- Publisher: Penguin USA
- Format: Paperback | 480 pages
- Dimensions: 150mm x 228mm x 26mm | 440g
- Publication date: 29 April 2006
- Publication City/Country: New York, NY
- ISBN 10: 0425201333
- ISBN 13: 9780425201336
- Edition statement: Reprint
- Sales rank: 33,939
From a desperately poor village in northeast China, at age eleven, Li Cunxin was chosen by Madame Mao's cultural delegates to be taken from his rural home and brought to Beijing, where he would study ballet. In 1979, the young dancer arrived in Texas as part of a cultural exchange, only to fall in love with America-and with an American woman. Two years later, through a series of events worthy of the most exciting cloak-and-dagger fiction, he defected to the United States, where he quickly became known as one of the greatest ballet dancers in the world. This is his story, told in his own inimitable voice.
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Li Cunxin was born in a small village near the city of Qingdao, in northern China. At eighteen, he was selected to perform at the Houston Ballet, which led to a dramatic defection to the United States. He has performed as a soloist with the Houston Ballet and as a principal artist with the Australian Ballet.
By Christine 11 Aug 2011
This auto-biography is wonderful. It captures the truly beautiful nature of dance, love and big dreams. It makes you wish for such a dream, a goal, that you would do anything to achieve. Li Cuxin captivates the reader, and envelops them into a world of ballet, triumph and desperation.
This book is inspiring and a wonderful read, to this day remaining as one of my all time favourite books.
Table of contents
Mao's Last DancerA Wedding: Qingdao, 1946 Part One: My Childhood 1. Home 2. My Niang and Dia 3. A Commune Childhood 4. The Seven of Us 5. Na-na 6. Chairman Mao's Classroom 7. Leaving Home Part Two: Beijing 8. Feather in a Whirlwind 9. The Caged Bird 10. That First Lonely Year 11. The Pen 12. My Own Voice 13. Teacher Xiao's Words 14. Turning Points 15. The Mango 16. Change 17. On the Way to the West 18. The Filthy Capitalist America 19. Good-bye, China Part Three: The West 20. Return to the Land of Freedom 21. Elizabeth 22. Defection 23. My New Life 24. A Millet Dream Come True 25. No More Nightmares 26. Russia 27. Mary 28. Going Home 29. Back in My Village 30. Another Wedding: Qingdao, 1988 Postscript The Li Family Tree Acknowledgments