Do you love me, now that I can dance?
September 7, 2010 7:26 PM   Subscribe

Scientists use science to scientifically determine what makes a good dancer. With bonus computer-generated dancing!
posted by oinopaponton (55 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
That bad dancer/good dancer simulation is awesome.
posted by roll truck roll at 7:28 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've been spending the last 20 minutes rewatching the video. So what?
posted by oinopaponton at 7:29 PM on September 7, 2010


Needs more Celery Man.
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:32 PM on September 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


What, no robot?
posted by axiom at 7:35 PM on September 7, 2010


You know, now that this is shown via SCIENCE I kinda have a clue why I'm such a lousy dancer.
posted by maxwelton at 7:41 PM on September 7, 2010


Coming up next, on Metafilter; Dancers dance the Dougie to rhythmically determine what makes a good scientist.
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:42 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


This will work out like the Pick Up Artist routines, it will work at first, until the girls start recognizing the specific moves from the video, over and over again.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:45 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yay, science has been able to replicate how badly I dance. I hope this research leads to a rhythm pill.
posted by Memo at 7:46 PM on September 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Flexing the trunk while dancing may be attractive, but we need to show it is indicative of a better quality male using an independent measure of biological quality.

-Dwight Schrute
posted by Casimir at 7:50 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I dunno, the good dancer in the video just seems to be doing more complex dancing. It seems like they could've included a few more examples in that video to better illustrate the differences between good and bad dancing, rather than just pitting one good dancer vs. one bad dancer. Would've been a lot more fun to watch over and over again, too—and I say that as someone who usually avoids even brief video in FPPs.
posted by limeonaire at 7:51 PM on September 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Free your ass and your mind will follow - and so will the dance moves.

Most people make the mistake of never actually using their pelvis. You just have to let that part go all swingy and shake it and the rest just naturally follows. You don't even have to do anything with your hands as long as you know how to shake your ass. If you can't feel your ass-jowls flapping around you're still doing it wrong.
posted by loquacious at 7:52 PM on September 7, 2010 [13 favorites]


Sir, do not presume to tell me how to shake my own ass-jowls.

I just wanted to say ass-jowls
posted by Casimir at 7:57 PM on September 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


I don't know if I'm a "good" dancer, per se, but I know that I'm a pretty fearless dancer, and I haven't gotten any complaints. (Occasionally even a compliment or two!) So my number one tip is to be willing to make an ass out of yourself.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:59 PM on September 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Dammit now I, too, want to say "ass-jowls."
posted by Navelgazer at 7:59 PM on September 7, 2010


Before actually following the link, all I could think was "Don't let it be the Ally McBeal baby... Don't let it be the Ally McBeal baby..."

After following the link... I think those models are the Ally McBeal baby all grown up. Still profoundly creepy. And would it have killed them to add a beat to that video?
posted by maryr at 8:01 PM on September 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Good Dancer totally did the Sprinkler. Validation!
posted by Solon and Thanks at 8:05 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


This totally fits into my theory that the Bell Curve of Drunken Dancing exists. TBCDD is based on science, if you consider science to include 'things I made up in my head once when I was at a wedding and also had been drinking very heavily.' The same night may or may not have lead to the creation of a little routine called 'The Palpation'--and if you have an idea of what I do, or you've read James Herriot, or even seen the Hokey Pokey, you just thought about what that might look like, and I'm sorry. I'm just establishing that credentials were maaaybe checked with the coats.

Anyway, the Bell Curve of Drunken Dancing only applies to people who are not well-trained dancers. It is slightly more applicable to men than women.

There is a point partway through a night out when people suddenly start becoming better dancers. I mean objectively better dancers. It's not just because people are less judgmental when they've had a couple of drinks--it's because the first couple of drinks make the average non-dancer better, because as disinhibition kicks in, and they relax, they move a bit more fluidly, and they also tend to follow their movements through. (Incomplete moves look really rough and choppy.)

OTOH, if you're an advanced/well-trained dancer, any alcohol will impair your objective performance, because you don't have this problem of 'trying not to look and feel stupid on the dance floor.' The impairment of your motor skills is not compensated for by your inflated sense of style and flair. You just get progressively worse. Probably not enough to stand out, but you are on the losing end. For (most of) the rest of us, disinhibition and inflated confidence that we won't look like total assholes improves us. So, when the majority of the crowd is at a similar level of near-inebriation, suddenly everyone around you IS a better dancer, and more importantly, so are you. The level hovers around 'not totally catastrophic' for a bit, peaks, and then begins a long slide into chaos begins as people hit their respective levels of alcohol-fueled ataxia and/or exhaustion.

Of course, the entire thing gets shot to hell if one member of the crowd is too far ahead of the rest, and that person horks all over the floor.

It's science, because I say so.
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 8:05 PM on September 7, 2010 [23 favorites]


Ass-jowls.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:07 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


What Uniformitarianism Now! said.
posted by conifer at 8:09 PM on September 7, 2010


And would it have killed them to add a beat to that video?

