If you think you can dance you should probably read this

If your dance style more closely resembles an elephant falling over than an elegant person attempting to express themselves, you may be the victim of a newly discovered condition.

So-called “beat deafness” is the name given to the inability to synchronise your body to musical cues, and is believed to affect between 2 to 3 per cent of the population.

But curiously, those afflicted with beat deafness are usually unaware of the problem, and are not necessarily embarrassed by their out-of-time moves.

Caroline Palmer, who led the study at McGill University in Montreal, said many people who believe they are suffering from beat deafness are in fact hindered by a lack of confidence.

To complete the study published in the journal ‘Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences’, researchers compared two beat-deaf volunteers with 32 participants of a similar age and educational level.

When the beat deaf participants were asked to tap evenly without any accompanying sound, they did so with no trouble.

But when they were asked to tap along with a metronome that changed its speed, the beat-deaf participants noticed there had been a change in speed but struggled to keep up - unlike the 32 others.

Professor Palmer explained the beat deaf volunteers could sustain a beat, but couldn’t adapt it.

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