Ahmad Joudeh was born and raised in the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, in Damascus, Syria. Ever since his childhood, his dream was to be a dancer. Despite intense opposition from some family members and society in general, he attended dance lessons, often in secret. Ahmad was trained at Syria’s major dance company the Enana Dance Theatre and studied at the Damascus Higher Institute for Dramatic Arts. In his free time he also taught dancing to orphans and young people with Down’s Syndrome at the SOS villages around Damascus.
In 2014 Ahmad starred in the Arabian version of “So You Think You Can Dance”. His appearance in this programme earned him fame both at home and abroad.
The Dutch journalist, Roozbeh Kaboly, spotted Ahmad on the Facebook page of the Higher Institute for Dramatic Arts and travelled to Damascus to document the life of Ahmad and his family for the Dutch news programme “Nieuwsuur”. The moving and inspirational documentary “Dance or Die” has also been broadcast by the international media, including the BBC, Channel 4 News, Arte and France 2. It has been viewed by millions of people across the globe.
After seeing the documentary, Ted Brandsen, director of the Dutch National Ballet was inspired to help Ahmad. Together with individuals and colleagues from The Netherlands, the Dutch National Ballet has succeeded in bringing him to The Netherlands to continue his studies and career there.
“Dancing has given me the strength to face many obstacles that came my way. It has shaped my personality. Because I am a dancer, I am alive.”