Ahmad Joudeh

Dance or Die

Ahmad Joudeh

Dance or Die


Ahmad Joudeh

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Ahmad Joudeh, born in 1990, is a dancer and a choreographer from Syria.

In October 2016, with help of The Dance for Peace Fund organised by The Dutch National Ballet, Ahmad Joudeh moved to The Netherlands from Syria, a country devastated by the civil war.

Since 2017, with Amsterdam as the base, Ahmad Joudeh has been internationally active.

In the first half of 2019, Ahmad Joudeh worked for Kilden, a theatre in Kristiansand, Norway, for the production of "Lik og Del" (Like and Share), in which he had one of the main roles and contributed as a choreographer.

On 25 November 2019, it was announced that the documentary film “Dance Or Die” about Ahmad Joudeh won one of 2019 International Emmy® Awards, one in the category of Arts Programming

In 2019,  SOS Children’s Villages appointed Ahmad Joudeh as an International Friend.

For more, see Story in brief, NewsAgenda, and Dances.


Ahmad Joudeh

Portrait of Ahmad Joudeh - "Dancing for his Life" (April, 2019) by Great Big Story

Dance or Die

The civil war in Syria, which broke out in 2011, has had devastating impacts on the life of Ahmad Joudeh and his family. Five of his relatives lost their lives. Ahmad Joudeh and his family lost everything, as their home was destroyed by a terror bomb.

Ahmad Joudeh encountered not only life-threatening situations, but also constant threats by extremists, simply because he is a dancer. As declaration of his determination to keep on dancing, he had the words Dance or Die tattooed on the back of his neck, the spot where the blade would be applied in case of execution. For Ahmad Joudeh, to dance is to exist. To give up dancing was not an option.



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.

“Dance or Die” tattooed where the blade should fall

Autobiography “DANZA O MUORI” (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”


My Word Is Free - UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award Ceremony, Geneva, 1 October 2018

For refugees

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:

Together in Solidarity
An event hosted by European Parliament and sponsored by UNESCO Brussels Liaison Office
Brussels, 20 June 2018,  UN World Refugee Day 
See Agenda 2018.06.20

Nansen Refugee Award Ceremony 
of UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency
Geneva, 1 October 2018
See Agenda 2018.10.01

A charity show for children in Syria by SOS Childrens' Village Italy 
Milan, 28 November 2018 
See Agenda 2018.11.28

Geneva Call
Geneva, 5 October 2017

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