Tango Argentino > CORTANDO THE OCHO... heeelp!

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Mario7, Feb 5, 2010.

  1. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    My practise partner and I are making great progress together this third week (close embrace) since we began...we are doing 4, 1 1/2 hrs. practicas a week.
    We have smooth ''walks to the cross'' already in both parallel and crossed feet and we have good walks and outside right walks in both cross and Parallel. Were still trying to get the Giros smooth and the ocho cortado has me stumped so I told her that I would ask in this forum..:p
    OCHO CORTADO - we execute her forward step (R) to my right side turn and her side step so that she is open ready for the cut of her left heel across in front of her right foot...for the Cortado. My problem is that I want to really lead it and not just do a chorreography step..and so, on bringing her to cross; am I pulling her towards me (obviously not because she was pulled off balance) ... can I do it just by rotating her shoulders sharpy at that point?
    any help always gratefully appreciated!:shock:
    Here's a video that makes it look simple....but is it??
  2. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    ... can I do it just by rotating her shoulders sharpy at that point?
    any help always gratefully appreciated!:shock:

    the way i teach it is; the first part is a rotation when she is double weighted; so both her feet pivot until they are parallel roughly in the line you are going to move her,
    then you lead her with your chest to cross.

    In reality this is flowing movement where both movements overlap, but the lead to the cros has to be strong and clear.
  3. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    Almost any follower will get into a rut if you always lead a step the same way. Try coming up with some variations, so she will be forced to follow you, if she isn't already.

    Possibilities that I like are to vary the amount of "step" to her left, just before what you call the cortado. It could be barely a tap, partial weight or almost full weight. After you have led her to take the "cut" and she arrives on her L foot, there are various possibilities there also. There are ways to vary the timing, also.
  4. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Not "pulling" because she is supposed to follow you as you move in that direction.
    One way to look at AT is that the woman is following her center, and as soon as she feels she is "off balance", and in concert with music, etc, she takes a step to regain her balance.

    Chances are really good, though, that she will "automatically" move in that direction if that is the way you always do it.

    Experiment with variations. You can assess the level of lead/follow by simply pausing when her left foot completes the "side step". (oh, I feel a very subtle "gancho" coming on)

    You could also lead that "side step", then lead her to collect there instead of reversing her direction to complete "going to the cross" (ie have her bring the right foot beside her left).

    And, come to think of it, getting back to the "normal pattern" why not NOT lead her to cross there and continue with the reversed direction?

    You'll have to judge the strength of your partnership when you try these variations. I can tell you that it upsets many women because it is way more challenging to dance when someone keeps varying the lead. No sleepy time there of just going through the motions, unless you've reached the point where you are really tuned into the lead.

    If you can feel where her feet are, you can do that with a comination of "shoulder turning" and "backwards tilting" on your part. You would need a very good connection for it, though, I would think.
  5. tangonuevo

    tangonuevo New Member

    Vary the timing. Once you get her double weighted, take two, or three beats to get to the cross. Do it by waiting while she is double weighted, do it by rotating very slowly, taking two or three beats to get her to cross. Once she is double weighted, lead her to the cross without regard for the music and then wait there so that your _next_ step will be on a beat.

    Or, led the side step so she opens counter LOD, then lead it so it is totally rotational, then try to lead it so she _never_ steps counter LOD - even her initial right foot step is rotational CW around you and you totally continue your LOD movement through the entire OC without ever even stopping.

    Nuevotango warning!! - From the double weighted position, lead her back to exactly where she was after her right forward step that initiated the OC. I.e., instead of crossing, lead her left foot so it is in back(!) of her right but directly in LOD. Or lead her to do a back cross with her left foot crossing behind her right. This is a bit like a volcada in that it is a rotational energy lead, but very gentle so she doesn't feel _any_ compulsion to do some wierd big flying leg/foot thing.

    Or, lead the standard OC, but don't lead her to transfer her weight when she gets into the cross at the end of the OC. Lead her to hang there, then step her out without her ever doing the weight transfer as a cross.

    And there are at least a billion other things I do if you tire of these.
  6. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Hi Mario, here is the lead: when she is double-wheighted, you have to be double-wheighted, but in "open position". Then you have to turn on the balls of your feet to the left, and simultaneously rotate your torso to the left. You end up then in a screwed up position which is kind of a "front-cross". Above this, you hold her rib cage with your forearm and thus transmit your own movement. Hope this may help (though my english hits the wall).

    And the vid:
    0:20 he is double-wheighted,
    0:24 he turnes his toes and his torso to the left, and thus throws her back into the "side-cross"

  7. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    Thanks everyone, this gives me a lot of ways to try and get it! ..our next practice is Monday. I'll report back afterwards..meanwhile, keep 'em coming if you think of anything new.
  8. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    I never would have thought of that as being nuevo. I remember my first teacher showing me something like that--I think. At first I couldn't tell when he was asking for the cross versus stepping back behind my first foot, so he would do one then the other so I could feel the difference. I didn't even know the term "ocho cortado" at that point. It was just one step after another...which is how I "learned" the 8CB.
  9. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    ..and how did the 'difference' feel? :confused: ..and do you know what he did different? thks
  10. tangonuevo

    tangonuevo New Member

    I actually have no idea what nuevo is. But a number of others seem to and I try to accommodate. I just want to have a GREAT conversation on the floor doing whatever seems fun at the moment. Wait. I didn't say that.

    Don't know how it feels, but I know what I do differently as a lead.

    Let's look at 2 & 3 of the 8CB. You lead your partner to do a side step with her right foot then step backwards LOD with her left for the 3. Can you lead the 2 as a side step but the 3 as a cross? What did you do differently?
    Now think of the double weighted position in the OC as halfway through the step from 2 to 3 of the basic. Lead her to collect without crossing, pivot her slightly, then walk out LOD. Now try to combine the collection with the rotation. Notice the timing. In the OC, I pivot slightly prior to leading the collection. To walk out LOD, I lead the collection slightly prior to the pivot. Timing is everything!
  11. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member


    I never think of turning or twisting the feet when leading this movement. These actions only increase the chance for error; over-rotating, turning/twisting too soon, upsetting balance/timing. Try this, please.

    Stand in the normal posiiton with the arms extended outward in front of you, and rounded, as if holding a beach ball. Dance to the position of the crusada, then to the position of the lady's forward step into the ocho.

    Notice the position of the arms... slightly forward and to the right of you. As the follower takes that first step (above), rotate your top... not the feet... to your right creating a break... cortada, in the movement. The point about focusing the weight in the middle of the feet at this point is essential.

    Part of the "codigo" is the creating and taking of space. At this point, the lady is weighted between both feet, and positioned in front of you, but what would be to your right. By simply rotating the beach ball (that is to say, do not alter your position or embrace), to your left, the lady will feel the need to center herself (fill the space that you have created), and automatically cross, or fall over. No pulling or anything required... ever.

    This is the proper lead for the cortado basico. Trust me. Try it. It's all about creating and taking space; moving on and around one's center, and not about putting, placing, making the lady go anywhere.
  12. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    I think I get it...you are trying to detail something that is really very subtle and very 'feeling' like. I will keep this to refer to ... many thanks!
  13. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    My intuition tells me that the above is true...that I've been looking in a direction that does not work...afterall, I'm 2 1/2 years obsessionaly dancing and I was shown the Ocho Corado at the 3 month mark and agian later and NEVER got it....why should such a simple four count move be soooo difficult??? If I ever get this right, you can bet that I will post on it. Now, I don't know where to start...I was going to practice solo tomorrow (Sunday) before my Monday morning practice with partner...but now, I have all this great verbiage of description and what??? What would you do if you were me...stage before you got it??? what would you do tomorrow alone ? and what would you do with your partner on Monday??? remember she is a beginner....translations please????:raisebro::confused:
  14. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    ..I just have to get this.
  15. Temza

    Temza Member

    I will add a bit more then :) (It's a great challenge to find the right words to describe movement)

    In simplistic terms, in tango the leader moves the centre of gravity of the follower, who places her free foot where she thinks her centre of gravity is going to be.

    You might look at the OC from this point of view. When you are leading an OC, your follower makes a side step to your right. Shift her weight/centre of gravity back to her right foot and *very-very slightly beyond*. She will have to place her free (left) foot under the new position of her centre of gravity. The problem with beginner followers is that they are not used to listening to forces applied to their bodies and often fight them and stumble rather than go with the flow.

    There is another way of executing an OC, which I think is easier for beginners, both leaders and followers. Make sure that you lead her to make a side step AROUND you, not purely sideways at a right angle. Don't step sideways with her, just tuck your right foot behind your left. After that, if you put her weight on her right foot and rotate your torso with your weight on your left foot, it will require much less physical effort from her to cross than to fight you and bring her feet side by side.

    Sorry if I am making things more complicated for you. :)
  16. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    Not at all! You did a great job of clearing up the movements...I'm really glad that you are posting on this.:D
  17. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    Aha, this observation rings very true to me. And it relieves me of the fear of falling into chorreography...that is why advanced dancers do the Cortado sooo easily...it's not a code nor chorreography, it is just an advanced reaction, the result of listening to forces applied to their bodies..it makes sense!!!:google:
  18. Mario7

    Mario7 Member

    ..This seem like pure genius to me...I am starting to practice dancing alone while holding my arms forward in an 'around a beachball' position instead of the normal embrace arms. Walking thru my dances like this, lets me see exactly where and how I am moving around my center....tres bien!!
  19. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Thinking of it as a rock step helps some people as well.
  20. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    following what whassisname said above about the cross coming as a turn; you might like to look at this video of close embrace turns by Homer and Christina Ladas; she crosses in front in the giro; which is the last part of the OC.


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