Wanda Bueno’s daughter, Vitória, was born without arms — but that never stopped her from pursuing her dream to be a dancer.
As any mother would, Wanda worried about her five-year-old daughter being shunned or bullied by others when she signed up Vitória for ballet class.
Having a disability such as hers in a small town in rural Brazil made Bueno a social oddity.
Her mother Wanda, 39, described that “People would line up outside the house to see her.” Still recalling the pain from the insensitivity, she said, “They would lift up her sleeves to look.”
But Bueno, now 16, didn’t let the ignorance from others dissuade her; instead pouring every ounce of sweat into honing her craft. She focused on her assemblés, pirouettes and other technical challenges, and studied jazz and tap as well.
Her hard work paid off — Bueno is now a regular performer at the ballet academy in her hometown in Minas Gerais. Bueno’s immense talent is outshining her disability, resulting in a wonderful change of attitude. She is a social media star, inspiring many people, with and without disabilities.
“For me, arms, they’re just a detail,” Bueno said. “I follow with my eyes, as if they were there.”
Watching her dance so beautifully alongside her fellow performers, it’s easy to forget that Bueno doesn’t have arms.
“I don’t feel like I need them at all,” she added.
It was Bueno’s physiotherapist who suggested she take ballet lessons after seeing her dancing into their sessions.
More than just accomplishing a dream, dance has helped Bueno gain strength and flexibility — two very critical things for her because she does everything with her feet, from brushing her teeth to picking products from supermarket shelves.
“There are things she can do with her feet that I can’t do with my hands,” said her stepfather, Jose Carlos Perreira.
With over 150,000 Instagram followers (@vihb_bailarina), Vitória Bueno is happy to be a role model for others.
“We are more than our disabilities, so we have to chase our dreams,” she said, flashing a big smile.