Tango Notes: Ocho Cortado

The Ocho Cortado is a common useful move with opportunities for playful variations. It's an essential floorcraft move. "Cortado" means "cut", but rarely do you see the term "cut ocho". Major points: it's easy, can be done in open or close embrace, useful when way forward is blocked, can make a turn, and has interesting variations. It often starts with a rock step and ends with a cross. The timing is usually quick, quick, slow, quick, quick, slow

How the Ocho Cortado ends. There are two major types of endings for the follower: (1) The original style was with a front cross to complete the ocho. This is still a very popular type. (2) Later the practice of ending with a "Snap" Cross was introduced and this also very popular.

Videos showing Ocho Cortados

What to watch for. How does it start (rock step, front cross)? Is there a parada or not?

How to do the Ocho Cortado: More playful dancing 3:27 May 7, 2018
By Tango Space - Argentine Tango School Nice short introduction to the Ocho Cortado. Sound is weak, but has subtitles.
Ocho Cortado 5:31
By Ricardo Lang and Raquel Lang. In German, but you can turn on the English subtitles. Does quick parada in middle.
Tango with Lori & Patrick - #14 - Ocho Cortado 10:50
By Lori Mitchell and Patrick. Standard introduction with a few nice variations at the end.
Tango 103 2 La Corrida con Ocho Cortado 0:36
By the 8th Style School of Tango. Demo of circular ocho cortado from walk.
How to Do the Ocho Cortado 3:10
By Diego Blanco and Ana Padrón. Linear ocho cortado with parada. This omits the rock step. It starts from the Cross and ends with a Cross.
Tango 102: Ocho Cortado 1:23
By Los Angeles Tango Academy. The first 15 seconds demo the ocho cortado and remainder is other basic moves.

The Ocho Cortado in three stages

As with many tango moves, think about what precedes the move, the move itself, and how you want to end to move.

  1. Enter - Where to start the Ocho Cortado:
    • Rock step. From a ML/WR (leader left, follower right) open side rock step.
      • From rock on 4 where the leader is on the open side. Most common entry.
      • From rock on 6 or walking in parallel. Similar to above, but must make room for follower to pass.
    • Front Cross.
      • From a cross (5), lead the follower as if to start a front ocho.
      • From a front ocho toward the closed side.
      • From a clockwise molinete after the follower's front cross step.
  2. Middle - Variations
    • Rotate. The leader always turns/dissociates about 90 degrees clockwise to face the follower.
    • Follower heel embellishment. Go onto right heel and flex toes up before continuing back.
    • Leader's right foot.

      As the follower takes a side step, the leader's right is usually unweighted, and therefore available for additions to the basic ocho cortado.

      • Step to side. Leader side steps with right along with follower.
      • Parada. A quick parada of the follower's right foot is sometimes done.
      • Circular. Leader places right behind left to lead follower circularly. Results in partial turn.
      • Barrida. Right can go beyond follower's left to barrida it back into a cross.
      • Sacada. Right can sacada follower's left into a back ocho exit.
  3. Exit - Lead follower to:
    • Snap Cross. Very common. Optional leader styling: leader can cross left in front of right or right up behind left to mirror follower's cross.
    • Front Ocho. Leader should open a little to allow follower to pass. If there was a parada, follower may stepover (pasada). For the front ocho exit in close embrace, the embrace may hinge to an open V so that the close sides touch but room is made for the follower's left to step forward.
    • Sacada. From parada, leader's right sacadas follower's left into back ocho.

Videos to watch after you know the basic ocho cortado

Ocho Cortado with Variations and Adornos 12:50
By Clint Rauscher and Shelley Brooks. This is a good video once you are comfortable with the basic ocho cortado.
Sequences for Small Space 1: Ocho Cortado Rhythmic Variations 3:13
By Michelle and Joachim. Many repetitions of the simplest form of the ocho cortado (linear starting with leader's left rock step), but with variations in style and musicality. It also shows that knowing the music allows you to match your steps perfectly to it.
Refining the Ocho Cortado and its Variations 8:23
By Homer and Cristina Ladas. This is not an introductory lesson, but it shows a lot of interesting variations.
Argentine Tango Step Ocho Cortado in a Baldosa and Variations 6:56
By Georgina y Oscar Mandagaran. In Spanish with English subtitles. Much of this is similar to other videos, but perhaps the most useful part starts at 5:45 where Georgina discusses the follower's styling.
Milonguero Ocho Cortado Rhythms 2:44
By Rusty Cline and Joanne Canalli. Demo with no instruction. Some nice variations.
Ocho cortado special: musical expression - Mini Practice (31) 2:52
By Vanessa Gauch. Shows some rhythmic variations for the ocho cortado. Done as follower exercise.

Misc alternatives needing more description