This article is the result of ethnographic fieldwork among amateur dancers, mainly among gay adolescents from the outskirts of Salvador de Bahia (Brazil), who label themselves as “flexible”. This self-definition arises out of bodily flexibility techniques, cultivated through intense physical work. By focusing on specific training situations, such as stretching exercises, I trace understand how the “flexible” body is built. I propose that the language mobilized by these young people offer an important guide to understanding the distinctive elements of this practice. The practitioners’ accounts and my own observations of the practice indicate that the embodiment of acrobatic skills occurs in a process that weaves body and environment. Following Ingold, I argue that an ecological approach help us to comprehend this kinesthetic practice as spatial realization, as well as providing useful insights into its learning practices exploring the richly sensory dimension of learning practices and development of motor sensibilities, such as the sound and the imperative pain experience. Furthermore, I analyze how my interlocutors’ concept of body fits the theoretical idea of how bodies should not be defined by what they are, but rather by what they are able to do.
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