CORTANDO THE OCHO... heeelp!

bastet

Active Member
#81
Over way too many years of teaching - both in academia and on the dance floor - I have worked with students with a huge range of learning styles. At one extreme, one teaches patterns by rote and over time the dancer begins to understand and assemble the underlying technique. At the other extreme, grasshopper, you only do technique and the assemble that into a dance. For most, neither are perfect, and thus for the great majority of people I've taught, there is a blend that works best.

From what I've read here, I do think that for Mario & partner are well served to learn OC, as well as a half dozen other figures, simply as patterns. Then they can work backwards from these to understand what lead would make them happen. THEN, Mario can try to apply the lead to other things and with other partners to see if they work. If so, yay. If not, it is back to the technique board.
I don't disagree with you on this. I just think the timing is off by a month or so. A blend of both does tend to give the best overall results, it's just that timing thing, and when does someone have enough understanding to be able to make it functional and have some ability to at least put the underlying techniques somewhere on their radar, even if they can't fully get their bodies to accommodate them. That, IMO, takes more than 3 weeks of lessons.
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
#82
You know, the more I think about this and watch videos, the more I'm convinced to modify the figure and dance this quarter turn to the right..90degrees...here's what it looks like starting 19 seconds into this dance..if done slowly with elegance like (well, something like) this great dancer, it's truly beautiful...the thing is NOT to rush it. (at 19secs)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktw5UVHSMv4
I would not call it an ocho cortado nor would I call it a front ocho...is it?
It's a front ocho, just done on the side. I do this quite a bit (a lot more than I do the ocho cortado).
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
#83
Over way too many years of teaching - both in academia and on the dance floor - I have worked with students with a huge range of learning styles. At one extreme, one teaches patterns by rote and over time the dancer begins to understand and assemble the underlying technique. At the other extreme, grasshopper, you only do technique and the assemble that into a dance. For most, neither are perfect, and thus for the great majority of people I've taught, there is a blend that works best.

From what I've read here, I do think that for Mario & partner are well served to learn OC, as well as a half dozen other figures, simply as patterns. Then they can work backwards from these to understand what lead would make them happen. THEN, Mario can try to apply the lead to other things and with other partners to see if they work. If so, yay. If not, it is back to the technique board.
I agree with this. Patterns are not a bad way to teach, as long as the underlying technique is taught as well.
 

JohnEm

Well-Known Member
#84
Well- I'm going to go out on a limb here and explain my position as a follow on this...pun intended...

My partner leads both varieties of endings to the OC, and I consider the step through a variety of OC endings. Also, though I consider myself mostly a close embrace dancer, I'm going to use some Nuevo methodology here and perhaps get you to think a little differently about the step.

I also totally agree a beginner of 3-4 weeks shouldn't be having anything to do with crosses or ochos. Let people develop a little first. I hate to see people out dancing obviously memorized things. It just makes so many bad habits they have to unlearn later in their technique.
As far as I understand Mario is trying to be an apilado dancer which means the embrace, heart to heart, chest to chest. So a Nuevo
lead here is confusing and , though I do agree with your Nuevo description, that sort of lead is not for apilado as it breaks the connection. The Ocho Cortado is mainly a Milonguero thing, in fact Milongueros may find it hard to lead an Ocho ending of the rotating collect after the cut side step. They don't seem to do it, I'll have to look for it now.

It's why I described followers breaking the connection to do it, they have to break out of the rotating collect. Thinking about it this ending, as the leader turns anticlockwise he would have to slow his upper body down to provide the right orientated disassociation so she's never lead into the cross. Interesting, I must try it. Perhaps I already do it without consciously thinking - I can't remember what happened in the last dance recently, it felt good though.

As for teaching patterns as part of the learning experience, yes they have their place for leaders to help show how to piece it together. Unfortunately leaders need partners in classes so the ladies learn them too. But I still believe they have no place in practice, especially as the emphasis for the ladies should be physical and mental technique and sensitivity. Mario may indeed recall things as patterns, we probably all do to learn, I just think it's preferable not to reinforce them as an automatic thing to a partner. It's doing her a favour in encouraging her to learn to follow moment by moment and it doesn't reduce the value of the practice to the leader. In fact it improves it. Indeed, mix it up. A lot.
 
