A team of psychologists in the UK, a country known to produce such terrible dancers as Ricky Gervais and Dame Judy Dench, has gotten together to scientifically analyze what makes a bad dancer bad and a good dancer good.  

It turns out that, like investing, you’re going to want to diversify. A bad dancer moves very few body parts and the body parts that he does move, move similarly. Think about a guys bobbing around drunk listening to blues. No good. A good dancer on the other hand moves all or most of his body parts, and moves them all on different axis. Probably like in Step Up 3D or something. You should also probably not dance alone in front of a mirror…at a bar.   

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The researchers put 19 male volunteers into motion capture suits, had them dance however they wanted to a simple drum beat, then had their dancing put onto an avatar which washed out their height, body shape, etc. so that the panel of 37 straight women would be able to judge just the dancing. The results were clear. Here’s the scientists’ advice as reported by the Guardian.

"It’s rare that someone is described as a good dancer if they are flinging their arms about but not much else," said Nick Neave, a psychologist at the University of Northumbria, who led the study.

"Think about a head banger. Their head movement has a large amplitude, but it’s not changing direction or showing any kind of variability. That’s a bad dancer. Or someone who is just twisting and turning left and right? That’s a bad dancer too."