How to OWN the dancefloor



It's a question that has plagued humanity through the ages: What moves make all the difference when you hit the dance floor?

Finally, science has the definitive answer.

Researchers have found that the sexiest dancers move their hips a lot, and shift their arms and thighs independently of one another.

Researchers from the Northumbria University pinpointed three kinds of movement that are key to how a woman's dance moves were rated.

In their study, women who swung their hips a lot when dancing had their moves rated higher than those who kept them still.

The research also found that more asymmetric thigh movements were rated highly.

And a medium level of asymmetric arms movements got the crowd going too.

'The movements are honest signals as to the physical capabilities of the mover,' psychology associate professor at Northumbria University and lead-author of the paper Dr Nick Neave told MailOnline.

'Hip swing is a very feminine trait, so by swinging your hips more you are displaying your femininity.

'By moving your arms and legs asymmetrically you are displaying high level motor control and lack of neurological dysfunction.

'If you can move your limbs independently, slightly out of phase and with different gestures and flourishes then you are showing of a high level of motor control and also perhaps flair, intelligence and creativity.'

The researchers used 3D motion-capture technology to record the dance moves of 39 women as they each boogied to a basic drum beat.


The authors took the movements made by the women and rendered them onto 3D avatars.

'If you ask people to rate video clips of people dancing they can be biased by their physical appearance, body size, skin colour, clothing etc,' Dr Neave told MailOnline.

'So we convert all of our dancers into featureless avatars so that we know our raters can only be judging someone on how they move.'

Fifty seven men and 143 women were then asked to rate the dancing ability of each of the 39 avatars based on a 15 second section of video footage.

The authors compared the ratings to measurements of the dancers' moves.

The team have looked at the best and worst male dance moves previously, too.

They found that the top rated male dancers have plenty of upper body movement incorporated into their moves.

Male physical strength is accurately conveyed by dancing, so stronger men make better dancers, which could be an evolutionary advantage to women looking for a mate.

And the researchers have lofty ambitions for the future of movement studies.

'At present the scientific understanding of human body movements and how they relate to things like attractiveness, health, reproductive status and pathology are in their infancy,' Dr Neave told MailOnline.

'We are trying to develop accurate methods and statistical techniques to discriminate between movements that are perceived to be "good" in dancing and walking.

'We can then apply those techniques to other lines of enquiry – i.e. "Can you detect threat in the way someone moves?" "Can you detect mental illness or neurodegenerative diseases before some shows the symptoms?" etc.'

(according to science): Swing your hips and use wild, asymmetric moves

  • Researchers have found which dance moves are best and worst in women
  • Three kinds of movement were key to how each dance move was rated 
  • Ladies who swing their hips a lot and have asymmetric thigh and arm movements had the highest rated moves



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