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.

Theme: Backward and forward ocho combinations

In this class, we worked on the basic backward ocho, focusing on the technique to lead a nice ocho and to follow, using dissociation. We then used a bit of creativity to mix forward and backward ochos, in a step where both partners do ochos together. Definitely a winner on the dancefloor.

Summary video


Beginners & Improvers: Backward ocho


  • To enter into the backward ocho, you first need to stop on your left leg, which will put your partner on the correct leg to do the ochos.
  • When you dissociate for the ochos, make sure you only move your upper torso. The range of movement is not important, what is more important is the timing of the dissociation and the fact that your hips should stay still. Your side steps should be real side steps, your feet should not turn inwards or outwards.
  • For the dissociation, imagine you’re going around your partner, with the axis or the “hinge” of the dissociation being your partner’s supporting leg.
  • The lead should come from your torso, there is no need to push or pull your partner. Make sure your extended arm stays aligned with your torso, and don’t start extending and bending your left elbow as this might put your partner off balance.


  • For the ocho, try and use dissociation, which means, try and move your torso first, together with your partner, and then move your hips. Your hips should turn beyond your torso, so at the end of each pivot, you should be dissociated. At no point during the ochos, should you have your shoulders above your hips – unless it’s the last ocho and you are returning to neutral position.
  • Pivots are initiated from the heel, try and feel that you are kicking the heel of your supporting leg outwards to generate the pivot.
  • During the ochos, and especially during the pivots, you need to constantly push towards your partner with both hands, especially on the side of the extended arm. Try and avoid pulling your partner as you will lose your balance and make him loose his balance as well!
  • Do not change weight during the pivots. Collect your feet and keep the heels together during the whole pivot.


Intermediates: Symmetrical ochos


  • This step is really cute as it is symmetrical, and in tango, there are not that many steps where both partners do things symmetrically. Leaders, whether you do the forward ocho and lead a backward ocho or the opposite, you’ll need to use your lead for the pivot to “wind” your own spine and prep for your own pivot. This is follower’s technique, as you’re doing an ocho too. The idea is that when dissociating, you are creating tension in the spine (some people call it the spiral effect), and you use this tension to then swing your hips and do the pivot. It will be easier if you try and pivot together with the follower, as you both need the same energy at the same time.
  • Delay the moment where the free leg goes forward. You need to first lead the follower to start her step, and then take a step yourself. If not, you’ll hit her and might step on her toes!


  • For you, this should pretty much feel like a normal ocho, but in this step, the leader is pivoting at the same time as you do, so you need even more than ever to have a proper technique and not rely on the leader for your pivot as the leader won’t be able to give you any support.

See you soon on the dancefloor,

Nati y Bruno