Mao's Last Dancer

Front Cover
Penguin Random House Australia, Sep 1, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 464 pages
In a small, desperately poor village in north-east China, a young peasant boy sits at his rickety old school desk, interested more in the birds outside than in Chairman Mao's Red Book and the grand words it contains. But that day, some strange men come to his school - Madame Mao's cultural delegates. They are looking for young peasants to mould into faithful guards of Chairman Mao's great vision for China.
This is the true story of how that one moment in time, by the thinnest thread of a chance, changed the course of a small boy's life in ways that are beyond description. One day he would dance with some of the greatest ballet companies of the world. One day he would be a friend to a president and first lady, movie stars and the most influential people in America. One day he would become a star: Mao's last dancer, and the darling of the West.
Visit the official Mao's Laster Dancer Movie website maoslastdancermovie.com

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User Review  - Erratic_Charmer - www.librarything.com

Li Cunxin was born into desperate poverty, the sixth of seven sons in a Chinese peasant family in Mao's China in the 1960s. At age 11 he was selected to attend Madame Mao's dance academy in Beijing ... Read full review

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When people talk about the lives of the famous, they often describe them as "extraordinary." Yet that descriptor is overused to the point where it hardly has any meaning now. But extraordinary seems ... Read full review

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About the author (2003)

Li Cunxin was born in 1961 in the New Village, Li Commune, near the city of Qingdao on the coast of north-east China. The sixth of seven sons in a poor rural family, Li's peasant life in Chairman Mao's communist China changed dramatically when, at the age of eleven, he was chosen by Madame Mao's cultural advisers to become a student at the Beijing Dance Academy. After a summer school in America, for which he was one of only two students chosen, he defected to the West and became a principal dancer for the Houston Ballet.

Li went on to become one of the best male dancers in the world. He is now a senior manager in a major stockbroking firm and lives in Melbourne, Australia, with his wife Mary and their three children, Sophie, Tom and Bridie.

Li's autobiography, Mao's Last Dancer, has received numerous accolades including the Australian Book of the Year Award and has been published around the world. The children's version won the Australian Publishers Association's Book of the Year for Younger Children and the Queensland Premier's Literary Awards Children's Book Award.

Mao's Last Dancer was adapted into a 2009 feature film of the same name by director Bruce Beresford and writer Jan Sardi.

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