Every time I dance, I try to do my best and I give the most
because living in the war taught me maybe this time, it will be the last dance for you.
Maybe you will be killed in a bomb or a bullet or something when you leave the studio.
So every time I would give my best and live it to the most.
Ahmad Joudeh was born in the Yarmouk Camp, a refugee camp for Palestinians in Syria.
Despite his tumultuous surroundings, he found escape in a hobby uncommon in his culture.
I saw dance for the first time when I was a child-8 years old,
cause I was fascinated by their movements and by the music that they are moving on.
I learned how to dance through videos on YouTube,
and I was doing this every day in my room secretly
because dancing in my culture, especially for a man, it's something to be ashamed of.
My life was in danger when I was in Syria because I was a dancer
and that's because of the extremist people who came into our country
and then I start to receive all these messages or phone calls or those kind of things that telling me they want to cut my head,
and that's why I had my tattoo dance or die on my neck
cause I carry my life on my neck.
And if they would've killed me,
I wanted it to be the last thing they can see from me,
so it's dance or die.
While in Syria,
Ahmad went on to receive formal dance training and would post videos of his dancing
and was eventually discovered by a documentary filmmaker from Holland who wanted to tell his story.
The film was seen by the Dutch National Ballet, who offered him a scholarship.
He has since gone on to perform all over Europe.
We are here in Kilden Theater talking about social media.
In this production, I'm acting myself because social media played the most important role in saving my life in my story;
because through social media, I was seen and I was rescued.
What made me keep dancing and keep on doing what am I doing even 'til today
because I believe the artist has the same duty like the soldier to fight for his country
and the artist can fight for culture and for art and for history.
And if we don't have art and culture in our countries, what are we fighting for?
Away from dance, I am nothing, and I have nothing.
All I have is dance, and all I am is the dancer.
Then maybe in the far future, sometimes I see myself sitting in a chair as an old man in theater in Syria directing the Syrian National Ballet that I will find,
so I hope this dream will come true.