Dance or Die

by Ahmad Joudeh (Author)

A Syria-born dancer offers his deeply personal story of war, statelessness, and the pursuit of the art of dance in this inspirational memoir. 

DANCE OR DIE is an autobiographical coming-of-age account of Ahmad Joudeh, a young refugee who grows up in Damascus with dreams of becoming a dancer. When he is recruited by one of Syria’s top dance companies, neither bombs nor family opposition can keep him from taking classes, practicing hard, and becoming a Middle Eastern celebrity on a Lebanese reality show. Despite death threats if Ahmad continues to dance, his father kicking him out of the house, and the war around him intensifying, he persists and even gets a tattoo on his neck right where the executioner's blade would fall that says, "Dance or Die."
A powerful look at refugee life in Syria, DANCE OR DIE tells of the pursuit of personal expression in the most dangerous of circumstances and of the power of art to transcend war and suffering. It follows Ahmad from Damascus to Beirut to Amsterdam, where he finds a home with one of Europe's top ballet troupes, and from where he continues to fight for the human rights of refugees everywhere through his art, his activism, and his commitment to justice.

Publication date
September 21, 2021
Paper ISBN
File size
2 MB