When Vitória Buenos mother left her for the first time in ballet class, she left with concern about the integration of her five-year-old daughter.
Born without arms, the dream of becoming a dancer seemed painfully unrealistic – especially in a small town in rural Brazil, where her disability made her a social curiosity.
“People stood in front of the house to see her,” says Wanda, 39, still hurt as she remembers the calluses of her neighbors. “You lifted up his sleeves to see.”
However, the 16 year old Bueno focused on his assemblies, pirouettes and other technical challenges. He also devoted himself to jazz and tap dance.
Bueno is a regular at the ballet school in her hometown in the state of Minas Gerais. Because of her talent, she is a star on social media and an inspiration to many.
Reuters / Ueslei Marcelino
“For me the arms are just a detail,” says Bueno on the stage on which he appears. “I follow them with my eyes as if they were there.”
When you see her sliding down the wooden stage, synchronized with her colleagues in a shimmer of green and white, it’s easy to forget that she is dancing without arms. “I feel like I don’t need them,” he adds.
Vitória started ballet classes on the advice of her physiotherapist, who noticed that the young woman came to dance for her appointments.
REUTERS / UESLEI MARCELINO
More than a dream come true, the strength and flexibility gained through dance turned out to be crucial for Bueno, who does everything with his feet, from brushing teeth to removing items from the supermarket shelf.
“There are things she can do with her feet that I can’t do with my hands,” comments stepfather José Carlos Perreira.
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With over 150,000 followers on Instagram, Bueno prides itself on being a role model for others. “We are more than our shortcomings, so we need to make our dreams come true,” he says.