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Strictly Dad Dancing

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Dr Peter Lovatt diagnoses your dancing style

So that time of year is here once again, the time when men of a certain age don their glad rags and let themselves go in an uncharacteristically unselfconscious homage to the terpsichorean art.

You've got it: Dad's dancing.

And if not dad, then older brothers, uncles and grandpas seem to find the lure of a Christmas bop to be irresistible.

Well, research undertaken by the University of Hertfordshire in collaboration with the Today programme has indicated that although men may be initially reluctant to get up and dance, once they hit the dancefloor they will be impressed with their moves.

Confidence

Once there, they will be impressed by their moves, according to research carried out by the University of Hertfordshire.

Dr Peter Lovatt from the University's School of Psychology - its very own "Doctor of Dance" - used the Today website to ask people to imagine they were at a party dancing with other people, then to rate how good a dancer they thought they were, compared with the average person of their own age and gender.

Jim Royle
Sitting this one out: Jim Royle

The results were compiled from the Dance Style Questionnaire completed by nearly 14,000 people.

These show that, although up to the age of 16, men lack confidence in their dance moves, after that their dance confidence rises steadily. And men over the age of 65 rate themselves more highly than those between 55 and 60.

The results for women tell a different story. Up to the age of 16, females are extremely confident about their abilities up to the age of 16. This level of confidence falls between 16 and 20 before a steady rise up to 35 and a steady fall between 55 and 65.

Dr Lovatt, conducted this research as a follow-up to conducting an experiment into the links between genes, physical attraction and dance , says the difference in the dance confidence between the sexes lies their genetic make-up.

I got biorhythm?

"Up to the age of 15 or 16, girls quite often validate their moves through dance classes which give them more confidence than boys when it comes to dancing," says Dr Lovatt.

"Then after 16, they improvise and show their hormonal and genetic make-up when they dance. Men seem to be more comfortable in their genetic make-up and in tune with their natural biorhythms and therefore feel more confident when they dance."

The next question that Dr Lovatt wants to answer is "Why do you dance?" or possibly more pointedly "Why don't you dance?"

"We need to know if people's reasons for dancing change as they get older," he said. "We know despite our research findings that lots of men don't dance and we wonder why this is. It may be that they perceive it as a non-macho activity and if this is the case, we need to find ways to introduce it as a fun vital health measure."


Are you a dancing dad? Do you impress yourself, if no-one else, with the slickness of your moves? Or do you have a father, uncle or other relative who shames the family each time he trips the Light Fantastic?

Good or bad, we'd like to hear your stories or you can send your short video clips (under 30 seconds) to today@bbc.co.uk .

I seem to have chosen the defective peacock!!
Mrs Jax Machin, Boldre, nr Lymington, Hampshire

I want to see, on your website, a video-clip of John Humphrys dancing with Dame Edna. Then you'd see the pheromones fly, and your ratings rise -A Christmas special.

Kick off those shoes Johnny boy and get on down and get it on, with the only woman to turn you on in an interview in over a 100 years of broadcasting......the over 65's rule ....-OK!!
Mick Penning, Stoke, North Staffordshire

You quite missed the point about older men being good dancers; it's because we learnt to dance quicksteps, slow foxtrots and waltzes as well as the samba and the rhumba when we were at school. These all went out of fashion with the onset of the sixties so anyone born after about 1950 would not have an idea of what the others were.
John Robert Moore, Chuldeigh, Newton Abbot

I grew up in 1950s with Barn Dances (we'd never heard of a 'Ceilidh')as the normal dance style. Subsequently I was exposed to the Twist, Pogo, ballroom and latin, all of which improved my chance of pulling a partner!

Perhaps how well you think you dance may be less about genetics and confidence then being related to your blood alcohol level. Who cares? Dance on!
Brian Porter, Lincolnshire

I think I must be bucking the trend here, pardon the pun. We had our Christmas party last Friday. I am 49 years old and am sure I was the one asking for the dance (couple of times!). The knees have since disowned me. I am sure they are still there in Northampton!
Richard Randle, Doncaster

I'm a dad and 50. The older I get the more I love dancing and the less self conscious I feel. I've gotta split now man... stay lose dudes!
Mike, Surrey

I listened with great interest to your item about dance confidence. My own dance confidence took a dip for many years and I did not understand why. It returned joyfully as I approached my 50s and I delighted in tripping the light fantastic once again.

Unfortunately my enthusiasm was my downfall as I am currently inactive having ruptured my Achilles Tendon while dancing vigorously at a wedding in September. The song I was dancing to: One Step Beyond by Madness.
Joe Tiernan, Bridgwater, England

I listened with great interest to your item about dance confidence. My own dance confidence took a dip for many years and I did not understand why. It returned joyfully as I approached my 50s and I delighted in tripping the light fantastic once again.

Unfortunately my enthusiasm was my downfall as I am currently inactive having ruptured my Achilles Tendon while dancing vigorously at a wedding in September. The song I was dancing to: One Step Beyond by Madness.
Joe Tiernan, Bridgwater, England

I grew up in 1950s with Barn Dances (we'd never heard of a 'Ceilidh')as the normal dance style. Subsequently I was exposed to the Twist, Pogo, ballroom and latin, all of which improved my chance of pulling a partner!

Perhaps how well you think you dance may be less about genetics and confidence then being related to your blood alcohol level. Who cares? Dance on!
Brian Porter, Lincolnshire


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