Ochos & Dissociation
In her class Ochos & Dissociation in different directions, Johana Copes teaches the techniques of body isolations alongside her partner, Joaquin. Between every exercise in this lesson, Joaquin will repeat the exercise in Spanish. Johana begins this class by showing you different dissociation exercises including rotations and pivots at a standstill. After this, Johana explains how to pivot your body in a circle while leading with either your torso or your hips. Johana steadily increases the difficulty by incorporating the same dissociations while walking in the three directions of dance: front, back, and side.
After covering the techniques portion of this lesson, Johana and Joaquin show you how to practice in an embrace. In this position, Johana and Joaquin teach you how to incorporate the pivots and direction changes into ochos. After reviewing the directions of travel, they introduce direct systems, cross-systems, and then show you how to combine the two systems into one continuous ocho combination.
This is an intermediate level class for dancers who are ready to begin improvising in tango.
In the technique segment, Johana and Joaquin start with torso dissociation exercises. They show you how to pivot in a dissociation position. Keep your hips and lower body facing forward while your upper body pivots side to side. After warming up, continue this exercise and allow your hips to follow your torso in the same direction. Continue this movement in a complete circle, then repeat the rotation in the opposite direction. After practicing rotating in a complete circle while leading with your upper body, Johana and Joaquin show you how to do the same rotations but while leading with your hips and following with your torso.
Once you are comfortable with the circular rotations, Johana and Joaquin show you how to walk front and back. Remember to keep the leg line forward and avoid crossing your legs while walking. As you walk forward and backward, close your heels together between each step. Johana and Joaquin prepare you for the next segment by showing you how to walk and pivot while dissociating, alternating directions. To increase the difficulty, they show you how to do the same walking but in reverse.
In the steps portion of this lesson, Johana and Joaquin show you how to practice in an embrace. While in this form, remember to maintain both a consistent distance from and a strong connection with your partner. Maintaining a strong connection is essential when practicing disassociation in different directions with your partner because it is how you communicate with one another. Johana explains that by listening and responding to the leader’s movements, the follower can feel when to pivot, which direction to pivot, and when to stop pivoting.
Johana and Joaquin elaborate more on this technique by leading two ochos forward in the same line of movement. After, they will show you how to apply this technique in a sideways line. Remember to keep facing your partner and maintain a strong connection. It is important to remember as a leader your job is to guide your partner with your movements, and as a follower, it is your job to listen and respond to your partner. To increase difficulty, continue this exercise while switching directions between each ocho. Remember to collect your feet to center before switching directions.
Next, Johana and Joaquin teach you how to walk together in a direct system. Johana shows you the four lines of legs in the direct system with different camera angles. While walking together in a direct system, keep the same connection and pay attention to when you use disassociation with your partner.
After reviewing, Johana and Joaquin introduce cross systems. It is important to know the difference between these two systems in tango. Johana explains that is all about foot placement. After familiarizing yourself with these two systems, practice combining them and practice changing weight and direction. Remember that when switching systems, only the leaders shift their weight.
To conclude the lesson, Joana introduces diagonal, forward and backward ochos. Johana encourages you to practice walking in a continuous ocho with your partner. Feel free to switch the direction and system as you want, it’s your turn to play with the music and improvise your tango.