Learning the Tango: Front Ocho
The tango front ocho is a beautiful simple and elegant figure in argentine tango, it literally means “Figure 8” because you are making a figure 8 with your feet. It is the basic for many other tango moves, therefore refinement and practice is required to progress to higher levels of the dance. Essentially the front ocho derives it’s motion from the base forward walks. If a woman practices her forward walks to refine the forward walking (caminar) motion. Once the woman has a solid foundation of walking with balance and on pivots, The forward ocho can be performed.
1. Shift axis weight to right leg to free left leg
2. Left to Side, longer step preparing to walk to cross on 5
3. Right foot collecting to left floating and move right foot forward past outside ladies right leg.
4. With left leg walk past right leg.
5. Collecing feet together and shift axis weight to right.
A. Ocho Starts: Lead lady by turning shoulder counter clockwise slightly and using right hand fingertips past the spine to invite the lady into your right arm. Lady performs Ocho adelante
B. Turn shoulders parallel to clockwise slightly, pushing with palm inviting her out.
C. Straighten the hand on her back to her pivot point collection. Proceed to walk out with intention.
6-8. Resolution – Forward with left, side with right and close with left.
1. Shift axis weight to left
2. Side on right, small step
3. Collect left to right foot floating and walk backward
4. Walk backward past left.
5. Slot left crossed in front of right foot neatly with small hip twist.
A. Drop the left foot weight on 6, Undo the right foot and walk forward doing ocho towards mans right arm.
B. After collecting, Pivot around walking with left away from man.
C. Collect and straighten,
6-8. resolution, Back with Right, side with left, Close with right.
The basic figure involves these steps:
1. Turn hip
2. Walk across (caminar stroll)
3. Transfer support to walking leg.
4. Collect the previously supporting leg, In the order of knees and then ankles to balanced pivot point.
5. Turn hip and repeat with opposite leg.
– Do not over stretch the leg out beyond the point of balance. the step must fall naturally within the control zone of the mans lead. Outstretching the leg causes it to fall back creating an imbalance that relies on putting excessive weight on the frame
– Do no over lift your leg whilst walking. unless you are doing styling and can confidently create a hindrance free natural motion.
– Do not pivot while your leg has not collected. Having a leg out increases resistance and makes it hard to pivot.
– Do the front ocho slowly, It is not a race. create elongated long motions that match to the music.
– Do not drop the frame after a step, This causes bouncing and looks bad in tango. Tango dancers pride themselves on a frame which remains straight and clean.
– Do feel free to embelish by adding adornos such as rulo, lustradas and pica taps as long as it does not compromise balance and leg separation.
You can practice against the wall, but make sure you do not put excessive weight on the wall, Looking straight ahead helps, Looking down at legs causes imbalance. if you are to look down, it’s best to practice with a mirror or just look down with your eyes, not your head.