Psychologists based at Northumbria University in the U.K. have determined the “sexiest” female dance moves. According to a study published in Scientific Reports, results indicate that “the best female dance moves are centered around the hips, thighs, and arms.” This is in contrast to the sexiest male dance moves, which a previous study determined to be centralized around the upper body. Here’s a nice summation of the female results from Popular Science:
The study’s judges gave higher ratings to dances that included bigger swings of the hips, and asymmetrical leg movements—meaning the two legs were moving differently. They also preferred medium levels of asymmetric arm movements, which study co-author Nick Neave says was somewhat surprising.
See, swinging your hips is an “emphatically feminine trait” that tends to attract males, while the ability to move your arms independently can indicate that most desirable of qualities: good motor control. The study hilariously adds, “[S]o long as this limb independence does not verge on uncontrolled pathological movement.”
Here’s an example of good dancing. Warning: This video is extremely sexy.
Bad dancing, on the other hand, looks like this. Warning: This video is not sexy.
For the study, the scientists had 39 female college students dance to the drumbeat of a Robbie Williams song, the most British of aging pop icons. They then used motion-capture technology to record the dance moves before mapping them onto the digital avatars above. This ensured the “judges” wouldn’t factor body type into their ratings of the best dancing. Clever, that.
Because they’ve apparently never seen Flashdance, the scientists spend a great deal of time pontificating on dancing’s “evolutionary function,” with ample time spent on dancing’s relationship to a woman’s 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.
Typically feminine traits tend to enhance rated attractiveness, and may help viewers identify fecund females; fertility (indexed by a woman’s phase in the ovulatory cycle) might be apparent in movement.
In an interview with Popular Science, Neave elaborates:
“Dance is strongly influenced by culture,” says Neave, “so there may be some cultural differences in specific movements or gestures.” However, he says, people generally tend to agree on who’s a good dancer and who’s a bad dancer. “So the basic idea that dance moves are able to convey honest information about the reproductive qualities of the dancer in question appears sound.”
What the study fails to note is that not everybody wants a child. Some people? They just want to dance.