If you live in Los Angeles and are interested in dance, Infinite Flow may be for you — whether you have a disability or not. “Everyone can dance and we’re not just about people with disabilities, we serve everyone,” says founder Marisa Hamamoto. “It’s all about inclusion.”
Hamamoto experienced a spinal cord infarction during a contemporary dance class in 2006 that resulted in quadriplegia and a doctor telling her there would be no recovery. However, in her case, she walked out of the hospital two months later. Because of this experience, she realized what gaps exist for people with disabilities in the world of dance. She is also sensitive to the fact that most people do not recover full mobility.
“Sometimes I feel like people try to steer me toward rehab and health and focusing on ways to do dance therapy, but no, dance is dance, and the benefits of dance are going to come regardless,” she says. Also, her approach is different than many other similar companies. “What we do is about mainstreaming. I ask the question, how can I impact a broad general audience, not necessarily an artsy crowd?” After all, there’s a reason why shows like So You Think You Can Dance are so popular, she says.
Her approach is catching on, as she was one of 15 selected from hundreds of applicants nationwide for Red Bull Amaphiko, a launch pad for grassroots social entrepreneurs making a positive difference in their community. Follow her at Infiniteflowdance.org, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.