milonga. And while they resemble the motion of Type 3, the Follower is led to not to step backwards but to rotate over their feet in an actual full body pivot and then change weight and pivot again in the opposite direction, creating the effect of slight but rapid movement down the line dance. This is the only Ocho that seemingly breaks the Tango Topics rule of Resistance when in truth of fact does not and can be led and followed without employing resistance at all. Here’s an example of the Follower’s Milonga Ocho >
Type 8: Dynamic Ochos. These Ochos are more than likely a Tango Topics construct. This is where an Ocho starts out as one thing and is morphed into another type of Ocho where the only requirement is time in relationship to the music! Meaning you might start out in Milonguero Ochos and transition into Traveling Ochos over the course of a few bars of the music.
These are the 8 Types of Ochos. Why list these ? Because our primary topic deals with having the knowledge of these 8 things so that now we can ‘vary’ them into Six possible Variations on a theme.
What are the Six Variations ? The Six Variations are tools used for navigation, music, and just fun or to vary the idea a bit so that you don’t end up doing the same thing over and over again. In the next section we show you what the variations are for this video. However, the short and curly answer is that an Ocho Variation is a variation of one the ideas above that have no been detailed on Tango Topics before this article.
Difficulty Rating: (2.5 / 5)
Hey!!!!! Isn’t there more to this post ???? Where’s the Lead’s Perspective, the Follower’s Perspective, and the Dancing Perspective parts of the Post … ??? These very helpful, extremely descriptive, and FREE parts are still here, and you can see them too, just scroll to the bottom of the page, and register. Registration is a hassle! We know. But it is also free, and who doesn’t like free stuff!!! You get a whole bunch of other stuff that can help you with your dance, and the rest of this post. So go register, then login to your Tango Topics Library page and then select Articles, and you’ll see this article with all that good stuff in there. Just scroll, register, and then read! Easy. No ? 🙂
The Case For WHY You Need This ? Actually, you don’t need it. Huh ? Hmmm…that’s no way to sell videos or subscriptions. You’re right. It’s not. That’s because we’re not in the business of teaching you useless vocabulary that you probably don’t need. Stay with us on this one, it’s not going where you think it is. From a very specific point of view, this is cool vocab. No doubt about it. However, from another point of view, the one of the social dancer who’s been dancing a while, a long while, this is nothing more than vocabulary that doesn’t further the cause of Social Dancing. Now here’s the kicker – Both, yes, BOTH points of view are valid. Here’s why:
From the Social Dancer’s point of view, you’re never going to use this stuff. Maybe once in a blue moon, but in reality the better that you get, the less you use this stuff. From their point of view, it’s four pieces of vocabulary that you need: The 6 Ways of Walking, Traveling Ochos/Milonguero Ochos, The Follower’s Molinete/The Milonguero Turn, and lastly – The Argentine Cross. That’s it. That’s all you need. From the Dancer’s point of view that’s hasn’t mastered this stuff yet, this is cool and you want to play with it, and to be able to master it. To find it’s in’s, out’s, how’s, and why’s, and mostly to have fun with it. Both points have their merits.
And now to the one twist in our point that you probably weren’t expecting. This stuff actually has validity, maybe not from a social dancing perspective, immediately, but more from a movement, and musical perspective. The fact is that this is all about one thing and one thing only: Skillz!
There’s a reason you study vocabulary like this, and it’s not because it’s cool (it can be), or that’s it’s musical (it is), or that it’s fun (it is that), or that it adds a little spice and variety now again (the once in a blue moon methodology). It’s because it’s all about your Foundation. Or put another way, because this vocabulary works your foundation in a really good way, by breaking down the movements to their component elements, so then you can become a much more fluid dancer so that you can use it, or not. It’s about availability, accessibility. Not about using it. Using it is entirely up you. But working the instrument, that’s what this vocabulary does. It works your instrument, … ahem…that’s you in case you weren’t paying attention.
No one wants to admit that they need help. That their dance isn’t stellar. Furthermore, you really don’t know that your dancing skills aren’t absolutely amazing until you see a room full of people all dancing way better than you are. And then you see it and feel like the poor cousin at the kiddie table during a holiday meal. There’s a reason those people have achieved ‘better’. It’s doing work like what you see in the video above. Being able to turn this stuff on and off as if it were a switch. A good portion of the time when we’re dancing we only think about the ‘cool’ toys in our dancing and we neglect the one thing that makes those cool toys possible: Our Foundation. That is, in case you’re not paying attention, this video series and others like it.
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About The Video is 23m:37s in length in 8 sections with a combined technique for Lead and Follow. Item in bold in example video, if the section is partially bolded that means that the section is partially in the video. 🙂
Section 1: Introduction (00:01:32)
Section 2: Incremental Ochos (00:04:44)
Section 3: Forward Traveling Ochos (00:03:28)
Section 4: Forward Milonguero Ochos (00:03:11)
Section 5: Lead Traveling Ochos (00:04:09)
Section 6: Ocho Reversals (00:01:08)
Section 7: Ochos as a Navigation Element (00:01:37)
Section 8: Vocabulary Review and Closure (00:03:30)
Related Videos Mentioned In This Article:
The Six Ways of Walking – Download
Ochos Bundle – Download.
Ocho Transitions 1 – Milonguero Ochos into the Milonguero Turn – Article/Download
Ocho Transitions 2 – Traveling Ochos into the Follower’s Molinete – Article/Download
Ocho Transitions 3 – Traveling Ochos into the Milonguero Turn – Article/Download
Dancing In A Small Space – Article
Dancing In A Small Space – The Addendum – Article
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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 vocabulary there, or how to make things fit. This 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 Perspective as well as from a Following Perspective!
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