March 21, 2023

Mao’s Last Dancer

Author: Li Cunxin

Berkley Trade Paperback

(Movie Tie-in Edition)

July 27, 2010


Li Cunxin’s best-selling autobiography, “Mao’s Last Dancer” is now the subject of a major motion picture premiering in the U.S. on August 20, 2010.

This inspiring true story of Li Cunxin (pronounced “Lee Schwin Sing”) and his extraordinary journey from poverty to international stardom – and of how one moment in time changed the course of a young boy’s life ‘in immeasurable ways.

Berkley Trade Paperback is re-releasing a movie tie-in edition of Mao’s Last Dancer in which Li Cunxin recounts the perseverance, determination and resilience that drove him to become one of the best ballet dancers in the world.

The film version of Mao’s Last Dancer is directed by Academy Award nominated director Bruce Beresford and has won awards and rave reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival and the Provincetown International Film Festival.

Born into bitter poverty in a rural village in northern China, Li Cunxin was the sixth of seven sons who grew up worshiping Mao Zedong. At age eleven, Li was chosen by Madame Mao’s Beijing Dance Academy to study ballet.

Taken from his family and sent to the Peking Dance Academy where he began a rigorous training program, Li danced and trained from morning until night. After spending seven years with the Academy and becoming one of the best dancers ‘in China, Li Cunxin was brought to the United States in an exchange program at age 18, where he would spend 16 years dancing for the Houston Ballet.

Li Cunxin’s time in America was only the start of his incredible rags-to-riches story. Mao’s Last Dancer captures the inspirational story of Li Cunxin as he frees himself and his family from a life of poverty and oppression.

In 1995, Li and his family went to Australia, where he danced his last three and half years as a principal dancer with the Australian Ballet. For the final two years of his dancing,

Li studied finance at the Australian Securities Institute with a view of becoming a stockbroker. He made a successful career transition from ballet to finance in 1999, and is a senior manager at one of the largest stock-broking firms in Australia. He is currently living in Melbourne with his wife and three children.

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