#85
....But I still believe they [patterns] have no place in practice, especially as the emphasis for the ladies should be physical and mental technique and sensitivity....
I will disagree with this. For a absolute beginner, I think that patterns are, for many, the only way to go. The issue is training the body to allow it to do "unnatural acts". For example, as pointed out already, a cross is essentially never performed as we just walk through life. The D8CB teaches that this is indeed a possibility and helps create a muscle memory that says "a cross is OK". After the body learns that it is OK, then one can lead it and at that point, practice crossing and not crossing will create the desired sensitivity in both the lead and follow. But if a woman has never seen a cross, leading it is waaaaay hard. A woman will generally, and rightfully so IMO, fight you.
 

JohnEm

Well-Known Member
#86
I will disagree with this. For a absolute beginner, I think that patterns are, for many, the only way to go. The issue is training the body to allow it to do "unnatural acts". For example, as pointed out already, a cross is essentially never performed as we just walk through life. The D8CB teaches that this is indeed a possibility and helps create a muscle memory that says "a cross is OK". After the body learns that it is OK, then one can lead it and at that point, practice crossing and not crossing will create the desired sensitivity in both the lead and follow. But if a woman has never seen a cross, leading it is waaaaay hard. A woman will generally, and rightfully so IMO, fight you.
Oh dear - and I seriously disagree with this!
The D8CB teaches a cross automatically follows the leader stepping outside ( I've even heard it described as being led by or as a result of the man stepping ouside) whereas Salon/Milonguero/Apilado (whatever) teaches and requires that if the leader steps outside the follower just keeps on walking.

I've seen the cross both taught exceptionally badly in in the Basic 8 (ok 8CB with DB) in Nuevo and from scratch exceptionally well for Salon with very thorough attention to technique and style. It can be done.

I learned 8CBwDB first. Then I had to unlearn the automatic pattern and it takes time and conscious effort, the very antithesis of the requirement for the best tango experience. But the unlearning was worth it.

Tango is improvised, learning a pattern is a very misleading and contradictory introduction. Tango has enough contradictions without introducing what was and is a lazy and convenient way to get people dancing some sort of tango. Speaking for Mario (sorry Mario), lazy tango isn't Mario's aim.

But I rather think we'll continue to disagree.
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#87
You may need to perfect body posture, tone, core strength and weighting or maybe your partner may need to. And bit by bit work on everything else with permutations. Get the simple stuff into your system and working fluidly and almost subconsciously, you seem to have the time. It may seem less rewarding, tedious even but it isn't in the long run. Think of it as the tango equivalent of a musician practising scales. It's easy to think that good dancing just happens: in the main it doesn't.
And this was exactly how I was taught apilado. It really doesn't work all that well without these things. And boy can you feel when it's not there.
So, for me it's seems like it's all...tango.

So lead the cross with a slight anticlock rotation.
After her moving foot has crossed in front of the weighted foot, yes?
 
#88
Oh dear - and I seriously disagree with this!
...
A challenge to you. Find someone who has never even seen tango, is clueless about it, and lead him to the cross. Then, without showing the person a cross or telling him what it is, explain the technique that he should follow with so that you can lead the cross.

These are very hard and I believe that most will fail or quit in frustration.
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
#89
Tango is improvised, learning a pattern is a very misleading and contradictory introduction. Tango has enough contradictions without introducing what was and is a lazy and convenient way to get people dancing some sort of tango.
I don't think patterns are necessarily misleading or contradictory. They are teaching drills, and as long as you understand that, they are fine as a tool for learning. They just shouldn't be the only tool.

But I rather think we'll continue to disagree.
I agree with this, though.

:p
 

JohnEm

Well-Known Member
#90
After her moving foot has crossed in front of the weighted foot, yes?
The rotation is the lead of the left leg into the cross not after it.
It's a normal walk out of the cross or any other movement your heart desires that can be lead from the cross.

So Steve, we're going into a whole new area here.
The cross in writing is indeed a difficult thing - it should be felt not written and talked about!

The cross can be lead diagonally which a lot of followers seem to only know. In apilado a much better, more gentle lead is a small anticlockwise rotation as the man stands on his left while closing his right for the weight change.

Additiionally, as you step forward on your left foot a very slight clockwise rotation of your upper body only helps pre-position the ladies right foot (especially learners not yet achieving a good tango walk as you can vary the extent of that clockwise rotation to suit) and is good preparation for the cross.

