This inclusive dance company is breaking down disability barriers in stunning ways.

During a college dance class, Marisa Hamamoto suffered a rare stroke that left her temporarily paralyzed.

In 2006, while a senior at Keio University in Japan, Marisa Hamamoto suddenly became paralyzed from the neck down during a contemporary dance class. The next day, she was diagnosed with a spinal cord infarction, a rare form of stroke.

Though she regained mobility and was able to leave the hospital after two months, the experience changed her. She dove right back into dance and fell in love with ballroom dancing. But after returning to her home state of California in 2012, she began wondering what her life as a dancer would have been like if she hadn't regained the use of her legs.


Realizing that there were countless people without the use of their legs or other limbs who find themselves shut out of the dance world, Hamamoto set out on a mission to break down those walls.

Baile en silla

INFINITE FLOW -O FLUJO INFINITO- ES UNA COMPAÑÍA DE DANZAS DONDE LA SILLA DE RUEDAS NO SOLO ACOMPAÑA, TAMBIÉN PROTAGONIZAInfinite Flow - An Inclusive Dance Companyance

Posted by VIDAS Reales on Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Hamamoto has made it her life's work to bring out the dancer in every person, regardless of physical disability.  

In 2014, Hamamoto discovered wheelchair dancing, but quickly realized that the dance form was highly underdeveloped. So she decided to fill the gap.

With a belief that everyone has a dancer inside of them, Hamamoto founded a professional wheelchair dance troupe, now known as "Infinite Flow — an Inclusive Dance Company." She says she focused on the words INCLUSION, BREAKING BARRIERS, BEAUTY, and INNOVATION as the foundation for her work.

Those four ideas shine through in every performance from Infinite Flow. Watching videos of their performances, it's hard not to be wowed by what you're seeing. Check out this stunning performance of Sara Bareilles' "Gravity" and tell me it doesn't give you chills:

Sara Bareilles "Gravity" Performed by Marisa Hamamoto & Piotr Iwanicki

Please Share! A Special Valentines Day Gift to YOU from Infinite Flow - An Inclusive Dance Company. We use dance as a vehicle to empower people and eliminate the stigma associated with disability. We challenge our artists to erase the line between "disability" and "non-disability" and strive for innovation. Thank you for following our journey, and hope this video gives you some inspiration for the day. For Booking Requests please contact marisa@InfiniteFlowDance.org - Artists - Music: Sara Bareilles "Gravity" Dancers: Marisa Hamamoto (Founder & Artistic Director, Infinite Flow)Piotr Iwanicki (Guest Artist, Infinite Flow)Choreographer: Gary FrancoVideo: Kenzo K. Le

Posted by Infinite Flow - An Inclusive Dance Company on Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Hamamoto sees Infinite Flow not just as a dance company, but as a social movement.

The vision driving Infinite Flow's work is simple: "A global community where everyone celebrates each other’s differences." However, what's simple on paper can be complicated in real life. People with disabilities face daily challenges from society, from access to stigma associated with their conditions.

From the beginning, Hamamoto's mission has been "to use dance as a vehicle to mainstream inclusion and eliminate the stigma behind disability." Even the language used in the studio reflects this commitment. Dancing with a wheelchair is like speaking a different language, so instead of words like "adapt" or "modify" when choreographing a routine or learning dance moves, they use the word "translate."

Infinite Flow is making waves both in the dance world and in society at large. Hamamoto has now taught more than 200 wheelchair dancers, her troupe has performed at more than 70 events, and they're showing know signs of slowing down. "There are over one billion people in the world with a disability who have little access to dance," Hamamoto told Good Morning America. "I think it's my destiny to do something about it."

More
Courtesy of Houseplant.

In America, one dumb mistake can hang over your head forever.

Nearly 30% of the American adult population — about 70 million people — have at least one criminal conviction that can prevent them from being treated equally when it comes to everything from job and housing opportunities to child custody.

Twenty million of these Americans have felony convictions that can destroy their chances of making a comfortable living and prevents them from voting out the lawmakers who imprisoned them.

Many of these convictions are drug-related and stem from the War on Drugs that began in the U.S. '80s. This war has unfairly targeted the minority community, especially African-Americans.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature
via James Anderson

Two years ago, a tweet featuring the invoice for a fixed boiler went viral because the customer, a 91-year-old woman with leukemia, received the services for free.

"No charge for this lady under any circumstances," the invoice read. "We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible."

The repair was done by James Anderson, 52, a father-of-five from Burnley, England. "James is an absolute star, it was overwhelming to see that it cost nothing," the woman's daughter told CNN.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular