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his own words

"I lost the use of my legs when I was fourteen. If not for that, I would have followed my father's military profession. In Guinea, my home country, such an event can be especially devastating, as traditional music and dance are the vehicles by which people connect to their community. The performance of specific songs and dances is essential in all the ceremonies of the community's life.

People with disabilities are thought to bring shame and bad luck upon their family and village. I was taken out of school and sent to live deep in the forest in my father's ancestral village. For a long time, I was very sad and in despair. After several years in the village, the time of the coming-of-age ceremony was approaching. It is a traditional event where the young men dance their steps into manhood. I knew that if I did not participate in this ceremony, if I did not dance, I would forever remain separate and cut off from my community.

One night, a voice in my dream spoke to me and told me to be happy. I replied: How can I be happy when all has been taken from me, my family, my friends, my future?

The voice told me to sing and dance and take care of myself. I taught myself to walk on my hands and later on, to dance on my hands. I reconstructed the traditional steps dancing on my hands instead of my feet. I found a way of moving that was true to the traditional rhythms and steps while also being true to the capacities of my body. I danced at the coming-of-age ceremony and reconnected myself with my community and my culture


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