From director Alan Govenar comes a feature documentary titled You Don’t Need Feet to Dance, which tells the life story of Sidiki Conde, born in 1961, in Guinea, West Africa, who, at age fourteen, was left almost completely paralyzed by polio.
Here’s his story, courtesy of a First Run Features press release (they are releasing the film):
Sent to live with his grandfather in a village deep in the forest, Sidiki learned to manage his disability, building his upper-body strength so that he could walk on his hands. When faced with the dilemma of dancing in a coming of age ceremony, he reconstructed the traditional steps by dancing on his hands instead of his feet. In time Sidiki ran away to Conakry, Guinea’s capital city, where he and his friends organized an orchestra of artists with disabilities recruited from the city’s streets. They toured the country, striving to change the perception of the disabled. In 1987, he became a member of the renowned dance company Merveilles D’Afrique, founded by Mohamed Komoko Sano. Sidiki became a soloist and served as rehearsal master, composing and directing the company’s repertoire. He also worked as a musician and arranger with Youssou N’Dour, Salifa Keita, Baba Maal and other popular musicians. In 1998, Conde’s music brought him to the United States, and he founded the Tokounou All-Abilities Dance and Music Ensemble. In the United States, he has continued to perform and teach, instructing people of all abilities in schools, hospitals and universities, and served as artist in residence at a Bronx public school for children with multiple disabilities.
Govenar’s film, You Don’t Need Feet to Dance, documents Sidiki’s life as he balances his career as a performing artist with obstacles he faces as a man with a disability living and working in rough and tumble NYC.
First Run Features has announced that it will open the film on March 22 at the Quad Cinema in NYC. Director Alan Govenar and Sidiki Conde will both be in attendance on opening night.
Watch the trailer below: