Every week, you’ll find on our blog class notes and a summary video from our Wednesday and Sunday tango group classes.

These video and notes are meant to help our students remember what they’ve done in class.

Dimension: Directions - Theme: Backward ochos & grapevine variations

We started with the classic backward ocho, before looking at creative ways of changing directions. In this second part of the class, we used the grapevine as a foundation as it is a step where the leader and the follower move at different times and as such, provides an exciting testbed for creative exploration.

Summary video

Beginners/Improvers: “Backward ocho”

Top tips

  • Leaders: As for the forward ocho, make sure you lead the pivot and then the step sequentially. Your partner should have finished her step when you lead her the pivot. For the forward ocho, you need to dissociate “against” the direction of travel, whilst for the backward ocho, you need to dissociate “facing” the direction of travel.
  • Followers: Make sure you execute each stage of the ocho independently from one another – a step and a pivot. Don’t merge them together as you might then not be able to stop. For the backward ocho, you should always step with the leg away from your partner.


Intermediates & up: Grapevine

Top tips

  • Leaders: The reason we picked this step is that it creates interesting energies where the follower moves first, then the leader, and last again the follower. To make the basic grapevine possible, you need to be able to properly dissociate (upper dissociation / lower dissociation) and then control the moves from your torso to ensure the follower only moves when you intend her to move.
  • Followers: This step has strong dissociation, try and keep your torso with your partner at all times and pivot neatly on one foot.


Intermediates & up: Grapevine with gentle lift

Top tips

  • Leaders: Instead of getting directly into the grapevine, put your foot next to hers as for the sandwich. Then position your right foot away from your partner and as you step on it, pivot. This will create a little leverage effect which will produce the lift.
  • Followers: The lift is a bit of a strange (but very nice) feeling. Allow the lift to happen by keeping a strong frame and to make it look nice, keep the posture you had in the corte as you shift your weight to your front leg and then back.


Intermediates & up: Grapevine with leader’s back cross

Top tips

  • Leaders: As you create the little back cross, make sure your torso stays still as you don’t want your partner to move in this position.
  • Followers: You don’t have much to do in this version! 🙂


Intermediates & up: Grapevine with follower’s back cross

Top tips

  • Leaders: To create the back cross, you need to send your axis backwards by pushing your hips gently backwards.
  • Followers: You should feel the lead for a back cross. If not, that means if the lead is nov very clear, the best answer is to sandwich the leader’s foot.



Top tips

  • Both: Practice together the lead and following of the backward ocho – Whatever your level, the backward ocho remains a basic, yet difficult step to execute. Leaders, make sure you dissociate equally on both sides. Followers, make sure you pivot using the technique – torso, hips, free leg. Also make sure you don’t rely too much on your partner to pivot.