The Refugee Who Fought Violence With Dance

I can change the whole world if I really believe in myself

Sep 27, 2017

Dance is a powerful form of bodily expression, and Ahmad Joudeh is using its influence to promote peace and make the world a better place.

Born in a Palestinian refugee camp in Syria, the 27-year-old discovered at a young age that dancing was his expression of freedom. Despite intense opposition Ahmad attended dance lessons, often in secret.

"I felt when I danced for the first time this is who I am," he explains. "I was born as a refugee in a camp. Now the whole world calls me the dancer. That's what I always wanted to be: the dancer."

His love for ballet however, was not shared with his surroundings and his passion brought him the disaproval of his father and even made him the target of death threats from terrorist organizations. Joudeh was so sure in his path, that nothing could stop him and even when the Islamic State warned him that dancing was a crime punishable by death, he defied the people trying to keep him down and made a point of dancing in spots he knew that ISIS controlled.

Then, a year ago, Joudeh's life changed dramatically when the Dutch National Ballet offered to sponsor him to study and live in Amsterdam. Joudeh now trains with the DNB and performs in the streets of Europe to bring awareness to his cause, in the hopes that his story might reach the farthest corners of the world.

His journey has changed at least one mind so far - that of his father who now lives in Berlin, Germany as a refugee.

"I was visiting him in Berlin just five days ago, and he was dancing in his house. It gives me the proof I can change the whole world if I really believe in myself," Joudeh told CNN.

"When I could change my father's mind, I could change maybe a lot of fathers' minds in the Arab world."

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DAVID RUHM, EDITOR & WRITER
David has a passion for languages and words, and loves to see people happy. He writes about inspiring ideas, amazing technologies and all the wonders of the world.

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