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Last updated at 14:32 BST, Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Dad Dancing


10 September 2010

British people are frequently embarrassed by their fathers' dancing, so the term 'dad dancing' now means bad moves on the dance floor. Scientists at Northumbria University have analysed what makes dancing attractive to women.

Pallab Ghosh

Scene from Strictly Come Dancing TV programme

What do your moves say about you?


Click to hear the report:


The researchers asked young men to dance in a laboratory to a very basic drum rhythm. Their dances were played back to a group of women who rated them on a scale of one to seven.

The researchers had expected that the movement of arms, legs and hands would be important as they can often convey expressive gestures.

But instead they found that there was a greater focus on the torso, neck and the head. And higher ratings were given for variation and mixing up dance moves. What went down badly though were twitchy and repetitive movements – often called 'dad dancing'.

The researchers also found from blood tests on the dancers that those who had good moves were in better physical condition.

And so, as is the case with courtship rituals with wild animals, dancing ability may well be a way of assessing a suitable mate.

Pallab Ghosh, BBC science correspondent


Click to hear the vocabulary



evaluated, graded




the main part of the body, not including the head, arms or legs

mixing up


went down badly

was thought bad


sudden and nervous

physical condition

bodily health

courtship rituals

actions and ceremonies that attract a male or female to have babies



suitable mate

good partner to have babies