The Ghost Guide to Social Tango 2nd Edition: Ochos

7th March 2010

"If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six hours sharpening my ax" ~ Abraham Lincoln


Probably the biggest change from beginner ochos to good intermediate is they become single pivots. Beginners usually take a run-up to get into them, do loads and then try and get out again.

By contrast:

Again it's not a sequence. The leader actually just did this at the end of filming one of the clips rather than stop dead. It shows a number of interesting ideas...

Musicality and floorcraft

Varying the speed of ochos works well.

The Ocho Cortado has a range of possibilities for playing with different rhythms and pauses. Pivots work well for maneuvering.
MsHedgehog:They've also got potential for the woman's musicality; my current teacher showed me variations on how to move as I complete a pivot - sharply, smoothly, or with a little extra curve and flourish. They don't change the timing, but they do change the expression. She also showed me how to stealthily walk around rather than pivot if the floor is too sticky to turn.

Ocho Cortado

Although the leader cuts the ocho in the above example, he chooses to resolve it as an ocho (in effect repairing it) rather than as a cross.

Multiple concepts?

There's a barrida, lady barrida, pasada, ocho and block in there pretty much all at once. It's a bit like cooking. You can combine spices together in different ways. This creates an exponential number of possibilities. Hopefully you can see that the leader can go to any other concept he chooses from the end position.

Practice Sequence

Organic ochos.

OK to start with you've probably learnt ochos with a rigid frame. Whereever you place your right hand on her back is where it stays through out he move, or maybe there's a bit where you kind-of bunny-hop across her back.

Instead the embrace is fluid during ochos shifting between the extremes of open and closed. And it is a continuum, it's not an on-off, binary thing.

Start with the woman to your right in ochos with your hand on her shoulder blade. Lower it to her right hip. Hopefully her left hand is on your shoulder / back. Lead her to do an ocho to your left. As she does, let her left hand slide down your arm to an open embrace. At the same time, your left hand slides around to her left hip. This is a pretty natural sliding motion. Now the tricky bit. Lead her to take an ocho to your right. Hopefully her left hand will slide back up your arm to your shoulder / back again. At the same time allow your right hand to slide back to her right hip.
MsHedgehog:Watch it with letting the hand go down past the ribcage. Some people are ticklish there.

A few tips for the slide on your right side.

Think of your right hand as being a guard-rail.

Curve your finger back slightly during the slide

Your left hand comes in towards the right, which remains in the same point in space.

Exactly where your right hand ends up depends on how far around you pivot her.

Ivan's tree exercise

Stand with your arms held out to the side slightly as if asking "Why me?". Let the woman take hold of your arms and start to do ochos on he own. Gradually begin to merge with her movement until finally you take over leading it. Also good to practice with lead's hands behind his back

- Christopher O'Shea, 8th March 2010

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