get your groove on
The next time you're ready to bust a move on the dance floor, consider what science says looks good. For the study, published Thursday in Scientific Reports, British researchers asked 39 female university students to dance alone to a drum beat while researchers followed the movements with a motion-capture camera. The scientists then animated each woman as an avatar to isolate the dance moves and eliminate any opinions based on physical features. They then asked 200 people to rate the best dancer.
Here she is:
By comparison, this is what the worst dancer looked like:
"It turns out that the moves judged the best for women involve wide swings of the hips and asymmetrical leg movements, where the right and left limbs are moving independently from each other," Vice writes. "These should be coupled with moderate amounts of asymmetrical arm movements, although it doesn't sound very sexy when you put it that way."
Dancing in general is a little puzzling to scientists because its evolution is a bit of a mystery, although it might have originated from ancient courtship rituals. The reason "wide swinging hips" are attractive in female dancers is possibly because "when you look at males and females walking, the key difference is, males have this shoulder swing and females have this hip swing," Nick Neave of Northumbria University told The New York Times. And those asymmetric limb movements? They signal good motor control.
But widely speaking, the attractive dance moves serve two major purposes: "One is, they're showing off their reproductive quality, perhaps their hormonal status, to males," said Neave. "Another is, they're showing off how good they are to female rivals."
Researchers did a much earlier study on what moves make male dancers attractive; you can find those results here.