It's a question that has plagued humanity through the ages: What moves make all the difference when you hit the dance floor?

Finally, science has the definitive answer. Researchers have found that the sexiest dancers move their hips a lot, and shift their arms and thighs independently of one another. Researchers from the Northumbria University pinpointed three kinds of movements that are key to how a woman's dance moves were rated.

In their study, women who swung their hips a lot when dancing had their moves rated higher than those who kept them still. The research also found that more asymmetric thigh movements were rated highly. And a medium level of asymmetric arms movements got the crowd going too.

'The movements are honest signals as to the physical capabilities of the mover,' psychology associate professor at Northumbria University and lead-author of the paper Dr Nick Neave said.

The authors took the movements made by the women and rendered them onto 3D avatars.

'If you ask people to rate video clips of people dancing they can be biased by their physical appearance, body size, skin colour, clothing etc. So we convert all of our dancers into featureless avatars so that we know our raters can only be judging someone on how they move,' Dr Neave said.

Fifty seven men and 143 women were then asked to rate the dancing ability of each of the 39 avatars based on a 15 second section of video footage.

The authors compared the ratings to measurements of the dancers' moves. The team have looked at the best and worst male dance moves previously, too.

They found that the top rated male dancers have plenty of upper body movement incorporated into their moves. Male physical strength is accurately conveyed by dancing, so stronger men make better dancers, which could be an evolutionary advantage to women looking for a mate.

Here are the videos demonstrating ‘sexy' and ‘non-sexy' dance moves respectively.

Get it girl: study reveals the sexiest dance moves