Last month it has been revealed which acts will open the second semi-final of Eurovision Song Contest 2021 and now there are more news about the rest of the interval acts which will be presented in the semi-final. The ones to performa are ballet dancer Ahmad Joudeh and BMX rider Dez Maarsen
Ahmad Joudeh was born to a Palestinian mother and Syrian father in Yarmouk, a Palestinian refugee campand he studied dance in Damascus. He took part in the Arab version of the show “So You Think You Can Dance” back in 2014, and he didn’t have a chance of winning the show due to his refugee status.
His appearance on the show caught the attention of Roozbeh Kaboly, Dutch filmmaker who then made a documentary “Dance or Die” about Ahmad for the show Nieuwsuur . After the documentary aired, with the help of the Dutch National Ballet Company Ahmad moved to The Netherlands . There was a release of follow-up documentary in 2018, called “Dance for Peace”, which followed Ahmad’s life after he moved to the Netherlands and It has won the Emmy Award for Best Arts Programming in 2019. For his performance, Ahmad will combine contemporary dance, classical ballet and Sufi twirling and it will be done in collaboration with the Flemish-Moroccan choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. After Sidi won several international dance prizes he was an artistic director of Ballet Vlaanderen. In addition to that he choreographed “Apeshit” by Beyoncé and Jay-Z at the Louvre.
“This will be the most important performance of my career. My mission in life is to tell my story because my story relates to many people who need a voice. Our society consists of people from different places and with different cultures, yet we are all Dutch. That is also what you see on stage: diversity. We are all different, but also all Dutch. Together with Dez and the other dancers we tell the story of the Netherlands: the power of unity. ”
Ahmad for Eurovision.tv
Dez Maarsen is one of the most succesful BMX riders in the Netherlands and for his act Dez is building a new bicycle, so that it fits into the artistic frame of the act. The choreographer of Dez’s BMX performance will be Marco Gerris, who won the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Prize in 2020. Dez said that their performance will be poetic and it showcases people from different cultures who found their common ground despite their diverse backgrounds. and added that it is about acceptance.
During our shows we are highlighting the best of the Netherlands and each performance has its own story. In this spectacular dance act we tell the story of our natural desire for connection. In our lives it is important to find each other and to pay attention to each other. And even though we are sometimes at a distance and the world is adrift, we still manage to find each other again. A theme that is more topical than ever due to the crisis we are still in the middle of. The choreography of both acts is illustrative of the time in which we now live. Two top talents who feel at home in the Netherlands shine in this act. Where Dez Maarsen was born on Dutch soil and developed his talent here, Ahmad Joudeh grew up in Syria and found his homeland in the Netherlands. The performance therefore has the appropriate title: ‘Close Encounters of a Special Kind.
Gerben Bakker, Head of Show for eurovision.tv
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