I'm really hoping that, before the time this thread closes, someone will have set the video to some sick-ass music.
posted by oinopaponton at 8:21 PM on September 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hmm, there's not enough bumping and grinding in this simulation. Did they remember to control for a hot sweaty overcapacity dance floor and hype shit goin crazy an shit? I was under the impression that most of the definitive research on this matter was already in: free your mind and your ass with follow.
posted by fuq at 8:21 PM on September 7, 2010


Dancing is what other people do for my amusement.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:27 PM on September 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Basically if you can dance to this you can dance good
posted by The Whelk at 8:31 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love dancing so much that I don't have a spirit animal - I have a spirit BPM. Science doesn't need to tell me I was born to do it or whether I'm good.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:32 PM on September 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Did they remember to control for a hot sweaty overcapacity dance floor and hype shit goin crazy an shit?

Study participants were selected by birthday, told to party as if it were their birthday, provided complementary birthday Bacardi to drink, and not to give a fuck if it were not, in fact, their birthday.
posted by maryr at 8:34 PM on September 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


I've often tried to work out why Madonna, Britney Spears and Lady Gaga can all dance technically but look so incompetent doing it, even though people seem to like it.

Still don't know.
posted by shinybaum at 8:47 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I remember standing there when two women were discussing men dancing. The young woman said, "You can tell how good a man is in bed by how good a dancer he is." The older woman said, "Bullshit. That is absolutely not true."
posted by CarlRossi at 8:54 PM on September 7, 2010 [8 favorites]


They should have used this video for 'good dancer'.
posted by Memo at 8:58 PM on September 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


Maybe I'm in the minority, but I don't consider psychologists to be scientists. Scienticians, maybe, but scientists, no.

Also, ass-jowls.
posted by readyfreddy at 9:37 PM on September 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wait, science just scientifically proved that science is a good dancer? I sense bias.
posted by Muddler at 9:48 PM on September 7, 2010


I want there to be something in the world called Jass Owls, but according to Google, there is not, alas.
posted by davejay at 9:49 PM on September 7, 2010


We now have video of the experiment in progress.
posted by lore at 9:57 PM on September 7, 2010


If something gets enough positive peer review*, it becomes SCIENCE!

ass-jowls

*until it gets retracted and no-one is every notified...
posted by porpoise at 9:59 PM on September 7, 2010


Aw, freddy and porpoise, what did I just say about the horking in the middle of the floor? We were having such a good time in here, too. It's cool, everyone, I got gloves on. I'll clean it up.

Look, I'm totes not down with the framing of this study or the sad state of popular science journalism, either, but let's let the pop evo-psychology folk at the Guardian have their fun this one time. They're buying anyway. Plus if their goal is to save us from tragic dancing...we can unite behind this cause, we really can. The enemy of our enemy is our friend.

fun fact: this is how my friend justified entering a science fiction contest sponsored by the L. Ron Hubbard Foundation. He won a prize, which--he explained later--meant that because the foundation is a money-suck for Scientology, he actually siphoned money away from them. I'm not saying that pop evolutionary psychology is equivalent to Scientology, I'm just telling a story. Let's dance!
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 10:05 PM on September 7, 2010


This totally fits into my theory that the Bell Curve of Drunken Dancing exists.

See also: Darts, Billiards, Metafilter commenting.
posted by clearly at 10:18 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've often tried to work out why Madonna, Britney Spears and Lady Gaga can all dance technically but look so incompetent doing it, even though people seem to like it.
I don't know about Spears or Madonna, but I do remember a video with Gaga dancing next to beyonce. It wasn't particularly flattering. here it is on youtube. The choreography is pretty simple. In her own videos, though, her dancing looks OK. I think it's been getting better to over time.
posted by delmoi at 10:22 PM on September 7, 2010


What does science have to say about the Charleston? That's the only way my ass-jowls get anything like a shaking.
posted by brundlefly at 10:22 PM on September 7, 2010


I'm really hoping that, before the time this thread closes, someone will have set the video to some sick-ass music.

I can't promise "sick-ass," but take a look at this hotness.
posted by decagon at 10:31 PM on September 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


The TRS-80 was able to compute this equation many years ago.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:38 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm happy there's a scientific answer to my question.

Also, I would totally hang out with the computer generated "good dancer".
posted by joeyjoejoejr at 10:50 PM on September 7, 2010


Have you guys seen Dr Peter Lovatt? He proves that good dancing does make a guy hot. He goes nebbish middle aged guy to snuggable daddy within 2 minutes of dancing.
posted by helmutdog at 11:29 PM on September 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Next up: scientists use science to scientifically prove that scientists make good scientists.
posted by daniel_charms at 12:40 AM on September 8, 2010


So this is about men. What does science say about ladies of the female persuasion?
What should we be doing with our ass-jowls? Come on, Science.


What does science have to say about the Charleston?


