A barrida is one of the illusions of tango. In a barrida, it looks like one partner is pushing or dragging the other's foot with his own. However, when executed properly, it's actually a led movement like any other in tango, with the foot only ornamenting the move.
Follow these steps to learn to do a barrida in tango.
Do a Barrida as a Leader
- Know where you want her foot to go. This may seem like common sense, but it can be tempting to assume that your foot will push her foot to the right location. A barrida, though, is not a literal push or drag.
- Lead her to step where you want her to go, using regular tango leading methods. Instead of simply pushing her foot, use your body as a whole to lead her foot to the new location.
- Add your free foot. Once you learn to lead her to step where you would like, rest the side of your foot lightly against hers as you lead her. Shadow her foot without pushing it, and it will look like you've dragged her foot.
- Keep in contact with her foot after she steps, and you can lead her to return a barrida to you in a forward or side step. To do this, just lead her to the new position, allowing her foot to exert slight pressure on yours as she steps.
Do a Barrida as a Follower
- Listen to the lead. Just as with any tango move you learn, the barrida is led. The leader should lead your foot to its new position in the same way he leads any other step.
- Keep your foot in contact with his. In a barrida, the leader places his foot next to yours. If you stay with his foot, you can do a barrida. If you move too quickly or try to avoid his foot, the barrida can't happen.
- Take your usual step, even though his foot is shadowing yours. You don't need to exaggerate the step or try to change it to accommodate his foot. Just learn to follow his lead.
- Exert slight pressure on his foot if you would like to return a barrida and appear to drag his foot to a new position. If you are dancing with a sensitive leader, he will match your invitation with a lead for you to step where you are suggesting. Again, keep your foot in contact with his to create the illusion of a drag.
Tango de la Barrida
Illustration from Clyde Mendes column at Salsa TV, Singapore