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.

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Bookings close Friday 11 February for courses starting 25 February

You can book for the following courses until the end of tomorrow, Friday 11 February 2022 (UK time):

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Courses available to book now

After a break over the UK summer, there are now three short online CPD courses for dance teachers available to book.

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You can still book until end of Friday 22 January (UK time)

Bookings close for January 2021 courses on Friday

Teaching Dance to Older People (TOP) is a popular course with dance teachers. It is a great way to explore teaching dance to older people or to enhance your understanding of teaching this group of dance learners. We look at some key issues to consider when teaching older people as well as exploring some of the potential health and social benefits that dance can offer this population.

Positive Psychology for Dance Teachers: an introduction (PP) joined the list of Short Online CPD Courses for Dance Teachers last year. You might find the quotes about PP here useful. This PP course shows you ways to bring PP into your dance teaching and in this way aim to help your dance learners to flourish as people as well as dancers.

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Exploring squats

This video popped into my inbox today and I want to share it with you. Squats per se are not perhaps what many view as a dance move or step but we do dance versions of squats. Pliés may be viewed as a similar type of movement but clearly they are not the same as squats – we don’t want the angle of the body and pelvis as required in a squat to be the same for pliés but we can see how the basic squat strengthens the big muscles of the legs, for example, so dancers may use squats as a strengthening exercise for their dance moves.

I like the fact that the trainer in this video, Aaron Barnett, national trainer for Fitpro team, explains the functional reasons for doing squats – being able to sit down and get up again being a key functional reason for doing squats. He goes on to explore a variety of ways to perform squats, adapting them to take account of anatomy, injury, purpose of performing squat and so on. From a dance teaching perspective it is a useful video to watch and consider how this could be useful in dance teaching.

You might want to watch the video and give some thought to understanding more about the functional aspect of movements that you teach and how this could relate to your dance teaching practice. You may not want to teach squats in the middle of centre work in a ballet class, for example, but can you think of steps and movements that you teach where there could be benefits for both teacher and student from understanding more about functional aspects or adaptations that could be made to suit individuals and their needs?

If you teach dance to older people then you will know that many older people lose muscle tone and strength as they age. Considering the functional aspects and value of dance moves could help older people to continue to perform movements that will help them to retain dignity and independence as they age.

After watching the video you may want to think about some of the teaching ideas presented that you could make use of in your dance teaching practice. Why not share ideas that you have got from this post in the comments below.