Marisa Hamamoto: From Paralyzed to Dancing, How to Beat All the Odds


 Episode 16: How to Beat All the Odds and Keep Dancing, with Marisa Hamamoto


After being rejected as a ballerina, becoming paralyzed in the middle of a contemporary dance class, and now being back on her feet dancing professionally as a ballroom dancer, Marisa Hamamoto has seen a lot in her lifetime. She’s now dedicated to giving back, and has founded America’s first professional wheelchair ballroom dance company, Infinite Flow, for that specific purpose. In our episode together, we dive into the struggles she faced along her path to becoming a professional dancer, and what it took from her to maintain a positive outlook, even when she was paralyzed from the neck down and told she may never walk again. And while it still took her 3-4 years to recover psychologically, spiritually, and socially from the trauma and paralysis (PTSD), she was victorious and is using her experience to help others today. 

Listen in for more of her story here:

In this episode we get to dive into… 

  • How she faced set back after set back on her path to becoming a professional dancer
  • How she dealt with becoming paralyzed from the neck down in the middle of a contemporary dance class, and being told that she may never walk again
  • How she climbed out of her depression while still in the hospital at the beginning of her diagnosis 
  • How she regained mobility after two months of being completely paraylzed
  • How she faced the fear that at any time, this paralysis may return again
  • How she overcame her fear of dancing itself after regaining her mobility again
  • Why it took her so long to “be ok with actually being ok” after her incident
  • How she started “Infinite Flow,” America’s first wheelchair professional ballroom dance company
  • How she’s changed her story to create an empowering meaning, versus one that maintains fear and limitation
  • How she used her basic daily functions as a measure for improvement and hope during recovery (16:50)
  • How her mindset was KEY to her recovery
  • How she figured out how to make her rehab fit her personal style, and really enjoy it from that point forward
  • How her paralysis transformed the rest of her life, and her attitude towards life and dance (26:00)
  • The big wake up call that Marisa got while in the hospital (28:00)
  • What it was exactly that attracted Marisa to Salsa and Ballroom
  • What were the top lessons she learned from going through her paralysis
  • How afraid she used to be to tell her story, and how she grew to learn about the power of sharing her experience with others
  • How dance can help break down age/race/ability barriers


Referred to in the ‘cast…


Where to find Marisa online:
Donate to Infinite Flow Here