Want to know if your dance moves look sexy to the opposite sex? One team of researchers at Northumbria University conducted a study that pinpoints the kind of moves women make on the dance floor that look good to heterosexual guys.
Published in Scientific Reports, the researchers asked 39 female college students to dance to a beat from a song by Robbie Williams – a popular British singer. The subjects’ dance moves were recorded with motion-capture technology and mapped onto a computerized avatar. Then a group of heterosexual men and women were shown the avatars to judge the moves.
The conclusion? The judges rated moves with bigger hip swings and asymmetrical thigh movements as the best. They also liked seeing an intermediate amount of asymmetric arm movements; just enough to show healthy motor coordination but not so much to indicate the dancer might be out of control.
Just check out this winning dance:
In contrast, here’s one that didn’t score as highly:
Scientists have long studied the significance of dance in courtship. It could play a vital role in picking partners because of what it can say about the dancer’s health, personality, and fertility.
“In women, there is some evidence that dance attractiveness might reflect fertility: women’s dance is rated more attractive during high-fertility than low-fertility, and female lap-dancers earn more tips around ovulation,” the research paper states.
That could explain why more exaggerated hip movements are considered more attractive in female dancing.
And what about the men, you ask? Don’t worry, this same team of researchers previously conducted a study looking at what makes for more attractive dance moves in men. For the guys, it’s all about variability in the way they bend and twist the torso along with speed in the legs. So moves that showed both strength and some creative character were better rated.
Interestingly, male judges of male dancers were able to make accurate associations between a dancer’s hand grip strength and their perceived dance quality. Even though judges were looking at the same avatar for every dancer, they still gave higher dance ratings to men with greater upper body strength.
Lead researcher on the study, Dr. Nick Neave, put it this way: “Rated dance quality was positively associated with actual grip strength and these clues of upper-body strength were most accurately picked up by male observers. This ability to discern upper-body strength is principally because men are looking for cues of ‘formidability’ in other males.”
Sounds a bit more overtly competitive than for the ladies. In any case, if all of this is too much for you to be thinking about next time you’re shimmying on the dance floor then don’t sweat it. It’s hard to go wrong with just listening to the beat and having fun.