Informant AT was a current undergraduate student at The University of Southern California pursuing their BFA in Dance at the time of this collection. As an aspiring dancer and college student, AT takes dance classes almost daily and rehearses regularly. With all of the physical demands that dance requires, AT often finds themself with aching and sore muscles. To combat this, AT has adopted a popular folk use of a commercial object that they learned from other dancers.
Stepping on the tennis by and moving your foot around.
Slowly and slightly moving your body while laying or sitting on the tennis ball.
Firmly pushing/pressing the tennis ball against your body while grasping it with your hand.
According to AT, this folk usage of a tennis ball allows him to “roll out” his sore muscles which helps them feel less achy. In hearing AT describe this, I started to realize how this folk usage can reflect and distinguish the identity of dancers. Tennis balls are not designed and sold to alleviate muscle soreness. The action of using tennis balls in this folk way, allows dancers to distinguish themselves as such. While dancers frequently experience muscle soreness and fatigue, they don’t always have the time or the funds to get the attention/care from massage therapists. The tennis ball has come to meet the needs of dancers while being an affordable alternative that dancers can use on other own time. Since dancers have busy schedules that require them to move from studio to studio or studio to the stage, it is important that dancers be able to fit all of their belongings in a portable bag. The small size of the tennis ball is convenient for dancers since it can easily fit in just about any bag.