A follower who is used to this lead cannot fail to cross as a result of the much more exaggerated 90deg rotation. It is unmistakeable.
 

Subliminal

Well-Known Member
#91
I'm going to agree with the cross is a pattern side. There is nothing natural about the movement until you practice it. Once you practice it, yes, it can be lead any number of ways.
 

JohnEm

Well-Known Member
#92
A challenge to you. Find someone who has never even seen tango, is clueless about it, and lead him to the cross. Then, without showing the person a cross or telling him what it is, explain the technique that he should follow with so that you can lead the cross.

These are very hard and I believe that most will fail or quit in frustration.
What's the point of this complete irrelevance?
We aren't talking a beginner nor someone completely .
We're talking about practice after lessons and some self-learning,
they've seen tango, done some tango lessons, seen tango.

Could any of us explain tango without visuals of some sort.
No, we'd collect a follower in your arms and gently walk her round the floor.

Well I would and have done more than once.
Being Nuevo, you'd probably run round in circles,
but of course it would be the 8CB!
No leave the cross out and make it a 6CB.


(It's meant to be a joke!)
 

bordertangoman

Well-Known Member
#93
A challenge to you. Find someone who has never even seen tango, is clueless about it, and lead him to the cross. Then, without showing the person a cross or telling him what it is, explain the technique that he should follow with so that you can lead the cross.

These are very hard and I believe that most will fail or quit in frustration.
I'm going to try this on the way to the station when I leave work with complete strangers...;)
 
#94
What's the point of this complete irrelevance?
...
The point is that it is easiest to learn the OC if you do it at least once as a pattern. For some, seeing it is enough to pattern it. My partner, an accomplished ballet dancer, can do this, not only with "patterns", but also body shaping and style. For me, I have to "walk through" any movement once or twice to get my muscles to understand what is expected. I am suggesting that all but a handful of gifted dancers need to do a walk through of something new at least once. THAT is teaching them by use of a pattern!!

BTW, I am the LAST to advocate dancing this way. It has even gotten to the point that if I ever do an entire tanda without leading something I've never done before my partner gives me a ration of sh!t about it.
 

JohnEm

Well-Known Member
#96
The point is that it is easiest to learn the OC if you do it at least once as a pattern. For some, seeing it is enough to pattern it. My partner, an accomplished ballet dancer, can do this, not only with "patterns", but also body shaping and style. For me, I have to "walk through" any movement once or twice to get my muscles to understand what is expected. I am suggesting that all but a handful of gifted dancers need to do a walk through of something new at least once. THAT is teaching them by use of a pattern!!

BTW, I am the LAST to advocate dancing this way. It has even gotten to the point that if I ever do an entire tanda without leading something I've never done before my partner gives me a ration of sh!t about it.
And now, remarkably, we are in agreement on this point.

Of course you need to practise movement, there are many
things I've been taught and/or learned that don't work without
repetition of all kinds, first slowly, then quickly but the real fluidity
comes from mixing it up with other things, different entrances and exits. And partners.

Sometimes, sleeping on it helps.
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
#97
And now, remarkably, we are in agreement on this point.

Of course you need to practise movement, there are many
things I've been taught and/or learned that don't work without
repetition of all kinds, first slowly, then quickly but the real fluidity
comes from mixing it up with other things, different entrances and exits. And partners.


Sometimes, sleeping on it helps.
Agreed. I think the only debate was on how to get to the point where they are ready for mixing it up. Whether it is the ocho cortado, or any other move/concept, I think it helps to have a simple pattern to focus on the new move/concept. However, you also need to include various possibilities for how else to start the move, along with trying possibilities/options for how to come out of it.

It's important to know that (pretty much) any step could come after any other step (even if some options are a lot easier than others).
 

bastet

Active Member
#98
As far as I understand Mario is trying to be an apilado dancer which means the embrace, heart to heart, chest to chest. So a Nuevo
lead here is confusing and , though I do agree with your Nuevo description, that sort of lead is not for apilado as it breaks the connection. The Ocho Cortado is mainly a Milonguero thing, in fact Milongueros may find it hard to lead an Ocho ending of the rotating collect after the cut side step. They don't seem to do it, I'll have to look for it now.

