Ahmad Joudeh - Story in Brief

The beginning

Ahmad Joudeh became fascinated about dancing when he saw a ballet performance for the first time in his life at the age of eight. Ever since, to become a dancer was his dream. His mother supported his dream. His farther disapproved. Because of this disagreement, his father left the family.

Enana Dance Theater

At 16, totally self-taught, Ahmad Joudeh auditioned for the main Syrian ballet company, Enana Dance Theater in Damascus, and was accepted. There he was trained in ballet, gymnastics and modern dance. He travelled extensively with the company in places including Qatar, Algeria, Tunisia, Jordan and Lebanon.

Ahmad Joudeh with Albina Belova, his teacher

The civil war in Syria

The civil war in Syria, which broke out in 2011, has had devastating impacts on the life of Ahmad Joudeh and his family. Yarmouk Camp, his hometown, was destroyed. Five of his family members were killed in the war. And Ahmad Joudeh and his family lost their home and everything.


The home of Ahmad Joudeh and his family was destroyed by a bomb, 29 December 2012.

"Dance or Die"

Despite the difficulty, Ahmad Joudeh kept on dancing and giving ballet lessons to children. He received constant threats from extremists, saying that they would execute him unless he gives up his dance activities. Ahmad Joudeh’s response was to have the words “Dance or Die” tattooed on the back of his neck, the spot where the blade would be applied in case of execution. This was his declaration of the determination to keep on dancing. 

"So You Think You Can Dance" (SYTYCD) in Lebanon (2014)

Ahmad Joudeh was invited to participate in the Arab version of "So You Think You Can Dance" (SYTYCD), a TV dance competition, in Lebanon in 2014. He became a known dancer in Arabic world with the prominent performances. He was told, however, that he would not win the final because he is stateless.

See Dances 2014 - SYTYCD.

SOS Children's Viillages Syria (2015)

Witnessing a child killed in a battle, Ahmad Joudeh decided to work for children orphaned in the war. He joined fundraising activities for SOS Children's Village Syria and held dance lessons for the children of their villages.

Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts, Damascus, Syria

Ahmad Joudeh graduated from  Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts, Damascus, Syria, in 2016.

He completed the study and training in dance and choreography.

2016.01.25 the contemporary exam


Documentary 1 by Roozbeh Kaboly on Dutch TV (August, 2016)

Ahmad Joudeh became known to outside Arab world through a documentary made by Roozbeh Kaboly, broadcast first on 6 August 2016 in the Dutch National TV news programme Nieuwsuur of NOS. 

Documentary 1 by Roozbeh Kaboly.


Yarmouk Camp

From Syria to Amsterdam (October, 2016)

Ahmad Joudeh moved to Amsterdam from Syria, with the help of The Dance For Peace Fund organised by Ted Brandsen, director of Dutch National Ballet, in October 2016.

Documentary 2 by Roozbeh Kaboly

Ahmad Joudeh in Amsterdam

Private Lesson by Roberto Bolle (November, 2016)

In November 2016, Ahmad Joudeh received a private lesson by Roberto Bolle, the international star ballet dancer whom Ahmad Joudeh admires as his idol. 

Article with Video
le Repubblica
Roboert Bolle said:
In November I was at the Dutch National Ballet and they told me that there is a Syrian boy who wants to meet me. We met, it was Ahmad: he was trembling, he was crying, he was excited. Then he revealed everything to me and it was moving for me.

This article includes a video of the private lesson. 


Roberto Bolle and Ahmad Joudeh

Reunification and Reconciliation with his farther (November, 2016)

Ahmad Joudeh visited his farther at an asylum seekers centre in Berlin, where the farther was staying after fleeing from Syria. After 11-year long separation, they were reunified and made reconciliation.  

Documentary 3 by Roozbeh Kaboly.

Ahmad Joudeh and his farther

"Coppelia" - First Stage at the Dutch National Ballet (December, 2016)

Ahmad Joudeh made his debut at Dutch National Ballet in the production of “Coppelia” in December 2016.  

Documentary 3 by Roozbeh Kaboly

Ahmad Joudeh as a priest in Coppelia at Dutch National Ballet

Dancing beyond borders (2017-)

Since 2017 Ahmad Joudeh has been active as a dancer not only in The Netherlands but also in other countries within Europe (France, Switzerland, Norway, Spain, Italy, Denmark, and Belgium) and UAE.
See Agenda and Dances.

His story was reported around the globe.
See Media.

He has also been active in supporting Syrian refugees. 

"One in a million", 23-25 June 2017, Geneva

"Dance or Die", 20 July 2017, Paris

"Sacrifice", 5 October 2017, Geneva

"Sacrifice", 8 May 2018, Coucy

"Sacrifice", 20 June 2018, Brussels

New Year Show with Roberto Bolle on 1 January 2018, 21:25 on Rai 1

Ahmad Joudeh danced with Roberto Bolle to "Inshallah" sung by Sting himself in a TV programme "Danza con me" of Rai1, 1 January 2018, 21:25.

A teaser ad with a message of Ahmad Joudeh

Inshallah (Roberto Bolle - Danza con me)
Registration to is needed.
It is free of charge.

2018.01.01 Inshallah

Last update of this page: 2018.12.03