Tyne & Wear

Good dancing is 'sign of male strength', study says

Heterosexual men eye up other men's physical qualities from their dance moves - just as women do - researchers in Newcastle have found.

The Northumbria University study used 3D technology to capture the moves of 30 men aged between 19 and 37 who danced to a simple drum beat.

The results showed that women were drawn to strong arm and torso moves.

But they showed men were also conscious of strong upper body movements - making it easier to detect "love rivals".

The study, published in the American Journal of Human Biology, involved dancers being converted into virtual characters - avatars - and rated by women and men on perceived dance and physical qualities.

'Strength and virility'

Lead researcher Dr Nick Neave said: "Although it is traditionally thought that signals given off by men when they dance have been designed - like animal mating displays - to be interpreted as clues of their physical attributes to the opposite sex, it seems that heterosexual men are also making use of these signals, presumably to detect a potential love rival.

"This increased sensitivity to male qualities by other heterosexual men may be due to them sizing up the strength and virility of their competition.

"Dance quality was positively associated with actual grip strength and these clues of upper-body strength were most accurately picked up by male observers.

"Upper body strength is highly related to fighting ability as it reflects the ability to do damage. The ability to gauge strength before potential conflicts is sensible, especially to other males."

The next stage of the ongoing research project will involve a study of 80 women who have been similarly mapped while dancing.

Dr Neave said the study hoped to give clues as to how the fertility of women was perceived.

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