Dance or Die: Meet the Ballet Dancer Who Escaped From Syria

Ahmad Joudeh is the only Arab ballet dancer in the Dutch National Ballet company. Until late last year, he was stuck in Syria—and he never dreamed he would be able to escape and dance freely.

Joudeh grew up in a refugee camp in Damascus, where his father would beat him and burn his dance clothes, all to prevent him from dancing.

“My dad didn’t want me to dance because being a ballet dancer—there is something so shameful,” Joudeh says.

But Joudeh danced anyway, first in defiance of his father, and later in defiance of the Islamic State terrorist group. He even got a tattoo—“Dance or Die” in Arabic—on the back of his neck, where he knew he might be beheaded if he were captured.

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Comments
No. 1-4
cassanom
cassanom

A great story indeed to look forward. this man deserves respect

brigitte-perreault
brigitte-perreault

A great story!

brigitte-perreault
brigitte-perreault

Dancing together in the same class. Wish the world was like that, no frontiers, all one big world, getting along.

jean
jean

One of the most powerful videos I have seen. A real testament to the power of the human spirit under the most dire of circumstances.The part about the tattoo really got to me. What a brave young man.

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