Ladies: Dancing Skills Hint at a Healthier Mate

Men who move their neck and torso more when dancing are perceived as sexier.

ByABC News
September 8, 2010, 2:08 PM

Sept. 9, 2010— -- If men want to drive women wild on the dance floor, they can forget about those jazz hands or doing the robot.

According to a new study, sexy dancing is all about moving the torso and shaking some booty.

"We found that [women paid more attention to] the core body region: the torso, the neck, the head -- so someone who is twisting, bending, moving, nodding," lead author Nick Neave, an evolutionary psychologist at Northumbria University in the United Kingdom, told

British and German researchers filmed 19 men aged 18 to 35 with multiple cameras and then turned that dancing into a gender-neutral computer animation avatar.

The dancing avatars, which showed no sign of the original age, height or attractiveness of the male volunteers, were evaluated as "good" or "bad" dancers by 37 heterosexual women.

Researchers found that women's perception of dance quality were influenced by large and varied movements of the neck and trunk and, oddly enough, speed of right knee movements. Preliminary results from blood work on the male dancers also suggested that those rated the better dancers were in better health than their less-coordinated peers.

But men shouldn't worry about perfecting their rhythmic head nods and knee bounces just yet, dance experts and evolutionary psychologists say. There's a lot more to attractive dancing than a few key body movements.

Age, dance confidence and level of self-esteem, as well as compatibility with dance styles all are more likely to influence how attractive any given woman might find you on the dance floor, said Peter Lovatt, a cognitive psychologist and ex-professional dancer at University of Hertfordshire in the U.K.

Given the limited sample size used in Neave's study, he warned against drawing to definitive conclusions about what makes a man a hotshot on the dance floor.

"There are no magic moves that are sexy to everyone," he said. "One woman might find you repulsive and another might find you attractive even if you're doing the same dance."