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So You Think You Can Dance? Science Knows For Sure.

Researchers in Europe uncover the key to looking cool on the dance floor

So You Think You Can Dance? Science Knows For Sure.

image via (cc) flickr user re-Verse

For some people, dancing comes easily – their bodies just seem to know how to move. For others, it’s is the sort of thing that either requires serious practice, or the willingness to admit defeat and realize that, hey maybe dancing just isn’t your thing. I, for instance, fall squarely in that last group. Anytime I’m dragged out onto the dance floor at a party or wedding, my default move is to shuffle around just enough to plausibly pass for “dancing,” while trying to call as little attention to myself as possible. With a little luck I’ll loosen up and just enjoy myself, but there’s a part of me that will never, ever, feel totally comfortable.


I (and anyone who has ever seen me) would readily admit that what I’m doing would probably be considered “bad” dancing. Now a group of European researchers can prove it – with science.

In a paper titled “Male Dance Moves That Catch A Woman’s Eye,” teams from the UK’s Northumbria University and Germany’s University Göttingen determined that, for men trying to impress women, the key to good dancing could be as simple as bending your right knee a little more. To reach this conclusion, the researchers asked 19 non-professional male dancers to boogie to a simple beat in front of a motion capture rig. Once animated (thereby stripping the dancers of any distracting factors like looks, clothing, etc) the dancing was shown to – and rated by – a group of women, the data from whom was crunched based on factors like speed and variability of movement. Business Insider has a great video that illustrates the findings:

There you have it – The key to good dancing is bigger, more varied movement.

Well, that, or not caring how you look, and just having fun.

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