When I think of Goth dancing I usually remember the episode of South Park that describes the Goth culture. The Goths of this animated show describe the proper way to dance in Goth culture as starring at one’s own feet and shuffling left and right. They say extremely joyful dancing with flamboyant dancing is against the horrid darkness of reality. This idea about Goth and Goth dancing is held by most people. This might be true for certain sects of depressing Goth, but it is not the only characteristics of Goth. The stereotypes of Gothic dancing is similar to the stereotypes of their culture. The stereotypes are like a few drops of oil in a swimming pool. Most of the pool and most of Goths are not like the small dark, depressing oil that they comingle with. Nevertheless, the oil is the first thing people notice and occasionally averts them from swimming. The oil stereotypes is present, but Gothic dancing is extremely diverse.
Stereotypes are quite powerful in influencing our opinion on groups like the Goth culture. It seems to be a psychological commonality that humans will associate a specific subset of a group with the entire group. This can be seen in American’s current view on Islam, the Romans view of the northern tribes, or even the Third Reich’s view of undesirables. This persists in modern Goth culture. Many see those who are associated with Goth as masochistic, depressed, angry, and devil worshipping. This arises from a small set of satanic, suicidal individuals in other Emo or Cult cultures that resemble the Goths. This gives the negative, homogeneous idea about Goth dancing. It is seen as depressing as the stereotype of the culture. These are the views that are present, but the integrity of wood does not depend on the solidity of its bark.
Many Goth songs are very conducive to dancing, but not in the depressed way people might believe. Sisters of Mercy is a Goth band whose songs usually involve rhythmic lyrics at low tones. Most might associate this with static dancing, but the background guitar and keyboard inspire the body in a different way. The use of the keyboard provides an electric popping sound that drives ones hips to swing, his arms to flail and his feet to switch at a fast pace. The guitar in some Goth music like Bauhaus is even similar to the rock guitar. These rolling rifts will cause anyone to move around with every part of his or her body. These classic examples of Goth music are not for the static dancer in the corner of the room, but for the dynamic person right in the center of the dance floor.
Some Goth music is even designed as aggressive dance music. The new Dark Wave, Industrial or Cybergoth movements incorporate electronic music with Goth lyrics to create a new sound. Groups like Faith and the Muse and Switchblade still sing about the Goth topics of beauty in pain and the darker aspect of life. Nevertheless, the background music sounds like it belongs at an EDM concert. The same dish is being served, but on a different plate. The plate, however, is a cacophony of electric noises that add together to create driving rhythms. This is dance music in its essence. It leads people to jump around with flashing lights, not slit their wrists in a dark room.
The true nature of Goth dance reveals truths about the meaning of Goth. Goth dance music is beautiful and artistic despite the lyrics being about dark subjects. This is the very flesh and bones of Goth culture. What seems intimidating and scary is beautiful, and this duality is the essence of art. Furthermore, some Goth bands create music that inspires dancing. These bands preserve the Gothic dichotomy. Overall, Goth and its music are like black roses. Black roses may look dark and scary. Nevertheless, the scary part is just paint masking the poetically sublime beauty of a rose.