Scientists identify sexy dance moves


Active Member
I think their methodology is seriously flawed. The difference between the bad and the good dancer is smoothness and rhythm of movement, posture, flexibility, and involvement of the whole body in the dance. If they somehow recorded the parts of the dummy the women were looking at most, it's because those are the parts of his body that dancer was accenting his movements with. Another good dancer might use his other knee or hand! I don't think the scientists know anything about dancing.
I have been following this research for a while and find it interesting. The study is a serious one that uses brain mapping to see what people respond to. The scientists aren't trying to make people better dancers, they are looking at why we behave the way we do and why we find each other interesting. Unfortunately, a quick news report doesn't give the full story. I've got a collection of articles on this and other dance research that is being done. If I were a guy in a bar and I was trying to attract the attention of a particular woman, I would want to dance like avatar A and not B. Let's hope he loves dancing and joins our ranks. Chances are he'll catch his girl and watch enjoy watching sports and drinking beer at home. I wish my imaginary couple the best whatever they choose to do.

All joking aside, I do believe there is a place for science to have a conversation with the arts. I recently read Physics and the Art of Dance by Kenneth Laws and found it helpful. (The form he talks about is ballet.)

If anyone would like a link to the articles I've collected, I would be happy to share a link to the collection.
If anyone would like a link to the articles I've collected, I would be happy to share a link to the collection.
That would be greatly appreciated, if you don't mind!:) Not that I remotely care about looking sexy when I dance, but I'm an inquisitive chap... and 'good' dancer and 'sexy' dancer will likely have a large amount of overlap.


Well-Known Member
Anything that popularizes dance is good. Naturally it is simplified and body motion is only part of the picture. Facial expression - aura of confidence - is critical. I've seen people do little but with such panache ;-) that the outshone others with the moves.
That would be greatly appreciated, if you don't mind!:) Not that I remotely care about looking sexy when I dance, but I'm an inquisitive chap... and 'good' dancer and 'sexy' dancer will likely have a large amount of overlap.

This is my bookmarking site. There are about 28 links to various studies. These are general articles anyone can read. They often refer to research articles in Scientific Publications and you can't get into many of them without purchasing the article. Those are often not cheap and I can't link you into those. Anyone is welcome to use the site. I catalog dance info I find on line for my own use anyway and am happy to share. I add stuff every week. Hope you find something interesting.
These are great articles. Thanks, Linda!
The link did work then? I never know if I doing things right on the forum. I push wrong buttons and always hope I don't do things that step on anyones toes. This is a great site for sharing information. While I have strong opinions of my own on a lot of things, I enjoy hearing what other people think and I like to share my findings and opinions. I grew up with a rotary phone on a party line, remember when my family got their first black and white television, so I still have a childlike wonder at all the communication tools my grand daughter takes for granted.
The abstract of the study itself (published in the Royal Society Biology Letters) is here. It's very expensive now but will become available for free in a year's time along with other articles in the same issue.

As has already been said, they weren't trying to find out how to make a person dance better, they were trying to find out how (non dance-trained) women decide whether they think (non dance-trained) men are "good" or "bad" dancers, on a scale of 1 to 7. So they were trying to work out what "good" or "bad" meant for those women in that context, and whether whatever that was might also be telling the woman anything about the men's health or other qualities. Apparently they measured quite a few people, but two illustrative videos are on the Royal Society's Youtube channel, here and here.

I think their method is OK as far as it goes. I don't find their hypothesis particularly interesting, as they weren't interested in the dance itself at all; but I would be extremely interested to know if the same results also applied to different forms of dance, especially partner dancing. They found, for instance, that the importance of arm and leg movement was much less than they expected it to be, compared to movements of the torso; and more broadly, that repetitive and stereotypical moves were considered bad. All of which seems to me as though it might generalise to all of the forms of dance I'm at familiar with.

Steve Pastor

Staff member
I wonder if they realize that their "Bad dancer" is doing a pretty close approximation of (some) Native American dance? Of course I don't think the purpose of that dance was to be attractive to women. (There are many "fancy dances" that are a lot more strenous, etc.)

I think it's interesting, too, that Elvis mostly shook his Left leg, and it didn't seem to matter. Here's one example.

Still and all, an interesting study.
Yes, they are over-simplifying if they think that women always look at a certain knee or hand. Everyone looks at whatever body part the dancer is using to accent his movement. It just so happens that this dancer used his right knee more. When I was watching the bad dancer, I looked at his head and arms the most, because they were sticking out from his otherwise-lumpish body. That doesn't mean I thought they were sexy!
Only a control group of 35 women? And only 19 dances? Sounds like it's open for alot of cultural/racial bias. JK, it's actually pretty cool, but yeah, I'd take it with a grain of salt.
The first time I saw this study last fall, I couldn't stop laughing at the avatar examples. Besides the fact that these dances are restricted to moves that are generally seen in clubs (or discotheques, or whatever), they don't seem particularly "up to date". In the "good dancer" example, did anybody else identify the Running Man and the Sprinkler? :cool:

If those were general examples of good dancing, then maybe I should get my pro to add the Sprinkler into my next showcase routine... for International Standard Waltz. :cool::wink::cool:

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