Industrial dance it is a style of both music and dance. The term “Industrial Dance” is an American phrase derived from Electric Body Music (EBM). It is a subgenre of industrial music that, unlike experimental electronic rock of the 1970s and 1980s, focuses on a dance beat. The terms “Industrial” to describe music relate to music that was part of Industrial Records, a record label. An album called: Industrial Music for Industrial People was released. It was a musical movement that was a musical twist on punk, more rebellious than the traditional mainstream rebellion. There were many uses of totalitarianism in images, songs, and performances. Some of the early bands in this genre include Throbbing Gristle, EinstÃ¼rzende Neubauten, and SPK.
As time passed, the music of this movement began to include a more danceable rhythm. An influential band in this transition was Front 242. Their music was somewhat danceable and at the same time kept the themes darker, used more electronic elements and was less experimental in terms of choice of instruments. Over time, other bands ventured into this realm of Industrial Dance and were commonly labeled Electro-Industrial. These bands include Wumpscut, Leather Strip, Skinny Puppy, and others. This movement took place in the early 1990s in Europe and somewhat in America.
Over time, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, bands such as Funker Vogt, Terrorfakt, Hocico, and Accessory emerged. They were more focused on pace and motivated. This was a change from the experimental jazz-like music of the 1970s because it was less geared towards live performances and more geared towards body rhythms. From the early 2000s to the mid-2000s, bands like Combichrist emerged. They were even considered by some as a new genre, rough-EBM.
While rave-oriented and changed styles of influences began to enter the genre and in the late 2000s and early 2010s we found bands like FGFC820, [X-RX], Aesthetic Perfection, Faderhead, T3RR0R 3RR0R and more. While not all of the songs these bands make fall into the Industrial Dance category, they have become what they primarily are these days.
As for dance style, this is a difficult topic to research. Some would point to articles that emerged in the early 2000s on how to dance like a riveter. Some people point to Los Angeles, Chicago or Germany for the dance style itself. Most notably, YouTube has popularized the dance style. In 2006, a video was uploaded to the Wumpscut song War that featured someone in a gas mask dancing at their parents’ home. From there, different videos were released that actually include a slightly different dance style, but are called Industrial Dance.
There are many popular industrial dancers today as industrial dance videos have become a form of user generated content / fan video for creative industrial music fans. Some popular dancers on YouTube include: tank9, dtoksick, Eisschrei, xxxaleeraxxx, and others.
The dance style is mainly made up of punching, kicking, martial arts movements, arm twists, jerky and quick movements, clearing and making room for oneself. It is not a dance style that you do with a partner unless it is in sync with them. In fact, there are festivals in Germany about industrial dance and there are competitions on stage like in Essen. It is an energetic, militant and sometimes hypnotic style of dance.
Industrial Dance has gained such popularity in recent times that it has been featured in Adult Swim, magazine articles, and countless parody videos that change the music to something totally alien. Be sure to see more industrial dance at Amphi fest, the Essen Original, or just on YouTube.