Understanding muscle tissue – Anatomical units and functional units

American anatomist, Gil Hedley offers this lovely clip explaining anatomical units – vs – functional units. I think this short clip is really useful for dance teachers to help us understand more about the muscular system and it functions and how they are not functioning in isolation.

Muscles – Anatomical vs Functional Units: Learn Integral Anatomy with Gil Hedley

Over time, I have come to understand more and more the importance of considering the body as a whole and not just as isolated sections that work the limbs or parts of the body. In dance we don’t only dance with one part of the body, we dance with the whole body even when we are moving individual limbs or parts of the body. Everything is connected and so what happens in one part of the body is not disconnected from another although it is easy to see why dance teachers and dancers might think it is from the way some information is presented.

Watch the clip and consider what Gil is saying in relation to functional units and how this information is useful in dance teaching and dance. How do motor units help us in dance thinking? What are your thoughts about this? Why not leave a comment here and start a conversation about this exciting concept.

Gil Hedley has a huge amount of useful information on his site gilhedley.com for free as well as subscription options. His work on fascia is fascinating as well as educational and his Heart Dance is a great way to learn about the heart – check it out at: