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Once a week they gather in this large yard to train acrobatic gymnastic compositions that they will perform on beaches and esplanades on weekends. At the end of the performances, a can is passed around the audience to collect a few coins from those who are amazed by their acrobatics. When they return home, exhausted and nearly as soon as the sun sets on the horizon, they divide what they have collected among everyone. Often, what they earn is barely enough to pay for the collective cabs from the distant neighborhood where they live. Even knowing this, they always show enthusiasm and pride in what they do and strive with genuine professionalism to present a perfect performance.

Pedro, the oldest and the mentor of the group, works at a stall selling phone cards, but is known in the neighborhood as the artist. Besides acrobatic gymnastics, he performs at neighborhood parties as a musician and singer in his spare time. He started teaching gymnastics to his nephews and some neighborhood children about 5 years ago, but after noticing that some of them were particularly gifted, he started inventing more and more complicated and physically demanding exercises and choreographies. Soon the gymnastics evolved into acrobatics, with elaborate compositions of strength, balance, and contortion. The success of their first performances in the neighborhood where they live led them to try their luck in places increasingly distant from home, at beaches and esplanades in the city that allowed the group's performances.

Today the group is formed by about 10 elements, where Beny, Pedro's youngest daughter and the group's mascot that everyone cherishes, shines. Besides correcting gestures and positions in each element of the group, Pedro is constantly creative and rehearses new exercises and choreographies during the training sessions. Many times they are simply impossible to perform, the laws of physics are immutable and impose limits on strength, equilibrium, and imagination. Other times, there are broad smiles on all of them as they realize they have just discovered something new and exciting to explore and possibly perform.

Pedro also has to be creative to set up the conditions for training. An old tarp laid over the dirt floor prevents sand and small stones from sticking to their feet when they climb over each other's shoulders. A pair of old tires is used as a trampoline for jumping into the air, and a handmade weight with two rounds of cement at each end is used to improve arm strength. While the older members of the group work on strength and flexibility, the younger and lightweight ones perfect their contortion and equilibrium so that they can perform movements on the shoulders of the more experienced ones. It is like an orchestra in which everyone has a role to play in order to ensure a harmonious sound is created.

The curiosity they all felt to learn acrobatic exercises from the group's mentor quickly turned into passion and dedication for an art. When they return from school on Thursdays and gather here to train at the end of the day, they all forget the fatigue of the day and put on the skin of gymnasts committed to their individual improvement.

All of them aspire to be stars of this art, including little Beny. She is only 5 years old, but from an early age her father instilled in her a taste for gymnastics and acrobatics. She listens carefully to her father's instructions and has already learned to pose balanced on one hand, up there near the clouds as if she were the real star of the company. Mischievous and restless, she often interrupts her own and her elders' training, provoking them to pay attention to her and play with her. Invariably, no one resists her sweet seduction and everyone surrenders to her revealing their immense fondness for her.  

Often the training is also interrupted by games and small challenges among the elders to test each other's strength and dexterity. These are moments of relaxation that create stronger bonds between them and make the training a kind of relaxed gathering of great friends. Here, everyone is equal and there are no distinctions between genders, ages, or physical abilities. Everyone helps each other, flaws are accepted and encouraged to be corrected, and successes are celebrated by all, especially the younger ones.

This is how Thursday afternoons are spent in this backyard in the suburbs of the city, a makeshift gym where imagination has its limits only in the impossible and where this group shows that they are, in fact, a united and happy family in what they do. This is where they indulge in a passion they discovered at an early age, overcoming tiredness and all the difficulties of a hard life to show their art on the beaches at the weekend. They all dream of being known as artists in the neighborhood where they live, like Pedro, their mentor. This is the stage where they learn to be stars

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