Tango Extensions course, Week 3 class notes

5th April 2010

Week 1 Notes | Week 2 Notes | Week 3 Notes


  • Technique: close embrace
  • Steps: ocho cortado

Close embrace dancing

We revisited the close embrace.

Description: The close embrace is like an airport hug where you are meeting someone special after a long break.

Posture is basically the same as the open embrace; fully upright, weight over balls of the feet. But you have contact with your partner along the torso. Note that it's important to have space between your legs and your partner's legs, as in the diagram.


To get into the embrace, "airport hug" your partner, then just change the arm on the open side (leader's left, follower's right).

Walk with your hands behind your back (both partners), and try to keep constant contact between you.
Extension: try doing a variety of this type of step.

Key points

  • Close is close - yes, it's intimate, but if you don't press against your partner, it doesn't work.
  • If you do it right, close embrace makes leading and following easier, because you have more contact - at least for the steps covered so far.
  • Don't force (pull) your partner into a close embrace - he/she may not be happy with that. Invite it, don't force it.

Close embrace and pivots

You can certainly do pivots (allowing ochos and giros) in close embrace - we spent some time leading and following ochos in close embrace.

Ocho Cortado

Literally, a "Cut ocho".

Practice sequence

This sequence goes as follows (from the leader's point-of-view):

  1. Sidestep left (larger sidestep for leader, as for leading a cross)
  2. Forward step on right
  3. (Double-time) forward rockstep on left
  4. Backstep on left
  5. Turn (open out) to right
  6. (Double-time) lead follower into a side rockstep
  7. Lead follower back from rockstep into a cross, pivoting to your left as you do so.

Key points

  • When leading the follower into the cross, give her space to cross by moving backwards.
  • Both rocksteps are double-time, and are rocksteps not steps - so don't transfer the whole weight
  • Followers need to keep their shoulders (chest) facing the leader during the cross step.
  • This is a nice way of doing a quarter-turn anti-clockwise - for example, in corners.
  • This is useful in close embrace, and in situations where there's not much space.

Related articles

- David Bailey, 5th April 2010