"Dance is strongly influenced by culture", co-author Nick Neave told Popular Science, "so there may be some cultural differences in specific movements or gestures". "Hip movements are a key feature of female movements, and the more feminine you are, the larger and more expressive your hip movements".
The whole thing is certainly biased towards what males look for in female dance moves, but the study revealed that swaying hips, asymmetrical thigh movements, and utilizing independent arm movements were the most attractive qualities.
The team also notes that sexy dancers can use variable combinations to heat up the dance floor, so you're not stuck with one simple set of moves. After determining the five highest and five lowest dancers, two observers trained in the biomechanical analysis of human movement then surveyed these clips and identified which joint angles were best distinguishable among the dancers.
As for why asymmetric arm and thigh movement is so appealing, consider how hard it is to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time.
"By moving your arms and legs asymmetrically you are displaying high level motor control and lack of neurological dysfunction", he added.
If the objective of dancing well is to show off your mating value, then the flawless amount of asymmetrical movements signals that you have excellent motor control (too much is also bad, as it could be a sign of a neurological disorder). The participants were then asked to rate the dancing on a scale of one to seven.
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The authors compared the ratings to measurements of the dancers' moves.
Six years ago the researchers conducted a similar study but with men.
They found that the top rated male dancers have plenty of upper body movement incorporated into their moves.
The researchers found men and women were in "very strong agreement" about which avatars represented "good" and "bad" dancers.
And the researchers have lofty ambitions for the future of movement studies.
How about bad dancing moves? "Can you detect threat in the way someone moves?"
The research is published this week in Nature.