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."

via USO

Army Capt. Justin Meredith used the Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program to read to his son and family while deployed in the Middle East.

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One of the biggest challenges deployed service members face is the feeling of being separated from their families, especially when they have children. It's also very stressful for children to be away from parents who are deployed for long periods of time.

For the past four years, the USO has brought deployed service members and their families closer through a wonderful program that allows them to read together. The Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program gives deployed service members the ability to choose a book, read it on camera, then send both the recording and book to their child.

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Cayce LaCorte explains why virginity doesn't exist.

The concept of virginity is a very loaded issue in American culture. If a woman loses hers when she's too young she can be slut-shamed. If a man remains a virgin for too long, he can be bullied for not being manly enough.

There is also a whole slew of religious mind games associated with virginity that can give people some serious psychological problems associated with sex.

Losing one's virginity has also been blown up way beyond proportion. It's often believed that it's a magical experience—it's usually not. Or that after having sex for the first time people can really start to enjoy living life—not the case.

What if we just dropped all of the stigmas surrounding virginity and instead, replaced them with healthy attitudes toward sex and relationships?

Writer Cayce LaCorte is going viral on TikTok for the simple way she's taught her five daughters to think about virginity. They don't have to. LaCorte shared her parenting ideas on TikTok in response to mom-influencer Nevada Shareef's question: "Name something about the way you raised your kids that people think is weird but you think is healthy."

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This article originally appeared on 08.15.18.


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