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Kinetic Awareness, also known as The Ball Work, uses rubber balls to help you become more aware of your body and make positive changes. The rubber balls enhance your awareness and release tension by serving as a focal point for your attention and movement and intensifying sensations.
Dancer/choreographer Elaine Summers developed this somatic practice in the 1960s as a natural way to heal the symptoms of her osteoarthritis. The practice is based on the work of somatic pioneers Elsa Grindler and Carola Speads and the body-armoring theories of Wilheim Reich.
The work is experiential, and the role of the teacher is that of guide. By doing simple movements very slowly, you become aware of any blocks, physical or emotional, along a movement pathway.
The idea is to focus your sensory awareness on the movement, letting your nervous system self-correct by releasing old constrictions and painful habits. By taking this awareness into everyday movements, you have the potential for an ongoing corrective effect.
The goal of the work is the enjoyment and use of your bodymind’s full capacity for awareness and movement. In Kinetic Awareness: Discovering Your Bodymind, Ellen Saltonstall writes that this somatic practice "...is based on the premise that refinement of the kinesthetic sense, especially with regard to movement, can bring about the gradual reintegration of bodymind functioning."
Ball Work recognizes the value of turning inside, finding resources
deeper than your normal daily consciousness.
This awareness work has five phases:
The following working principles underlie The Ball Work:
For more information, see Saltonstall's book or visit the Kinetic Awareness Center.
Other source: Frances Becker, "Kinetic Awareness," Contact Quarterly, Summer/Fall 1993.