Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The heART of the Ocho

The ocho or figure-eight pivot step has been my continuing concern, to put it mildly, since I started learning the Argentine Tango.

Over time, my lessons have shown me that there is the all-essential pivot, which distinguishes the ocho, from the ocho-like movements that dot the tango floor, my own version included. But teacher after teacher had tried to impress the importance of the pivot, only to finally make sense, as the maestro said it would, one fine tango lesson day.

And yet as my pivot improved, albeit still entirely dependent on the balance challenge that I have, it has not been as effortless or easy on me or on the eye as I believe it should be. There are rare days when I get it, like yesterday afternoon at Savannah.

It is step that requires lightness and balance, even as one stays within the spirit of the sultry dance. I have been coached about using my torso not my shoulders, bending my knees, having softer knees, not locking my knees, and just finding my balance to get it right.

I think I am getting there. When I do the ocho right, the pivot is flawless, easy, and as the leader said yesterday afternoon, there was no unnecessary jerk in my movement nor a discernible change in my weight as would happen when I force the ocho using my hands and arms.

I will test that art of the ocho again tonight at Bureau. And with the help of this very insightful and clear video instructional I found just a few moments ago, I think the heart of the ocho is well within reach.

Drawing the figure eight is the heart of the ocho, and it is with this new bit of information that I will tackle the pivots tonight. How to pivot right and draw a sexy eight, that is the question.

The lady in the video is Gabriela Schaffer, a known tango dancer and instructor. Her explanation of drawing the ocho makes the learning much much easier. Catch her on this Argentine Tango series of basics at eHow.

The tango floor beckons and soon the ocho will be done with mucho gusto.

1 comment:

  1. Nice of you to give all your experience with tango. The video is very helpfull too.