As often occurred in those times, government officials fanning out across the nation seeking young candidates for centralized training arrive at this school.
As often occurred in those times, government officials fanning out across the nation seeking young candidates for centralized training arrive at this school. At first bypassed but selected after a plea by his teacher during the school visit, Li seems bewildered although piqued by the gruff preliminary inspection screening at the provincial capital city of Qingdao.
Forwarded to a Beijing audition for a place in Madame Mao's Dance Academy, he is admitted for ballet training based on a series of physique and flexibility examinations.
Years of arduous training follow, Li surpassing his initial lukewarm interest and mediocre performance after inspiration from senior teacher Chan whose advocacy of classical Russian ballet as opposed to the politically aimed, physically strident Mao s last dancer required by Madame Mao leads to the teacher's apparent banishment.
Later during the course of a groundbreaking cultural visit to China, American-based English ballet director Ben Stevensonimpressed by Li's standout talent, seeks him as an exchange student at his the Houston Ballet. Li's determined courage garners a formerly disparaging teacher to influence the Academy to allow him the opportunity for a three-month stay in the United States.
Li's encounters with US life cause questioning of the Chinese Communist Party dictates upon which he has been raised, and he begins a relationship with an aspiring American dancer, Elizabeth Mackey.
Quickly attracting the attention of the local ballet scene, Li together with Stevenson requests a time extension in America, but the Chinese government refuses. Overwhelmed by the opportunities offered in America and in love with Mackey, Li is determined to stay.
With legal advice that the Chinese government would recognize certain residence rights arising from an international marriage, Li and Mackey rush into a marriage. To declare personal responsibility for his decision and hopefully avoid consequences for his family and Stevenson, Li visits the Chinese Consulate in Houston.
The Chinese resident diplomat forcibly detains Li in an attempt to coerce his return to China. Unknown to Li, the situation quickly evolves when the media and high level government agents both in the US and China become involved.
When Li perseveres in his refusal to repatriate, the Chinese Government agrees to release him but revokes his citizenship and declares he can never return to the land of his birth.
Li and Elizabeth are set to depart for Florida but Li is persuaded to stay by Stevenson for his ballet company, dooming Elizabeth's prospects of dancing success. Burdened by this, plus concerned for and unable to communicate with his family, Cunxin continues to excel as a dancer, but his relationship with Elizabeth disintegrates and their marriage ends.
Five years later, as a show of goodwill the Chinese government allows Li's parents to visit him in the US where they finally witness his performance of The Rite of Spring and even reunite with him on stage.
Li is eventually granted permission to visit China. Together with his new wife Mary McKendry Camilla Vergotisan Australian ballerina, and coming back to the village of his youth, he rejoins his family and his former teacher Chan, who expresses regret that he never got to see Li perform.
Li and McKendry give an impromptu outdoor ballet performance to the village's uproarious cheer.
Closing credits announce that: Li Cunxin danced in China with the Houston Ballet ina performance broadcast to an audience of over million people. He and Mary McKendry now live in Australia with their three children. Acclaimed as one of the world's leading choreographers, he is now Artistic Director of the Texas Ballet Theater.
Foster still practices law in Houston. He is recognized internationally as an authority on Immigration Law. Elizabeth Mackey Liz danced with the Oklahoma Ballet for some years.
She is now a speech therapist, working mainly with children.An interview with the dancer on his odyssey from poverty to fame on the Western ballet stage. Mao's last dancer returns to China, 37 years after defecting Friday, 23 November (1 day ago) Li Cunxin is taking his Queensland Ballet troupe on a tour of his former homeland.
Li's detailed and nostalgic yet unflinching descriptions of his childhood make up the heart of Mao's Last Dancer. While he gladly, gratefully, and unquestioningly accepted the Maoist party line during his school years, the seeds of dissent had already been sown in his family.
Mao's Last Dancer, the autobiography of Li Cunxin, is told in a simple, straightforward manner, principally because English is not the author's native language.
This fact shouldn't deter anyone from reading this moving account of a Chinese peasant boy's rise to fame as a ballet dancer and subsequent defection to the West/5().
Mao's Last Dancer PG • Drama, Biography • Movie • The inspiring true story of Li Cunxin and his extraordinary journey from a poor upbringing in rural China to international stardom as a world-class ballet dancer.
Beresford later helmed Mao’s Last Dancer (), which was based on the real-life story of a Chinese ballet dancer who defected to the United States, and Peace, Love & Misunderstanding (). His later credits included the dramedy Mr. Church () and the TV movie Flint (), about the.