MARISA HAMAMOTO (Bio)
Dance artist, stroke survivor, inclusion keynote speaker, and Founder of Infinite Flow - An Inclusive Dance Company, Marisa Hamamoto leads a global movement for #InfiniteInclusion. After 20 years of dancing ballet and contemporary dance in both the US and Japan, Marisa discovered & fell in love with ballroom dancing while recovering from spinal cord infarction, a rare stroke which caused her to be temporarily paralyzed from the neck down while in college. In 2015, Marisa founded Infinite Flow, a professional inclusive dance company and nonprofit with a mission to make dance accessible to all and use dance to inspire inclusivity. Marisa has organized 200+ inclusive dance classes, and has brought Infinite Flow’s professional dancers with and without disabilities to perform at over 100 events, from school assemblies to corporate events with Apple, Red Bull, Porsche, Kaiser Permanente, and others. Infinite Flow’s videos have been viewed by over 50 Million people and she has been featured in over 100 media outlets including NBC Today, Good Morning America, Refinery 29, and others. Marisa and wheelchair ballroom world champion Piotr Iwanicki made history by being the first dancers to perform at Apple’s Steve Jobs Theater with CEO Tim Cook in the audience, and Sheryl Sandberg, George Takei, and other influencers have endorsed her work as well. As a social entrepreneur and thought leader she is a Fellow with Red Bull Amaphiko, Facebook Community Leadership Program, and Social Venture Partners Los Angeles. Marisa is a leader, artist, and speaker on the rise looking to empower people through dance and storytelling to disable bias, encourage others to get out of their comfort zone, build new connections, and create breakthrough innovations.
Awards & Honors Include:
2019 UCLA Anderson School of Management Impactathon “Best Project in Inclusion”
2018 Facebook Community Leadership Program Fellow
2018 Social Venture Partners LA Systems Change Accelerator Nonprofit Leader
2018 Dance Teacher Magazine Video of the Month
2017 Facebook Oculus VR for Good Nonprofit
2017 Red Bull Amaphiko Social Entrepreneur
2017 Mentee, Dance/USA Institute of Leadership Training
2017 Dance Teacher Magazine Video of the Month
2017 Inspirational Woman – United Chambers of Commerce
2015 Newcomer of the Year - San Fernando Valley Business Journal
2010 Professional Ballroom Dance Instructor Certification - Japan Ballroom Dance Federation
2010 Fukuzawa Yukichi Bunmeijuku Fellow
2007-2009 Tokyo Foundation Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellow
2006-2009 Chair, Student Committee, International Association for Dance Medicine & Science
2007 Keio University SFC Best Senior Thesis
2007 Keio University SFC Award
2003-2007 Keio University Merit Scholar
2000 Dance Major of the Year, Idyllwild Arts Academy
1998 Winner, California State Science Fair
“Unbelievable…” - Tim Cook, CEO Apple Inc.
“Marisa Hamamoto and Piotr Iwanicki, two dance partners – and dance heroes… I’m grateful to Marisa and Piotr for breaking barriers, fighting stereotypes, and proving that everyone deserves the chance to do what they love.” - Sheryl Sandberg, COO Facebook. Founder, Lean In & Option B.
“This wheelchair dance company is 'redefining disability and reinventing inclusion.” - NBC
“You'll undoubtedly be inspired by their beautiful movement” - Annie Georgia Greenberg, Refinery 29
“So much more than a flash mob, Infinite Flow is a social movement that brings everyone together.” - Upworthy
"Marisa has an unquenchable energy & passion for her community and dance to fulfill her purpose" - Ian Calvert, Global Program Director, Red Bull Amaphiko.
“Fearless disruptor” - Porsche
“By integrating company members with various levels of mobility, Hamamoto has created something truly unique and totally uplifting.” - Nicole Loeffler-Gladstone, Dance Spirit Magazine