Ahmad Joudeh was born in the Syrian capital, Damascus, in 1990 as a stateless refugee, and was raised in Yarmouk camp, a settlement established by the refugees from Palestine.
Under the civil war, he experienced life-threatening situations, his home was destroyed, and he lost five family members. After witnessing a child killed in a battle, he started working for children orphaned in the war, joining activities of SOS Children's Villages Syria: holding dance shows for fundraising and dance workshops for orphans at their villages.
Because of his dance activities, he received constant threats from extremists. As a response, he had the words “Dance or Die” tattooed on the back of his neck, the spot where a blade would fall in decapitation.
For Ahmad Joudeh, to dance is to exist. To give up dancing was not an option.
In August 2016, Ahmad Joudeh’s struggle in Syria was reported in a news program on Dutch National Television. Touched by the story, The Dutch National Ballet organised The Dance For Peace Fund, which invited Ahmad Joudeh to The Netherlands.
In October 2016, Ahmad Joudeh moved to Amsterdam.
Since 2017, he has been internationally active as an artist with Amsterdam as the base.
He has also been contributing to events for raising awareness of the refugee situation.
In November 2018, Ahmad Joudeh published his autobiography “Danza o Muori (Dance or Die)”.
In September 2019, SOS Children’s Villages International appointed Ahmad Joudeh as its International Friend.
In November 2019, a documentary film “Dance or Die” by Roozbeh Kaboly about the life of Ahmad Joudeh won one of 2019 International Emmy® Awards, one in the category of Arts Programming.
In 2021, he obtained Dutch nationality.
Memoir “Dance or Die"
Ahmad Joudeh published his autobiography “DANZA O MUORI” (Dance or Die) from DeA Planeta Libri, an Italian publisher, on 6 November 2018.
For more, see Book "DANZA O MUORI”
Dance in Palmyra (2016)
In July 2016, Ahmad Joudeh danced for the souls of those who had lost their lives in the civil war at the Roman amphitheatre of Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage. This was probably the last art performance at this theatre before it was destroyed later in the year. The dance was filmed by Roozbeh Kaboly, a Dutch documentary filmmaker. The footage was broadcast first in Kaboly's reportage about Ahmad's life in Syria under the civil war in a TV news programme in The Netherlands in August 2016. The Reportage was shown in many other countries.
For more, see Documentary and Reportages by Roozbeh Kaboly.
Ahmad Joudeh has also been contributing with dances to events that are to raise awareness for the situation of refugees and their children.
The major contributions:
A charity show for children in Syria by SOS Childrens' Village Italy
Milan, 28 November 2018
See Agenda 2018.11.28
Geneva, 5 October 2017
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