Ahmad Joudeh, Stateless Refugee and Dancer, Finds Hope, Home and Success in Ballet

WATERTOWN, Mass., Sept. 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Imagine Publishing announces today the release of Dance or Die: From Stateless Refugee to International Ballet Star: A Memoir in which world-renowned ballet dancer Ahmad Joudeh shares his story of growing up in the Al-Yarmouk camp in Syria, a stateless refugee descended from Palestinians who fled war in the 1940s, and his determination to overcome life-or-death circumstances to achieve his dreams.

From his childhood in the camp to the dangers of living and studying in the middle of a war to extremists threatening to kill him if he dared to dance and teach children to dance. Performing with one of Syria’s top dance companies, Ahmad not only ignored these threats but also, at the exact place where an executioner’s blade would fall, had his neck tattooed with the words "Dance or Die." He wanted that to be last thing they would see if they followed through with their threats.

Dance or Die paints a picture of life as a stateless refugee in Syria, of the pursuit of personal expression in the most dangerous circumstances, and of the power of art to transcend war and suffering. Ahmad leads readers from Damascus to Beirut to Amsterdam, where in spite of his statelessness, he establishes a career as an international dancer.

Ahmad’s story was chronicled in the International Emmy® award-winning documentary "Dance or Die" by Roozbeh Kaboly.

Ahmad continues to fight for the human rights of children, refugees, and the stateless everywhere through his art, his activism, and his commitment to justice. Ahmad was appointed International Friend by SOS Children’s Villages International.

Dancer and choreographer Ahmad Joudeh was born in Syria in 1990 and grew up as a stateless refugee in the Al-Yarmouk camp on the outskirts of Damascus. Amid the violence of the Syrian civil war, he pursued his dream as a dancer and appeared on the Middle Eastern version of So You Think You Can Dance before moving to Europe in 2016 to dance with the Dutch National Ballet. He lives in Amsterdam and performs throughout the world.

See Ahmad dance at https://youtu.be/H9BKpjnopIE.

"A story that touches the heart and truly lets us understand the importance of having a dream, of believing in it solidly, and of fighting for it until that dream becomes a reality."
— from the foreword by Roberto Bolle, principle dancer, Teatro all Scala, Milan

Available now • 978-1-62354-513-0 Hardcover • $24.99

Contact: Donna Spurlock
Phone:  (617) 321-2502  

SOURCE Imagine Publishing