The Front Ocho (forward ocho, ocho adelante, inside ocho) is a standard tango move and is taught in the first lessons to beginners. The name "ocho", Spanish for "eight", comes from the figure-eight that the follower's footwork left in the dirt floors of the early tango bars. To verify this, you can try it in the sand at the beach. If you're not familiar with the front ocho, the text below may make more sense if you watch the videos first.
Steps in the Front Ocho
The Front Ocho consists of a front cross step (follower steps between and perpendicular to the line between the partners), followed by a half-turn pivot to repeat a front cross with the other foot in the opposite direction.
Where to start a front ocho. A front cross can be initiated from almost anywhere, but there are two common starting points for beginners. One is from the Cross (step 5 in the Basic Eight). The other is from step 2 in the Basic Eight.
Where to stop a front ocho. There are many ways to exit the front 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 where the front ocho 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).
Front Ocho Follower 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.
- 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 to keep chest somewhat toward the leader.
- 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 front ocho they want to keep going. Resist this urge.
Front 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 slightly and the arms will follow. Don't overturn the chest.
- Leader must lead every ocho.
- Dissociate to keep chests facing each other. Leader must dissociate slightly to keep chest facing the follower.
Basic Instructional Videos
- How to Do the Front Ocho | Argentine Tango 3:36 Apr 21 2012
- Howcast's Diego Blanco and Ana Padrón show a standard front ocho from the cross (5 in the Basic Eight) with the leader doing side touches.
- Beginner Tango Lesson #3, Front Ochos 1:50
- By Dance Conmigo. Another standard front ocho demonstration from the cross with side touches.
- Ladies Forward Ocho 6:11
- By Greg Gillespie. This starts from the cross (step 5 in the Basic Eight). However, the leader steps back with the left (not the right is in many basic front ocho videos), leading the follower into two front ochos, and finishing with the common tango resolution (6, 7, 8 in the Basic Eight). The leader stepping back with the left is not uncommon and there are other ways to follow that up, not just the one example in this video. There is good advice about common mistakes beginners make. The unidentified partner is clearly a good ballroom dancer, but not a tango dancer. This is easy to see by the way she leans back, as in ballroom, and not forward, as in tango. One thing I like about this video is that it shows clearly what the follower's posture should NOT be.
- Argentine Tango lesson - Ochos And Parada 5:29
- By Ross Todorovic. Leads front and back (called "reverse") ochos from position 2. Finishes with a parada+sandwich in a back ocho.
- Ocho Adelante the Technique 8:30
- By Georgina Mandagaran. She gives a lot of details about how the front ocho (ocho adelante) is done.
More Advanced Videos
- 3 Forward Ochos 4:20
- Christy Coté and George García. This shows a different place to start the forward ocho (replaces step 8 in the Basic 8). The leader's back crosses turn the couple.
- Elegant Forward Ocho 9:24
- Georgina and Oscar Mandagaran show a variation of the front ocho.
Potential of the front ocho
- It's part of many other figures.
- Leader's footwork can be done in several different ways.
- The front ocho is a common place for a sacada or parada.
- The follower has a option for several embellishments (adornos).