Model: Marisa Hamamoto
Stroke survivor, autism, PTSD
Infinite Flow Dance, founder, CEO, artistic director
I am best known as the stroke survivor who founded Infinite Flow, an award-winning dance company that employs disabled and non-disabled dancers with a mission to create a more inclusive world, one dance at a time. For the first six years of Infinite Flow (2015-2021), I was considered a “non-disabled ally” in the disability space.
I grew up not fitting the box. Being both Japanese and Japanese American, I wasn’t Japanese enough to be Japanese, and I wasn’t American enough to be American. My body never seemed to fit the box as a dancer, either. Being a stroke survivor didn’t qualify me to be disabled, so I found it interesting to again find myself not fitting in the box of disability.
In 2021, I was diagnosed with PTSD – something I knew I had since my teens. In 2022, I was diagnosed with autism. I got these assessments through my own choice, and the diagnoses gave me much clarity on some of the lifelong challenges I had. It was empowering to know that I wasn’t broken.
Disabled or not, there is no need to fit into any box. If you don’t fit the box, create your own. Or get rid of the box altogether. Beauty exists in all bodies and all souls.
Photographer: Sej Saraya