I can't speak for science, but I have concluded that doing the Charleston in my living room is an excellent way to confuse the cats.

Also, guys who can do the Charleston are hot. FACT.


Ass jowls.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:52 AM on September 8, 2010


Men dance like that (shuffling around unhappily) not because it's all we can do, but because it's a mating ritual and in the repressed West we've always been implored to conduct our mating rituals in private.

Yet we are told that we should dance, so we try to look as if we're dancing without actually dancing very much at all.

That's my theory anyway. I much prefer the other mating rituals.
posted by dickasso at 1:41 AM on September 8, 2010 [2 favorites]



I don't know about Spears or Madonna, but I do remember a video with Gaga dancing next to beyonce. It wasn't particularly flattering. here it is on youtube . The choreography is pretty simple. In her own videos, though, her dancing looks OK. I think it's been getting better to over time.
posted by delmoi


So, I just watched that and Beyonce definitely has a better fluidity and flow than Lady Gaga does. Lady Gaga looks awkward whereas Beyonce at least looks like she has it down and it is completely natural for her.

Bias: I am a dancer.
posted by lizarrd at 2:02 AM on September 8, 2010


"You don't even have to do anything with your hands as long as you know how to shake your ass. If you can't feel your ass-jowls flapping around you're still doing it wrong."

And he shook it like a chorus girl
And he shook it like a Harlem queen
He shook it like a midnight rambler,
baby,
Like you never seen

posted by kalimac at 5:11 AM on September 8, 2010


This dancing, it vibrates?
posted by LogicalDash at 5:12 AM on September 8, 2010


Oh damn, I have to say it:

Ass jowls.

'Cuz try as I might, I can't flap my ass-jowls around. Can't do it. So I shall always be a bad dancer, alas.
posted by kinnakeet at 5:44 AM on September 8, 2010


I have a venn diagram with dance moves that I can do and dance moves that were featured in the opening credits of that season of the cosby show where everyone was in formal wear. It is just one circle.
posted by I Foody at 7:03 AM on September 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't believe nobody has done the

Metafilter : If you can't feel your ass-jowls flapping around you're still doing it wrong.

I think they should do a study correlating how early people start dancing as children with how proficient they become as adults. My parents were both socially repressed and I never saw them dance when I was a child. I feel this is a big factor in making me such a terrible dancer. My wife started dancing with our kids for fun as soon as they could stand up and both are quite good as adults.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 7:06 AM on September 8, 2010


I move with energy, ease and natural grace - if there is a ball involved.

There is a direct line from my current loathing of dancing that originates from that 7th grade double date with my friend Raymond and Sue Guptill and Jackie Neames that no molecule can fade or erase. Hearing Steve Miller's "Jungle Love" I am quivering before the first chorus. I'd rather address the DAR wearing nothing but a bejeweled codpiece than dance.

Honda - I love you

A motorcycle and a toothbrush did prevail,
when dance-floor skill did not avail.
Though across the floor more skilled than I did roam,
at night's end on my Honda with me she went home.

posted by vapidave at 7:36 AM on September 8, 2010


Over the years, I've become convinced that, in the same way that some people are tone deaf, I am dance-blind. I've spent hours of my life watching people dance -- people flailing in various clubs, world-class ballet, breakdance, hip-hop, belly dancing -- and I simply do not understand it as a form of expression. Not only can I not see the difference between good and bad dancing (provided the person has a sense of rhythm), I don't understand why people enjoy it. When watching professionals or talented amateurs I can be impressed by the technical skill, but it's just that; I might as well be watching someone putting some shelves up with unusual competence.

Unfortunately, it's socially useful to enjoy dancing, and saying that you can't see the point is just met with incredulity and people saying "just relax and move your hips!", thinking that I'm just too shy. So every time I see an article like this, I'm secretly hoping that someone has come up with a spotters' guide for telling the difference between good and bad dancing and some sort of algorithm to make dance routines, so I/we can at least fake seeing the point behind all the rhythmic flailing.

I don't lose sleep over this, you understand. It's just at the top of my mind after a couple of recent weddings and I wanted something to post so that I, too, could say ass jowls.
posted by metaBugs at 7:37 AM on September 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm a disco dancer and a sweet romancer

also, ass-jowls, 'cause all the cool kids are saying it.
posted by djrock3k at 8:22 AM on September 8, 2010


decagon, thanks to your video, I will have the DDR scorer/announcer voice stuck in my head for the rest of the day. "Show us your hottest moves! You're on fire! Did you have breakfast this morning?"
posted by maryr at 8:40 AM on September 8, 2010


I second dickasso's comment on mating rituals; I've always found dancing to be the most when when I'm not actively trying to get laid. That and being a friend of a friend and a four-hundred person reception thousands of miles away from home and being about ten scotches deep in the evening.

Those things all help. If the stars align, I will dance with anyone and everyone until I cannot move the next morning.
posted by Earthtopus at 12:17 PM on September 8, 2010


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