It's why I described followers breaking the connection to do it, they have to break out of the rotating collect. Thinking about it this ending, as the leader turns anticlockwise he would have to slow his upper body down to provide the right orientated disassociation so she's never lead into the cross. Interesting, I must try it. Perhaps I already do it without consciously thinking - I can't remember what happened in the last dance recently, it felt good though.

As for teaching patterns as part of the learning experience, yes they have their place for leaders to help show how to piece it together. Unfortunately leaders need partners in classes so the ladies learn them too. But I still believe they have no place in practice, especially as the emphasis for the ladies should be physical and mental technique and sensitivity. Mario may indeed recall things as patterns, we probably all do to learn, I just think it's preferable not to reinforce them as an automatic thing to a partner. It's doing her a favour in encouraging her to learn to follow moment by moment and it doesn't reduce the value of the practice to the leader. In fact it improves it. Indeed, mix it up. A lot.
I wasn't actually talking about leading an OC Nuevo "style" but about the basic idea in "Nuevo" pedagogy that a cross and stepping in a front ocho across your partner are actually the same thing...in that the partners hips are crossed to each other rather than "open".

You can lead a step through without "breaking" the embrace, you just have to roll it a little.

I also dance mainly close embrace (apilado style) and I have had many lessons with (close embrace dancing) Argentines who tend to get very confused by what they see as American's often strict interpretation of the embrace as never moving and never changing...most of them shift or roll it a little in accordance to the movment, though they never "break it" per say, as in break to open embrace, where there is light between the couple.
 

bastet

Active Member
#99
The rotation is the lead of the left leg into the cross not after it.
It's a normal walk out of the cross or any other movement your heart desires that can be lead from the cross.

So Steve, we're going into a whole new area here.
The cross in writing is indeed a difficult thing - it should be felt not written and talked about!

The cross can be lead diagonally which a lot of followers seem to only know. In apilado a much better, more gentle lead is a small anticlockwise rotation as the man stands on his left while closing his right for the weight change.

Additiionally, as you step forward on your left foot a very slight clockwise rotation of your upper body only helps pre-position the ladies right foot (especially learners not yet achieving a good tango walk as you can vary the extent of that clockwise rotation to suit) and is good preparation for the cross.

A follower who is used to this lead cannot fail to cross as a result of the much more exaggerated 90deg rotation. It is unmistakeable.
There's also a lot of ways to lead a cross, all of them valid. There's no one correct way to lead a cross.

A teacher in Portland spent an entire year a few years ago teaching different ways to get to crosses...a whole year of it...
 

JohnEm

Well-Known Member
I wasn't actually talking about leading an OC Nuevo "style" but about the basic idea in "Nuevo" pedagogy that a cross and stepping in a front ocho across your partner are actually the same thing...in that the partners hips are crossed to each other rather than "open".

You can lead a step through without "breaking" the embrace, you just have to roll it a little.

I also dance mainly close embrace (apilado style) and I have had many lessons with (close embrace dancing) Argentines who tend to get very confused by what they see as American's often strict interpretation of the embrace as never moving and never changing...most of them shift or roll it a little in accordance to the movment, though they never "break it" per say, as in break to open embrace, where there is light between the couple.
Well I've no idea what you mean by crossed hips and not sure I want to know. There are enough sorts of crosses already in tango.
But there's no way I can see that the orientation of the hips/pelvis are the same for a cross and an ocho. However . . not sure that pursuing that discussion would have meaning or be helpful.

And what is Neuvo Pedagogy? When I first came across that word I had to get the dictionary out and then a teacher wrote pedagogical
which I suppose might mean a scientific teaching method. Maybe.
This is tango. Tango is an art form, not a science.

I certainly take your point over releasing the embrace and allowing a roll of your partner around the man's chest. Actually this seems to be a method of accommodating a lack of disassociation of leader or partner or both. It's something I'm consciously working on to avoid breaking the connection with a partner I have who can disassociate without thinking, never had to learn it, just does it. It quite took me by surprise to see her freely twist for the back step in a close hold giro. Added to the fact that I find it quite strange to have a partner's chest rolling around on mine, very odd in a sort of nice way.

And there's no disagreement from me about various methods of leading the cross, I mentioned three in the post I referred to. However the OC cross ending, the reason for this discussion, is a result of a 90deg anticlockwise turn into a collect from the sidestep.
Making sure that the follower can easily follow a heart to heart rotational lead into the cross seems to me to be an important ability to help make it work.
 

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