Leading article: Body talk

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The Independent Online

The secrets of the dance have been unlocked. Researchers at Northumbria University claim to have identified what makes a male dancer attractive to a member of the opposite sex.

Apparently some of the crucial components of a successful male display are the speed of the right knee, and the size of movement of the neck, trunk, left shoulder and wrist. One can only hope that no man takes that little summary too literally, or we could be looking at a few accidents on the dancefloor.

The researchers stress that creativity is important too. But perhaps some scepticism is in order here. David Brent's athletic dance in The Office was stunningly creative, yet seemed to do him little good. The Northumbria team also, quite unaccountably, fail to mention the sporadic crotch-grabbing that Michael Jackson – one of the world's most revered dancers – deployed in every routine.

It is also a pity that the researchers apparently confined themselves to analysing what is attractive about male dancing. For as Ronald Reagan's former aide, Faith Whittlesey, wisely pointed out, "Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels".

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