An interview with German industrial dancer Ciwana Black

Born in Berlin, Ciwana Black is a German industrial dancer, influencer, alternative model, and content creator. She stands out for her ability to embrace different genres of dance, although the pure industrial constitutes a large part of her artistic panel. From industrial and tech bands like FCFGH20, Faderhead, Synthattack, and Cook & Stans to the EDM DJ Mike Candys, she sets no limits. Ciwana likes to dance but it is also a way to release her stress. We caught up with her to learn more about the chilliest dancer on the industrial scene.

Photo by Goose BS.

Ciwana, it’s good to have you here with us. Could you introduce yourself to those who don’t know you yet?
Ciwana Black : Hello, my name is Ciwana or short Ciwi. I am an industrial dancer, alternative model, and content creator from Germany. On my social media, you will find a lot of dance videos (industrial dance), but also alternative/goth festival reports, fashion, and makeup content. I am also working full time in software engineering.

You’ve been expressing yourself in the industrial world for a while now. At what age did you start dancing, whether it was industrial dance or not?
CB : I started dancing late, in my twenties. I would have loved to start earlier, but my family didn’t have a lot of money to support dance lessons. The first dance [style] I learned was industrial dance. Later on, I also did pole dancing for a while, but unfortunately, I don’t have the time for that at the moment.

What made you want to start doing industrial dance?
CB : A friend took me to an Agonoize concert thinking that I would hate the music, but I fell in love with it. At the afterparty, I saw people dancing “industrial dance” for the very first time. Later on, I stumbled upon the music video from Eisenfunk (“Pong”), in which a girl is dancing industrial. I fell in love with her dancing and then I started to teach myself.

Many people only see it as repetitive gestures without visualizing the concept itself. What would you say to them?
CB : Dancing is art and not every art form is for everyone. There are also dances/music that I don’t understand, but if people enjoy it why should I judge them? Let them live. A lot of people are enjoying watching industrial dancers/industrial dance videos and a lot of people enjoy dancing to industrial music. Unfortunately, the YouTube algorithm shows mostly the oldest and lowest quality industrial dance videos, featuring dancers who have not danced for a long time. Thus, when most people see these old videos, they can’t see how far industrial dancing has come. Experienced dancers have a big variety of different dance moves. For example, I would recommend the videos of [Newtype] Art Industrial dance, Eisschrei, and Wendy Ailan.

And what are the main difficulties of industrial dance?
CB : Learning to coordinate your body, making your moves powerful and on beats, and later on, increasing your move-set. Also, some moves need a lot of flexibility from your shoulder so you need to work on your body and build your shoulder strength.

Ciwana Black in 60 seconds
Your city : I was born in Berlin, but I moved around a lot in and outside of Germany for the last few years. But now I am back in Berlin.

Something unique about you : I can adapt my dance style easily to different songs/music styles. Sometimes I dance soft, sometimes powerful, sometimes hard, and sometimes sexy.
Favorite makeup : Milk1422 (Sergey X)
Favorite dancers : Wendy Ailan, Yog, Marr Rosario
Favorite books : Haruki Murakami, Juli Zeh, Sarah J. Maas
Leisure time : I am in the gym as well. Otherwise reading, doing makeup, enjoying time with my family, programming, and sometimes if I still find time for gaming.
What you watch on Youtube : Mostly dance videos, mixed with other alternative scene/goth-related content like outfits/festival reviews.
Something unforgettable : A TV documentary in which I appear and give an interview.

What are the music tracks on which you express your art the best? Which bands do you prefer to cover when you dance?
CB : It changes with time, but at the moment I love dancing to Faderhead, Synthattack, Phosgore, and Brioni Faith.

You recently got married. Congratulations on your honeymoon! You also have two children now. Isn’t it harder to find the time to dance now that you have extra responsibilities?
CB : And I work full time as a software engineer. Yes, it is hard sometimes but I need dancing in my life. Fortunately, my husband is super supportive. Today he took the kids to the zoo so that I can complete this interview and finish editing my latest Vlog.

Tell me if I’m wrong but you also do pole dancing. Is it hard to learn when you’re not that acrobatic or skilled in gymnastics?
CB : I am currently not, as you may now know, but I would love to, again in the future. If you have a good trainer you can learn it. But it helps if you do workouts/go to the gym as well because pole dance requires a lot of muscle strength.

Photo by Shahabs Photos.

Have you ever considered posting videos of your pole dance performances? Do you do goth performances that incorporate the goth musical genre as well? There is so little goth or dark-inclined pole dancing.
CB : I really wanted to, but then I got pregnant with my second child and afterward I never had the time to go back to pole dancing. But maybe in the future. I would love to.

A while ago, you collaborated with the fashion brand Marigold Shadows. Can you tell us a bit about the brand and why you were interested in working with them?
CB : I like the style of their clothes and I wear the coat I got from them every day. The items are affordable but also very unique. They don’t scream “goth” but a lot of them are black and they have very unique cuts. The clothes are great for being a goth but still looking professional for a work environment.

What have been your main collaborations so far? And with which brands would you like to work with if you ever had the chance?
CB : My main collaborations are so far with bands like Synthattack, das Werk, and Extize. I have also worked with brands like Marigold Shadows, Concrete Minerals, Eska, and a startup with the App “Dance Fans”. I am also supporting the fashion brand of my brother Kuno (they are rebranding their company at the moment) a lot because I love his work and I think he will make it very far in the fashion industry. I would love to work in the future with Badinka, Cyberdog, New Rock, Magic Markings, and some more.

Before the current pandemic situation, you used to attend the M’era Luna festival in Hildesheim, The Amphi in Köln and the Wave-Gotik-Treffen in Leipzig. Most Europeans know the differences between these festivals, but it is not certain that international audiences are aware of them. How would you explain to them the characteristics of each of these major events?
CB : Wave-Gotik-Treffen (WGT) in Leipzig is like the mother of goth festivals. It’s one of the oldest festivals in Germany and feels like a big goth family gathering. It’s also the longest goth festival I know of, going from Thursday evening until Tuesday morning (if you do it properly). What I like about the WGT is that the whole city is celebrating and you also get to do stuff like going to the opera or into a museum. But of course, you can also just listen to bands the entire time or go to parties. M’era Luna feels like a mixture of a goth and metal festival, mainly due to the venue which is in an old airport area. It is a huge field with the festival area and a massive camping ground. The music is goth, but because the ground is too uneven most people tend to stick to more comfortable clothes and a beer in their hand. And M’era Luna does have a nice medieval market. Amphi is a festival in the heart of Cologne but without the entire city celebrating, meaning you don’t need to drive back and forth like at the WGT, but on the other hand, people stare more at you when you go to the festival area. It’s nice that the area is so compact and you can easily switch between stages. The Amphi used to be mainly electro-goth music, but unfortunately, they changed that a bit.

What is your favorite goth-industrial festival? Whether it is part of this non-exhaustive list or not.
CB : Properly now it is WGT. It used to be Amphi, before they started playing less electro-goth music.

Germany has always been a prolific land in gothic art. How is the goth/EBM/industrial and cybergoth scene doing right now in Germany? Are there new artists, visuals, musicals, dancers, or others to discover? Are established artists still as productive? What is the general mood in the German alt community today?
CB : That is super difficult to answer because we are still far away from normal life and normal festival/clubbing. Goth and cybergoth have definitely declined in the last few years but we will have to see what is the outcome after the pandemic. Synthattack has been gaining a lot of new fans recently. I also enjoy listening to the newer songs of Soman. Faderhead is also very active and makes really good new music as well as other bands like Nachtmahr, TOAL, and Centhron. However, we need more new bands!

Photo by Thorsten Kietzmann.

Do you have specific projects, photoshoots, special performances planned for 2022?
CB : Yes! I will be doing a music video for a band. I hope to be on stage for Synthattack again depending on the pandemic situation. I have lots of ideas for my YouTube channel and my TikTok. Also, I am supporting my brother in doing the makeup and hair for his upcoming fashion movie again. I am currently looking for new photographers in Berlin. Please contact me via Instagram if you are interested in working with me!

Check out Ciwana Black’s website and follow her on YouTube and Instagram for her latest updates.

Demona Lauren
Demona Lauren is a contributor for Auxiliary, a PhD candidate, and a self-described nu goth passionate for EBM, experimental, and ambient music based in Paris, France and Málaga, Spain.
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