In 2001, Ahmad became acquainted with Stella Polaris, a Norwegian group of acrobats, clowns, and other entertainers who also deliver circus training. Ahmad’s older brother, Ramzi, trained with the group at the Palestinian National Theatre (el-Hakawati), and Ahmad, then just aged 13, wanted to join them too.
He signed up twice, but he did not get accepted, because he was too young.
After dedicated practice during the turbulent times of the Second Intifada, the Norwegian and Palestinian team members performed their show at the Palestinian National Theatre in 2003. The performance was a hit: the artists mimicked jesters, troubadours, dancers, and storytellers, and did acrobatic stunts in a thrilling way. This was the first-ever circus performance that Ahmad experienced, and he was immediately captivated.
He then discovered what would become his ultimate inspiration: Cirque de Soleil’s Alegria—the famous touring production that includes contortions and fast tracking and the use of the aerial cube, fire, tightwires, and high bars, as well as hand balancing and flying.
Ahmad decided to train by himself. He used the tools and equipment that his brother had access to and started to practice on the roof of their house in the Old City of Jerusalem. “Back then, YouTube wasn’t yet a medium that offered tutorials on everything under the sun,” he recalls. “I had to learn everything on my own.”
Soon thereafter, Ahmad received training at el-Hakawati.
One year later, in 2004, he would embark on his professional journey as a circus performer.