Recent studies suggests that dancing plays a significant role in human sexuality and our mate selection processes. The nonverbal messages which are transmitted when we dance are communicating information about our genetics, fertility, health, and attractiveness. The subtle differences in how a person moves in dance provides subconscious information relating to strength and vitality to potential mates. Science is now supporting the ideas that in our evolution humans like many species use dance as a means of determining sexual attraction base on kinesics and axillary odor qualities. This paper will explore the various ways in which dancing has evolved to influence human sexuality, and the nonverbal messages that are communicated when to potential mates when we dance. Keywords: Dance, Attraction, Fertility, Mate choice, Nonverbal behavior, Sexuality Sexuality in Dance
Does dancing play an important role in human courtship and sexual behaviors? Was George Bernard Shaw correct when he stated that dancing is "the vertical expression of a horizontal desire legalized by music"? From a psychosocial and physiological perspective, researchers are now providing scientific data to support the theories on how dancing influences human sexuality. Most people are unaware of wordless messages that are sent and received when dancing in public settings. The messages being transmitted through dance are considered nonverbal communications (NVC). As humans evolved, they developed the ability to decipher nonverbal cues and utilize them in determining relevant information about others in social situations (Hugill, Fink, & Neave, 2010). Studies conducted by Hugill and his colleagues (2010) concluded that expressions of NVC can be found in a person's kinetic movements, posture, eye contact, proximity, touch, hormonal and olfactory cues. When people interact through dance, they are sending and receiving strong nonverbal signals that can influence their attraction to potential mates (Hugill, et al., 2010).
Kinesics and Attraction
Singing and dancing are tactics employed by many species for the purpose of mate selection and courtship throughout animal kingdom (Darwin, 1871). Human sexuality has evolved, much like other species, to attract the highest quality mates to ensure reproduction and increase the viability of their offspring (Crooks and Baur, 2014). In The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, Darwin observed and recorded courtship dances of animals, and concluded that their displays served as a means to communicate genetic fitness and strength in their attempts to attract mates. The term kinesics was coined by an anthropologist named Ray Birdwhistell (Givens, 1997). Kinesics are messages that people are constantly conveying nonverbally through body movements, touching, expressions, eye contact, gait, and attitudes. Kinesics or body language is the primary mode of sending and receiving communications for humans of both sexes (1997). According to Birdwhistell, less that 35% of human conversations are communicated verbally which leaves the rest of the message to be transmitted through body language.
Men and women have evolved psychologically to perceive movements in dancing as determinants in partner selection. Researchers are finding corroborating evidence that supports the long held beliefs that dancing is relevant in terms of mate selection and attraction (Weege, Lange, and Fink, 2012). In a recent study, researchers created plain avatars from video recorded samples of men dancing to basic drumming. The males avatars that displayed a broader range of bending and twisting movements in their neck, torso, and knee areas were characterized as "good" dancers, and considered more attractive by female participants. The women who participate in this study were responsive to the movements and nonverbal signals exhibited by the males perceived to be "good dancers". The results of this study