Mao’s last dancer: lessons of creativity and courage (November 30, 3.30pm)
Li Cunxin’s journey is simply remarkable. He was born into utter poverty in Mao’s communist China, at a very young age he was selected to train in Madame Mao’s Beijing Dance Academy. So began Li’s journey. The 7 years of harsh training regime at the Beijing Dance Academy taught him discipline, resilience, determination and creativity. Li’s astounding drive and relentless hard work made him one of the best dancers in the world. He won numerous prestigious dance awards including the Princess Grace Award for Dance, two silver medals at international ballet competitions and the Green Room Award for Best Male Dancer.
The inspirational story of Li’s life is recounted in his memoir Mao’s Last Dancer, which quickly rose to No. 1 on the Australian Non-Fiction Best-Seller List and won the Book of the Year Award in Australia and receiving the Christopher Award for Literature in the USA. It went on to become an international bestseller. It’s in the 52nd reprint and sold in over 30 countries. Mao’s Last Dancer is now a blockbuster film.
Li’s experiences are real, his journey is incredible and he is a living example of overcoming adversity and achieving excellence in life.
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