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.
- If this is on the open side the follower's right foot will be free. The leader should shift to their right foot so they can then step forward on their left, eg to go to a typical tango resolution (step 6 in the Basic Eight).
- If the pivot on the closed side was stopped, the follower's left foot will be free. The leader should shift their weight onto their left so that they may step back with their right (step 1 of the Basic Eight).
Back Ocho Follower Technique
- Stay on balls of feet. If your heels touch the floor the pivots will be a problem.
- Step straight back. Stepping straight forward on a front ocho doesn't seem to be a problem, but followers often step back across the line back from their pivoting foot without realizing it.
- Dance on one level. Dance smoothly, keeping on one level. Do not bob up and down. To do this keep your knees soft throughout the movement.
- Pivot with legs together. Followers must keep their feet and legs together as they pivot. After stepping with the working leg (which will pivot), the free foot must immediately be brought next to the working leg.
- Dissociate to keep chests facing each other. Follower dissociates more and keeps chest toward the leader as much as possible.
- Follow only what is led. Follower waits for the lead. If nothing is led, the follower should wait and do nothing. Once a follower gets into the rhythm of the ocho they want to keep going. Resist this urge.
Back Ocho Leader Technique
- Dance on one level. Dance smoothly, keeping on one level. Do not bob up and down. To do this keep your knees soft throughout the movement. This is the same advice as for the follower.
- Lead by moving the chest, not the arms. The leader should think about leading primarily by turning the chest and the arms will follow.
- Leader must lead every ocho.
- Dissociate to keep chest facing each follower. Leader must dissociate slightly to keep their chest facing the follower.
- Hand lead. The leader can use their hand pressure to help guide the follower. Putting more pressure on either the fingers or the heel of the hand can indicated the pivoting that is desired.
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.