Why do you dance? Take a test

Dancing is a popular form of physical exercise. Studies have shown that it can decrease anxiety, increase self-esteem, and improve psychological wellbeing. A team of psychology researchers has recently published a test that can help identify the reasons why people attend dance classes. They found eight main motivational factors for dancing:

  • Mood enhancement: Dancing as the mood improving and energising activity.
  • Self-confidence: Feeling of sexiness and improved self-esteem.
  • Trance: experiences of trance, ecstasy, floating, and dancing as a way to reach altered state of mind.
  • Intimacy: Attractiveness of outfits, searching for relationships and sexual partners, and physical closeness to another person.
  • Socialising: Being in good company and being with like-minded people.
  • Mastery: Improvement of coordination, and body movements, as well as increasing control of one’s own body.
  • Fitness: Dancing in order to keep fit and healthy.
  • Escapism: Avoidance of emptiness, bad mood, and everyday problems.

You can take the test here. Do you agree with your results? Let us know in the comments below.

Most of these motives can also be applied to other sport acitivites – with the exception of intimacy. It appears that the physical closeness of dance partners is a strong determinant of dance motivation compared to other forms of exercise.

When the researchers ran the test on several hundred dancers, they discovered that the Mood Enhancement was by far the strongest motivational factor for both men and women, although exact motives differed according to gender.

Dancing is a recreational activity which is often pursued to improve one’s mood and has a powerful stress-reducing capability. Programs that have the aim of increasing participation in dancing should therefore focus on the mood-enhancing and self-confidence improving nature of dancing.

The intensity of dancing, i.e. number of lessons per week, was predicted by three factors: Intimacy, Socialising, and Mastery. The opportunity for social and physical contact appears to be just as important as improving one’s skills when it comes to the frequency of dancing.


See for yourself: Take the test to find out what motivates you to dance.


Full text publication: Maraz, A., Király, O., Urbán, R., Griffiths, M. D., & Demetrovics, Z. (2015). Why do you dance? Development of the Dance Motivation Inventory (DMI). PloS one, 10(3), e0122866.

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