Follower's Embellishments
Ocho Cortado

The ocho cortado pattern is a fun and easy way to practice your embellishments. I've listed several of my favorite ocho cortado stylizations here with simple video demonstrations. These suggestions are just a few of the many possible embellishments you can make, though, so experiment and find your personal style!

A few hints before you begin:

1. Practice the pattern with the standard quick quick slow, quick quick slow timing, and make sure that you aren't changing the timing as you experiment.

2. It helps to keep your steps small and contained so that once you start adding embellishments you'll be able to stay on the music.

3. Become familiar with the more common tango music played at milongas so that you can match your embellishments to the music. You'll notice that the movement matches the music better in some places than in others - watch the video demos to see where the embellishment really fits with the music and where it doesn't. It makes a difference!

4. Lastly, it's important to remember that connection is the first focus of dancing tango, so make sure that you are able to keep your upper body calm and facing your leader while you practice. This will help you maintain the connection throughout the movement when you have a partner leading you. Have fun!


The music used in these video demos is El Flete by the orchestra of Juan D'Arienzo.

Ocho Cortado with Toe Taps

Start by walking around the room to the music, tapping next to your weighted foot with your free foot on the up beat. Use the inside of the ball of your foot and your big toe to tap, then try using just the tip of your big toe, or your heel.
Once you're able to walk on the down beat and add taps on the up beat, try adding taps to the ocho cortado pattern. There are some places that work great, and others that don't work so well. Try them all and figure out which ones work for you. The video demo to the left shows taps in two different places with two variations.

Level of Difficulty: Beginning/Intermediate

Ocho Cortado with Amagues

Begin by walking slowly around the room to the music, "drawing" around the front and back of your weighted foot with your free foot. Use the inside of the ball of your free foot and your big toe to draw the amague. Once you're able to walk on the down beat and add amagues on the up beat, try adding amagues to the ocho cortado pattern. There are some places that work great, and others that don't work so well. Try them all and figure out which ones work for you.
The video demo to the left shows an amague with the left foot around the back of the right foot. This is usually the most comfortable amague for the ocho cortado.

Level of Difficulty: Intermediate

Ocho Cortado with Toe Drag

This pretty embellishment takes some practice because your lower body will be doing something a little different than what the leader is expecting. It's important to remember that connection is the first focus of dancing tango, so make sure that you are able to keep your upper body calm and facing your leader while you practice.
Begin by loosening up the hips and letting them swivel as you move through the ocho cortado pattern. Don't forget the timing! Now, allow your hips to swivel to the right as you reach the end of the open step, and as you step forward on your right foot, allow the left toe to drag along the floor behind you as you move to the collection. Here's the fun part: As you reach the collection, stay on both feet as you swivel those hips back to the left and right into the cross!

Level of Difficulty: Intermediate/Advanced

Ocho Cortado with Heels

Flexing the foot and embellishing with the heel is a fun and fashionable way to add a little sass to your dancing.
There are some places in the ocho cortado pattern where a heel embellishment works great, and other places where it doesn't work so well. Try them all and figure out which ones work for you. The video demo to the left shows heels in two different places, but there are many more! Pay attention to making your heel embellishments crisp and clean so that they look intentional, and not just like a sloppy foot.

Level of Difficulty: Intermediate/Advanced