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Dance code to impress the ladies

Dance code to impress the ladies

Taking a cue from UK evolutionary biologists who've cracked the dance code to impress the ladies, a Mumbai choreographer helps you master the moves

If naturalist Charles Darwin walked into a Mumbai club, he'd be wooing the ladies with his boogie. A study by researchers at Northumbria University in the UK has concluded that a man's ability to dance well plays a role in choosing a quality mate. It's survival of the slickest.

They recruited 30 men to dance to a simple drum beat for 30 seconds. Dancers were not 
given any instructions, and a motion-capture system recorded their movements. To weed out bias (looks, clothing and socioeconomic class), the routine was converted into a "featureless, gender-neutral" computer-generated avatar. A focus group of 37 ladies watched a silent video and rated the guys on a seven-point scale.

The results published last month were based on the scores and corresponding body movements in addition to tempo. It was found that women preferred men who moved their head, neck and torso more than their feet. Dr Nick Neave of the university's psychology department, says this is because the moves suggests upper body strength, an attribute women find attractive. Speed is important as it conveys vigour.

Mumbai choreographer Madan Kumar, an instructor at Bandra's Madmax Academy of Dance, draws parallels with the study. "Latin dance forms are considered the sexiest — salsa in particular — because it involves extensive upper body movement." Correspondingly, men look for women who shake their hips well, since it conveys fertility.

Kumar says the key is to learn basic moves, go with natural body flow, and build up confidence. "Follow the beat. In any partnered dance, the girl does most of the work. You are the hanger against which she shows off her skills and looks," he says.

Keep it simple 
For men looking to make an impression at a social setting (a wedding or a night at the club), keep your movements basic. Styling (adding small movements to embellish the basic steps) will distinguish you from the crowd. Most clubs tend to play hip-hop or Bollywood, says Kumar. "The first step is to dress right so that you are able to move fluidly. The second is to smell good, especially when dancing in a packed house." A cap with jeans-and-tee for a hip hop night are fine; knuckle rings and bling might be an overkill.

Regardless of whether you are dancing in a group or with a partner, attitude is key.

Keep your chin up, let your limbs relax and move naturally to the base beat. Use the floor space available to move around. "Dance is communication. So you need to seem amicable and open to 'conversation'," says Kumar.

When dirty dancing 
If you are partnering with a woman, your movements need to be softer. You don't want to punch her while trying to pop a Justin Timberlake move. Don't overdo the proximity. Make sure she is comfortable at all times. "It's important to maintain eye contact and smile. Sing along if you know the song," he says.

Men don't need to sweat at not being able to move your hips. Hip movement is associated with femininity; you don't need to master it.

All bets are off, however, as soon as the DJ turns on his Bollywood playlist. "It's the most difficult to choreograph because everyone starts emulating the hero in the video," sighs Kumar. But that's not a bad thing. The chemistry associated with most filmi numbers leads the couple to instantly enact the romancing duo, which works in your favour.

But always remember, standing out isn't a great thing (unless you are John Travolta). The secret lies in blending in and not being 'that guy who tried to pull an MJ to Daler Mehndi'.

The 4 step never fails move: 
1. Hands bent at the waist, move your left hip out by taking one step forward. Repeat using alternate hand and leg combination. The idea is to use the small circle of space around you without stepping on people's toes.

2. To add style to a simple move and make it impressive, add a slight shoulder movement while stepping forward. Think of it as drawing the figure '8' with your shoulder blades. Be subtle and smooth. You don't want to come across as having a seizure.

3. Be sure to keep your palms open in a natural manner. Eyes open, chin up and smile or sing along.

4. You can follow this up with moving your feet sideways to the beat. Vary your actions so you aren't doing the same step throughout the night.

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