Ochos Shortcuts

Double Walk into Ochos

Ochos are great, but it’s cumbersome to go through the cross each time. If you understand the theory behind ochos, it can be easy to get into them at any time.

Ochos occur when both the lead and the follow are the same foot (both on their right or both on their left). The lead will step in one direction with his free foot, and the follow must rotate (at the lead’s initiation) to step in the same direction. This creates the beautiful step/collect/rotate pattern which is an iconic point of Tango.

So – to get into Ochos without going into a cross, the lead must just step twice to the follow’s 1 step; this will place him and the follow on the same foot (rather than mirrored feet) and allow him to initiate ochos.

Slowly, the lead looks like this:

  • Out of a walk
  • The lead should stop with his weight clearly on one foot
  • Shift his weight subtly to the other foot (in such a way that the follow does not notice and shift her weight as well)
  • Rotate the follow’s back in the direction of his free foot
  • Step to the side and begin ochos

As a lead, you can do this pattern on either foot; just be sure to rotate the follow’s back in the direction of your free foot. As you get more comfortable, try to make the transition more smooth so that you barely need to pause before you’re in ochos.

Tip: as you learn this move, make sure to stop and think about this move. It works best when you pause and remain aware of where your weight is, where the follow’s weight is, and what direction you need to turn the follow to make ochos happen. If you’re ever confused, pause and take a moment; tango is slow, and it’s easier (and sexier!) when you take your time.

Follows – this entrance to ochos will only work if the follow is paying close attention to 1) only stepping when the lead initiates a step, and 2) rotating the appropriate amount when the lead initiates rotation. When the lead is learning, this requires a little patience: he will pause and rotate you slowly, and you might be tempted to shift your weight – don’t! Only shift your weight when the lead initiates a weight change or step.




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