Ghost Guide To Tango: Barridas


A sweep; a sweeping motion. One partner's foot sweeps the other's foot and places it without losing contact. Barridas are done from either the outside or the inside of the foot of the receiving party.

Barridas are usually done with the feet in contact, but they can also be done with the feet separate (often called illusory)

In either case the lead is from the body and the appearance of sweeping her foot is actually an illusion.

Note: the barrida is done on her unweighted leg. It is possible to do it on weighted leg, "but not in a good way" (MsHedgehog). If you 'jump the gun' and do a barrida when the follower's leg is still weighted what should happen is nothing. If you manage to move her foot while it's weighted, you're using WAY TOO MUCH FORCE! You can also cause her serous injury, you're well past tango and into the martial arts at this point.

From a sidestep left

Sidestep left to lady sandwich lead's right foot. Barrida her left foot to right with lead's right foot


It's not a ronde! The knee bends. To be honest it feels much more like a placement than a sweep. Also shows her how to lady barrida if he wants. Also bending the knee often prevents her from kicking you in the opposite ankle.

From cross system collect and lead her to pivot. As she does so, use the time to place your foot in position for barrida. Can also lead her to take a step and get into position for the barrida at the end of the step.

Leader concentrates on their standing leg.

Need to be close

Need to be offset slightly to her outside

Can do Caricias at end of a barrida

Her heel in your instep

Lead's toes point upwards?

Direction of lead's rear non-barridaing foot sets up barrida

Practice sequences


Sidestep left to lady sandwich lead's right foot and take her off axis (carpe) by lead stepping backwards. Very slight clockwise turn. Can now trace small circles with her left foot using lead's right.

To exit do small sacada to take her left foot anti clockwise and step in to walks. Can use as a 90 degree turn to the left.

Luis' barrida

In cross system go to cross. Block with left foot. Lead her to step over with her right and do half a forward ocho. Lead literally shifts on balls of feet to reverse direction he was facing and lead's left foot will parada inside of her right foot. Lead her to step over with her left. Then barrida her left foot to collect. Can add a small pivot ocho cortada style to take her to the cross.

Works better if you sweep her calf low down rather than the foot. Sweeping her heel will knock her over especially if she's in high heels.

Dragons' tail

From block, don't complete sandwich, but instead step over her left with your right. Corkscrew barrida her left foot with your left. Then either
  • caress her left shin with your right foot as you step over to right and ronde your right foot back clockwise, or
  • With lead's left foot steps over her left leg and ganchos it. Sacada her to front boleo.

Lead doesn't pull his left foot in. Instead he turns hips and keep thighs together to corkscrew it in. Try practising with a bottle of lemonade, it should glide smoothly.

Lead wants to get fairly close to her as well as around to the left when he steps in with his right. This puts her weight on her back leg and frees up her left leg for the barrida. It also means she naturally has to bring her chest around clockwise to match the lead's as he start to clockwise pivot into the barrida and so makes the whole thing easier.

Easier for lead's balance if he caresses her left shin with his right foot prior to stepping out back.

The name is a reference to a kung-fu move of a coiling dragon sweeping the stars out of the sky with his tail.

Rebecca's sundial

From block right, "kiss" her right foot with lead's left to sandwich then sidestep lead's left foot to the left. Barrida her left foot to the inside of your left. Can repeat indefinitely. To finish lead her to step over your left with her right and she should be able to step to let you parada with your right allowing her her left leg to planeo around behind you.

Make sure to close as this takes her onto her back foot and frees her left. Make sure to bend knee so she doesn't kick you in the ankle. From sandwich, can sidestep right instead and barrida her to the right instead.


Can place foot in the way and as long as no weight can either barrida or lady barrida. Enrosques.
Principle - From enroscar - to coil or twist: While the lady dances a molinete, the man pivots on his supporting foot, hooking or coiling the working leg behind or around in front of the supporting leg.

Also looks a lot like a corkscrew.

You need to get slightly ahead of the beat. The easiest way to do this is go for a sacada but don't connect. Ghost along with the leg you would have sacadaed and it'll take you straight to the barrida position with the right timing.

Sidestep left with left foot. Sidestep left with right foot and cross it behind left foot. Pivot anti-clockwise. Option to lapiz with right foot as you pivot, resetting to crossed behind left foot position.

Bend knees as you pivot. Keep both feet on the floor for better balance. Stay upright - easy for right shoulder to lean forward like a rugby tackle.

Stepping barrida

Sidestep left to lady sandwich your right foot. Transfer weight onto your left, her right and you can sidestep right carrying her left foot with you in a barrida.

Lady Barrida

From front ocho to left, Parada to outside her left foot. Lead her to step over then lady barridas your foot to spoon position.

Can use body movement to reverse any barrida and invite lady to barrida you. NB need to make sure she doesn't have her weight on that leg. Have her offset in the direction she's going to barrida. Turn your chest in the direction you want her to barrida so she has to shift to realign back in front of you. Has the feeling of turning to talk to someone standing by your shoulder.

As an alternative to lady barridaing, lead can simply Caricias the follow and replace his foot on the other side of her foot and then barrida her back himself.

 - Christopher O'Shea