Vocabulary - Take 2 - Leaders - Ochos

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When you dig deep to see what makes a leader able to lead ochos successfully, one of the things that frequently comes up very early in that discussion is: "you lead with your chest, not with the arms." While it's true that you do not want to lead with the arms, we really believe that the chest lead starts down below the chest, more toward the center of your core. (For now, think of it as around your belly button.)

We know this is a quite advanced idea, but just for a few times, try thinking about your core below your chest when you pivot your chest to cause the follower to pivot. Just think about this area and that should be enough to cause at least part of your movement to be generated from there. Once you have that coordination so it's a little comfortable, see if you don't feel that this is a very powerful lead.

Another thing we tell people who lead ochos is to be sure to wait for the follower to finish her (or his) pivot. Again, that's true. But it's a little bit of a simplification. The goal is to find that exact moment when the follower has finished the pivot to start your side step so that the follower, and the audience, can experience the ocho as a perfect, smooth progression.

And this means that it isn't only following that is about listening to your partner. In a very real way, leading is also about listening to your partner.

Artist Name:
QTango
Song Title:
Recien
Album Title:
It Takes Q To Tango
Artist Website:
http://www.qtango.com/

(From the website): Created in July, 2009 by Erskine Maytorena, a third generation tango musician and opera singer, QTANGO performs authentic Argentine tango arrangements as often as two to three times a week throughout the Southwest for tango dancers and listeners.

00:04
In these front ochos now, I’m going to
show a few more fine points...
00:09
..about the use of the arms in the lead
and the adjustment,...
00:12
..about the sense of timing and complete -
that you want to give each thing its right time...
00:17
..and then finally leg styling.
00:19
The first thing, this idea of giving each thing
its right time…
00:22
..you’ll see that when I do these ochos,
we go all the way over,...
00:26
..then we pivot,
then we extend and then we step.
00:31
All the way over, pivot, extend and then step.
00:36
And so I want you to think right now,
that each thing can be discreet…
00:40
..that you can take a step
and let that step finish.
00:45
That you can pivot her and let that finish.
00:46
That you can extend both of you
and then you can step.
00:51
And then what happens is eventually,
you take that and...
00:53
..you smooth out the edges
so they all can blend together.
00:57
But the risk is that you do two things
at the same time,...
01:01
..that I step side,
the same time I pivot her.
01:04
And if you do that,
the results are not so good.
01:06
So instead you want to make sure,
one thing and then the next…
01:10
..and then the next. That’s the first thing.
01:13
The second thing; I want you to be aware
of the use of each of your arms.
01:17
So if you watch the right arm for the leaders,
you’ll see that it slides.
01:21
So as we step side -
01:22
Yes, that’s a big one.
01:25
..I let it slide around
so I have a better hold.
01:28
And then right here, if I don’t let it slide
around and she pivots…
01:32
..that starts to take me off this way.
01:34
D: So instead -
N: That was fun.
01:38
...I’ll let my arms slide in.
01:40
You see that? The hand position changes
and then I’ll pivot her.
01:43
And so does my hand position change.
01:46
And I’ll take her around and then it adjusts;
that’s the right arm.
01:49
If you look at the left arm,
usually guys, your instinct is…
01:53
..bring the hand in.
01:55
And if I have her here -
01:57
That is so not optimal.
01:58
...and I do this, nothing happens,
except her arm moves.
02:01
So instead of bring her arm in to you, I want you to think
you’re bring it over your left shoulder…
02:05
..or from this angle, over your left shoulder.
02:14
So right here, you see I pull my arm back in this path...
02:18
..and that’s reasonably far away from me
and that will create the pivot.
02:22
So some time - next time you go out dancing,
next time you’re with someone who dances tango...
02:27
..I want you to just ask them, guys,
to stand here and do this...
02:32
..versus this,
when trying to pivot them.
02:35
Finally, in front ochos I want you to have an idea
that you do have a choice of leg styling.
02:41
And while you’re not required to do styling,
there are three choices.
02:46
And sometime it depends on who I dance with.
02:48
One choice is you go side, you change weight,
you pivot her…
02:51
..you step and then you collect with her.
02:59
This is the kind of styling which requires
better balance, right?
03:01
If she pulls, you’re on one foot
and you’ll topple.
03:03
So you don’t want to do this unless
the woman is very stable.
03:07
A different kind of styling,
you might leave both legs out, right?
03:10
So the styling we just did was this,
which is very nice because...
03:15
..you see your leg moving with her legs.
However it’s less stable.
03:19
The more stable option is you go here
and you leave the toe on the floor…
03:22
..it gives you a beautiful line,
but also it gives you a little bit of an anchor...
03:26
..in case anything untoward happens.
03:29
A few more things to think about front ocho.