tango feet

Backward ocho or back ocho is one of the most important basic sequences of tango. It is also called ocho atras. As its name indicates the follower takes a back step following the turn.
If you haven’t heard or learned about ocho before, I recommend taking a look at the forward ocho before continuing.

My own experience with learning back ocho taught me that there isn’t a single right way of executing this step combination. During my first trip to Buenos Aires, I took lessons from three former world tango champions – Fabian Peralta (2006 champion), Dante Sánchez (2007 champion) and Daniel Nacucchio (2008 champion) – all of whom had very different ways of teaching and leading the ocho. They showed me that all their techniques are valid and useful and the fact that they differ doesn’t necessarily mean that one is better than the other. Now this is all nice and good, but the question arises: which one should you be learning?? Follow your instincts and the instructions of your own tango teacher and use these videos as a supplement for learning.

Technique of the follower’s back step – tangotools

Let’s begin with something important: the the technique of the back step of the follower. Watch how the woman, during the turn, closes and keeps her free leg near the supporting leg. Also, the heels of the free leg are quite close to the ground.

Diego Blanco & Ana Padron videolesson

He walks out of the ocho leading a cross. Fantastic!

Osvaldo Zotto & Mora Godoy videolesson:

All-time favorites – with their usual, clear instructions.

Academia de baile ocho al atras videolesson (spanish)

A slight dance school and ballroom feeling comes through with this video :) However, their steps are very precise! The lead-out from the back ocho here is a simple, parallel system walk rather than the previously seen cross.


If you find any great videos of backward ocho you’d like to share or you simply wish to give us tips and ideas, leave a comment!

Enjoy your practice!