“For me, arms, they’re just a detail,” says Vitória Bueno, a ballerina who has a rare genetic condition known as phocomelia, which can cause malformation of the limbs.
The 16-year-old, who lives in Santa Rita do Sapucai, Brazil, can do things many able-bodied people can’t – and no one is prouder of her than her mom.
When Vitória was a child, Wanda (39) worried that her daughter wouldn’t fit in because of her disability. “When she was little people would line up outside the house to see her,” she recalls. “They’d lift up her sleeves to look.”
But Vitória was unfazed and took it all in her stride. When
she turned five, the little girl’s physiotherapist advised Wanda to enrol her
in ballet lessons as a way of strengthening her body and mixing with other
And there she continued to thrive, perfecting pirouettes and pliés until she was as good as any of her four-limbed dancer friends. Vitória is now a popular dancer at her local ballet academy.
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In many of the videos and pictures shared on her Instagram, where she’s amassed a following of more than 150 000 fans, Vitória can be seen effortlessly gliding across the stage, flashing her biggest smile during performances.
“I don’t feel as if I need them at all,” she adds, referring to her missing arms.
Vitória is quite the tap dancer too.
The teen is adept at using her feet for everyday tasks such
as brushing her teeth or applying makeup.
“There are things she can do with her feet that I can’t do with my hands,” says her stepdad, Jose Carlos Perreira.
Vitória, who has two younger brothers, is proud of being a
role model to the disabled community.
“We’re more than our disabilities,” she says. “We all have to chase our dreams.”
Sources: Instagram, DailyMail, NYPost, Healthline