Friday, September 20, 2013

Rhythmic Ochos (Intermediate)

Song: Milonga De Los Fortines by Orquesta Tipica Victor
Instructors: Homer & Cristina Ladas
August 31, 2013, Denver Labor Day Tango Festival

We began with a warm-up exercise doing pivoted ochos, but keeping them small.
The Leader steps with the Follower and rotates his spine/upper body a lot.

We drilled to one song, with Leader alternating leading big pivots or No-Pivot Ochos with the Leader’s hands at his front pants pockets in modified sugar bowl embrace, and the Follower holding on to the his triceps/biceps.

Leader starts leading No-Pivot Ochos, then he releases the Follower a little, and she pivots a little in response to the freedom.  They continue to do ochos, small and fast.  For the Follower, it is very challenging to follow No Pivot ochos. 

We first stayed in a line and did No-Pivot Ochos.  The Leader right hand releases the Follower’s back, so she can do slightly pivoted ochos.  The Leader also releases the control in his body over her during the No-Pivot Ocho engagement so that the Follower regains her natural contrabody movement.

Exercise: Leader leads No-Pivot Ochos, then releases the Follower so she has room to pivot.  We alternated between No-Pivot Ochos to pivoted ochos back to No-Pivot Ochos.  This exercise was for the Leaders to feel what it is like to cage the Follower and then set her free, and then cage her again and the transitions he needs to do with his right hand.  For the Leader, during No-Pivot Ochos, he gives the Follower a cage with  his right arm. When he releases his right arm, the Follower is free with the natural curves of her body.  The energy is into the floor and into our partner.  The Leader attaches to the floor.

We did this in practice hold to make the Leader more efficient in his lead.  We did more drilling of No-Pivot Ochos into Pivoted Ochos, sometimes double time and tight.

Exercise:  In partnership, we drilled the ochos, with the Leader moving through space rollerblading, moving through space with No-Pivot Ochos.

Exercise: We did this in double time and in close embrace.

CHAPTER 2: Turning it
Next, we turned it, with Leader doing Igor footwork, with his left foot doing a small step and his right foot doing a bigger step around the Follower.  This puts circularity into the move.  The Follower’s legs want to squeeze together, even though her feet are still traveling through space.  The Follower’s outside or left step is larger as the Leader walks around her.  The Follower walks forward in a circle around the Leader. The Leader needs to be opposite the line of dance to start this move. The Follower’s long step is her right foot. Her left foot is into the Leader.  The Leader does a circle and doubles back.  The Leader walks backward doing tiny back ochos around the Follower counterclockwise as the Follower does small forward ochos to the close side of the embrace.  The Leader does a little step, and then a big step, grapevining into it and grapevining out of it.

The Leader needs to learn how to manage his space and where he steps in the line of dance. 

Maestros recommended we drill this to a slow milonga song.

Maestros concluded with a class review and a demo to Orquesta Tipica Victor’s Milonga De Los Fortines.

Notes courtesy of Anne at

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