Sidiki Conde and a Life Well Lived

Beth Kaiserman

The story of disabled drummer Sidiki Conde is featured in the documentary, You Don’t Need Feet to Dance.

 

We start out with a play-by-play of Sidiki’s morning routine. As he lies still in bed, his legs remain under the covers, and we can’t yet see what his disability entails. His strong arms are very visible though in these first few moments. We soon find out that he suffered from polio as a child, but there aren’t too many other details revealed.

 

“One day I fell down and never got up again,” he said.

 

Conde lost use of his legs at the age of 14.

 

This documentary offers us an extended glimpse into the life of someone living an extraordinarily interesting and challenging life. We get a view of someone we might otherwise just bypass in a subway station, or stop and briefly glance at before we move on with the day. Simple things like watching Conde master the stairs in his fifth floor walk-up become stunning visuals that perplex the mind and capture the soul.

A standout scene is when Conde is going to teach his drumming class. The building has no ramp access, so when he arrives he has to climb the stairs with his arms. Then, he takes the initiative to assist a young handicapped boy, who has to abandon his wheelchair to get in the building. It is here that you can tell how absolutely selfless Conde is. His drumming/dance classes aim to assist handicapped kids become inspired and moving. Conde demonstrates the importance of practice when he mounts himself on his two hands and puts his legs behind his head.

 

“I play this music to forget my disability and enjoy my life,” he said.

 

Conde’s joy is infectious, as it is impossible to not be happy simply at the fact of this man’s appreciation and happiness for life. A 51 year-old African drummer and dancer, Conde is an inspiration to us all to live a little better, reach a little higher and push ourselves to be the ultimate best.

 

Conde’s spirit shines through as he both teaches and dances. More scenes of his dancing would have made a more vibrant film. But what’s most captivating about the film is Conde himself. He talks about the struggles he faces, but that’s never the core of his comments. He is a grateful human being who wants other children to be as happy as he is. His story is a pleasure to discover.

 

Author Bio:

Beth Kaiserman is a contributing writer at Highbrow Magazine.

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