Men hoping to impress the ladies on the dance floor need to remember just a few things: keep that head and chest moving, and go big or go home.

That's essentially the conclusions of a new study from British and German researchers who say they have narrowed down the exact dance moves that appeal to women the most.

To reach their conclusions, the researchers filmed 19 men, aged 18-35, with a 3D camera as they danced to a basic drum beat. They then mapped their movements onto featureless avatars, or humanoid characters.

Next, they asked a group of 37 heterosexual women to rate the avatars' dance moves by watching 15-second clips of each dancer and then judging them on a scale of one to seven, from extremely bad to extremely good.

The researchers then narrowed down the key moves that made for "good" dancing. And they say it all comes down to just a few key variables. These were:

  • wider and bigger movements of the neck, trunk, left shoulder and wrist
  • variability of movement size of the neck, trunk and left wrist
  • speed of movement of the right knee (80 per cent of the dancers favoured their right leg).

A "good" dancer thus displays larger and more variable movements in relation to bending and twisting movements of their head/neck and torso, and faster bending and twisting movements of their right knee.

"This is the first study to show objectively what differentiates a good dancer from a bad one," study author and psychologist Dr. Nick Neave of Britain's Northumbria University said in a statement.

"Men all over the world will be interested to know what moves they can throw to attract women."

Neave said the research helps hone in which areas of the body females are looking at when they are making a judgment about "male dance attractiveness."

"If a man knows what the key moves are, he can get some training and improve his chances of attracting a female through his dance style," he said.

Neave said he believed such dance movements may form signals of a man's health, vigour or strength.

The study is published in Biology Letters, a journal of the Royal Society, Britain's academy of science.

Good dancing avatar:

Bad dancing avatar: