Cipher Goings has been dancing since he was seven years old. His main discipline is tap and he’s amazing at it. Cipher has performed at Sasquatch 2017, the Paramount, and the Moore. He chose his tap board as the place that sparks his creativity.
Why did you pick your tap board as the place that sparks your creativity?
My tap board is a representation of my tap studio and I find my inspiration really within myself. Tap dancers use wood to amplify their tap sound because concrete and gravel will damage the tap shoes and you wouldn’t be able to hear it through grass. I find my inspiration in the wood and being able to express my musicality through my tap feet and just the rhythms I have within myself.
Why did you decide to become a dancer?
I wasn’t into sports genuinely and when I was a lot younger I had a hard time finding something that I had an actual interest in. The only thing that seemed fun that was something that would keep me fit was dancing. I used to wish that I was on TV and be the background dancers for all these cool Disney artists and stuff. Then, my mom took me to a Northwest Tap Connection show and, at first, I thought that I wouldn’t really want to do tap dancing. But then, when I saw it, I was like, “Oh my gosh, I want to do that.” And then she signed me up and that’s history. I’ve been dancing for the last ten years.
How often do you perform for an audience?
I perform pretty frequently. I have two big shows for my tap studio and they’re always at the beginning of the years and towards the spring. And then, I have, like, little performances here and there at least every month. Sometimes I have one every week. So yeah, it ranges from every month to every week.
What has been your favorite show to do?
I would say that the most fun show that I’ve recently done was when I went to New York. I performed with this tap ensemble and the performance was called “The Tap Family Reunion” and it was for Billy “Bojangles” Robinson’s birthday. He’s a really well-known tap dancer, he’s one of the greatest tap masters. He was just like a huge face for tap dancing when he was alive and still to this day. His birthday is also known as National Tap Dance Day , so that was happening that weekend. We were performing in honor of him and National Tap Dance Day and that was just a really fun performance because I got to meet other tap dancers and be in another state. I just got to really see what life was like professionally for tap dancing and that it was really something that I want to continue pursuing.
What’s your guilty pleasure TV show?
I really like Riverdale. It’s crazy, I’m in love with Riverdale right now. Um, for a while… I was watching Queer Eye... and I love Grace and Frankie, oh my god. I watch shows pretty slow so everyone’s always done before I am. Oh! I was also watching Dance Academy!
Have you trained in other types of dance (other than tap)? If so, what’s your favorite type of dance?
I’ve trained in ballet, hip hop, and modern. My favorite discipline is obviously tap but I think I like modern the most out of the other ones.
How often do you practice dance per week?
Wow, um, I’m dancing for at least five days a week.
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
That’s a really hard question. I feel like I have foods that I really like, so obviously stuff like pizza and burgers, but I don’t know if I’d want to eat those for the rest of my life. I would eat… strawberries. I feel like I could never get tired of strawberries. Their refreshing and really sweet.
What is the coolest opportunity that’s come from being a dancer?
Traveling. I don’t think I would have ever been in a lot of the places that I’ve been without dance. My family loves to travel and we talk about traveling a lot, but it hasn’t really been a thing that we’ve had the luxury of doing with our family dynamic in itself. So, I feel like dancing has really given me a great opportunity to travel. Like, I’ve been to Brazil, I’ve been to Barbados, I’ve been to New York. I feel like without dance, I would have missed out on a lot of that opportunity and I don’t know where I’d be. Dancing has definitely opened up traveling for me, which is really cool.
Name someone that inspires you.
