Tango Notes: Back Ocho / Backward Ocho / Ocho Atrás

The Back Ocho (backward ocho, ocho atrás, outside ocho) is one of the common tango moves and is usually taught in the first lessons to beginners after the Basic Eight and the Front Ocho. Although the back ocho appears to simply be the reverse of the front ocho, it is harder for the follower than the front ocho.

Basic Instructional Videos

How to Do the Back Ocho 2:55
Howcast video by Diego Blanco & Ana Padrón. A standard back ocho.
4a The Back Ocho (El Ocho Atras) 4:31
By Dario da Silva & Claire Vivo. A standard introduction to the back ocho.
Backward ocho technique 7:35
By Georgina Mandagaran. Discussion and exercises for the follower.
Tango 201 0 Los Ochos Atras 0:34
By The 8th Style School of Tango. Starts the back ocho (ocho atrás) from step 3 in the Basic Eight after leader changes weight at 2. This is one of many variations in where to start the back ocho.

Steps in the Back Ocho

The Back Ocho consists of a back cross step (follower steps perpendicular to the line between the partners), followed by a half-turn pivot to repeat a back cross with the other foot in the opposite direction.

Where to start a back ocho. A back cross can be initiated from many places, but it's commonly taught from step 2 in the Basic Eight after the leader changes feet.

Where to stop a back ocho. There are many ways to exit the back ocho. If you are just beginning, the easiest is to stop one of the pivots at a quarter turn so the follower is facing the leader.


Back Ocho Follower Technique

Back Ocho Leader Technique

More advanced back ochos

Back Ocho + Adornos + Cruce 2:48
By Michelle & Joachim. Amazingly beautiful dance done primarily with back ochos.
TangoFit review with John Hernan Raigoza & Yaisuri Salamanca 5:19
Los Angeles Tango Academy. Shows a nice Wrap(?) from a back ocho, as well as a general show-off demo.