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Science reveals the best dance moves for women

Friday, February 10, 2017 12:16
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We all know guys can impress the ladies by having “Moves Like Jagger,” but new research published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports reveals exactly how guys (and gals) should dance in order to maximize their potential sexiness.

For males, the best moves are focused on the upper body, while for females, the hips, thighs, and arms are key, psychologists from Northumbria University in the UK and their colleagues learned by using a highly-scientific method involving motion-capture technology and digital avatars.

As Engadget and Popular Science explained, the researchers used 3D motion-capture technology to record women dancing to a song by British recording artist Robbie Williams, then mapped the footage onto digitally-created characters in order to eliminate other variables, such as clothing or hairstyle. The footage was then shown to groups of heterosexual men and women.

The researchers found three movement types that contributed to attractive female dancing, they reported in their new study: greater hip swing, asymmetric thigh movements and an intermediate amount of asymmetric arm movements to go along with the independent hip and leg motions.

“Hip swing is a trait that identifies female movement,” they explained, and the ability to move independently (asymmetrically) “may attest to well-developed motor control” provided it “does not verge into uncontrolled pathological movement. We also found that the same level of dance quality could be predicted by different combinations of dance features.”

Sexiness of these moves may vary by gender, culture

As Engadget noted, corresponding author Nick Neave and his colleagues believe that the value placed on hip swing and independent thigh movements is due to a perceived link between motor control and fertility – but they warn that most attractive moves may also vary by culture.

“Dance is strongly influenced by culture, so there may be some cultural differences in specific movements or gestures,” Neave told Popular Science. In general, though, he said people tend to agree on the topic. “The basic idea that dance moves are able to convey honest information about the reproductive qualities of the dancer in question appears sound.”

“Previous research has shown that male dance quality can be predicted by variability in the amplitude of neck and trunk movements together with the speed of movement of the right knee,” the authors wrote. “Here, using cutting-edge motion-capture technology combined with powerful multi-level models, we have uncovered a set of specific movement parameters associated with perceived female dance quality.”

The researchers noted that while men and women generally rated dance moves consistently, they did notice some statistically significant differences between the two sexes. This is likely because heterosexual males are evaluating the dancers in terms of their potential as partners, while the females might be looking at the performers as rivals or potential competitors.

“Future work might examine whether dance attractiveness differs according to variables that distinguish individuals in terms of their value or potential as a partner or competitor,” the study authors said. “Previous work has found that the physical traits of a single individual tend to be awarded similar ratings of attractiveness, suggesting that traits function as a single ornament of partner quality. Dance might be another part of this ornament.”


Image credit: Thinkstock

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