I’m really inspired by this woman on Instagram, @justlivinbby. She’s really funny. She’s not a dancer, but she’s still really inspirational because she just speaks the truth and gives very sound advice. She’s religious like I am, and she’s real. She talks about real stuff, like her sexuality as a cisgendered woman. She’s straight but she’s a woman and has no problem talking about how she has no problems being sexy. She’s, like, a thicker woman so she’s “not appealing” to the world and she doesn’t care. She talks about how she loves herself for who she is and she has a loud personality. She’s very entertaining and she just gives really good advice but in a blunt way. I love that and I feel like she’s inspired me to just be okay with where I’m at right now and be okay with how my life is going. There’s lots of moments in my life where I feel down or I compare myself a lot and I feel like one of her strongest messages is screw everyone else and don’t compare yourself to them. You’re doing you and just stick to that. So yeah, I’d say she’s been pretty inspirational in my life.
Where do you want to live when you’re older?
I don’t know. I’m debating on moving to New York after high school. Right now, I feel like my heart’s telling me either New York, LA, or Atlanta, and those are three very scattered parts. We’ve got the south, we’ve got the east, and we’ve got the west. But, my heart’s driving me to those places for different reasons. I want to visit those places to make sure. I don’t know about New York because of the weather. LA because there’s a lot out there. I don’t know, I feel like I could learn a lot. Atlanta because Atlanta’s just a fun place to live, and, being black, and going to Atlanta would be a pretty lit experience.
Do you want to pursue dancing as a career?
Yes. I don’t think I want to go to school for dancing though. I think I want to go to school to learn more about marketing and business. But I do want to pursue dancing as a career. I want to background dance for big artists. Like, last night I went to the Chris Brown concert and I was like, “Oh my gosh I should totally be up there with those dancers.” I want to continue tap dancing, I want to teach, I want to start my own dance studio when I’m older. I just want to continue dancing and traveling and showing people that this is my passion and that this is what I want to do.
Coffee or tea?
Tea. I’m more of a tea person.
What was the last song you listened to on Spotify/Apple Music?
On Apple Music, the last song that I listened to was Beauty Doesn’t Cry by Jaquees.
What’s something special about Seattle’s dance scene?
Well, this is kind of a bad thing and a good thing. The thing about Seattle is that the black dance community here is so small in comparison to the white dance community. With that being said, although it sucks that we have a very small black community, it makes it to where you can really build and work with the ther black people and get to know them. I feel like I’ve met some really cool black artists who dance. I’ve really made a connection with them. I feel like, because the black dance community is so small, it allows us to kind of build a family dynamic within each other. So yeah, it’s kind of like a good thing and a bad thing.
Is there any other type of art you like to do or would like to try?
I would like to try acting. I would also like to try… I don’t know. Singing is always kind of scary because you’re either good at it or you’re not. It’s hard to work at it. But I would say acting, just to become more well rounded.
What has been your favorite movie so far from 2018?
Definitely Black Panther. Definitely. Yeah. Black Panther all the way. It was so amazing in so many ways. There’s been a lot of controversy about it because some people feel like the ending was the most annoying part about it. But, honestly, I was just only looking at the positive side. I feel like that was the first movie that portrayed black people in a very strong way. It just made me feel so proud to be black. I definitely went through a period… well… I didn’t hate being black, but I just hated aspects of being black, if that makes sense. So, when Black Panther came out, I loved everything. I love everything about being black. I love my culture, I love everything about where my ancestors came from, I’m so proud to be black. Definitely when Black Panther came out, my black excellence soared.
And finally, how would you say that you’re connected to Seattle’s art scene?
I do tap dancing and tap dancing is not big here in Seattle at all. It’s very concentrated. It’s like, my dance studio and then a sprinkle of it everywhere else. So I feel like, I help bring something that’s
not very big here. I just was apart of this work called “Black Bois” and it was a piece about the experience of being born in a black male body and pretty much you’re experience of what it’s like and interacting with other people who were born into these black male bodies. It was a very interesting show. I learned a lot about me and about my own sexuality. I got to connect with other people and how it felt growing up a certain way and having to be contained in this box. So, I feel like I definitely helped share the narrative growing up in this black male body and that was a very good experience. I feel like that connects me a lot to Seattle’s art scene.