Dance Or Die

What is the price the Syrian dancer Ahmad pays for his flight to the Netherlands, where he can dance in apparent freedom as guest of the National Ballet? More...

Documentary - Music & Arts


International Emmy Award Arts Programming 2019
Social Movers Award 2019
Nomination Rose D'Or 2019
Official selection Golden Calfs competition NFF 2018
Official selection Debuut competition NFF 2018

Dance or Die is Syrian dancer Ahmad Joudeh’s (27) life philosophy. It’s tattooed in his neck. Dance is Ahmad’s life, but it’s become impossible for him to practice dance in his war-torn city of birth Damascus. He seized the opportunity to flee Syria. He’s been living in the Netherlands for 18 months and he dances in productions by the National Ballet, among others.


His story has been captured by media worldwide and he performs nationally and internationally, with stars like Sting and dancer Roberto Bolle. Yet he struggles with his new life. He misses his family, still living in Syria. And there’s a lot of pressure to make it here. What is the price Ahmad pays for his newly acquired freedom? Director Roozbeh Kaboly filmed Ahmad for the Dutch tv programme ‘Nieuwsuur’ in 2016 and has followed him closely ever since. With Dance or Die he made a probing documentary about resilience and the yearning for autonomy.

Roozbeh Kaboly

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