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Mao's Last Dancer poster
General · 23rd November 2010
Friday Flicks
Friday, November 26, 7:45 at Quadra Community Centre.
Mao's Last Dancer tells the inspiring true story of Li Cunxin. Born in 1961, Li lived with his six brothers and impoverished, labourer parents in China's Shandong Province. When recruiters of Madame Mao's ballet academy swept through his single-room school in search of untapped talent to mould into the future leading lights of the cultural Revolution, 11 year old Li was selected and committed to a life of stringent training, both artistic and ideological. He became the school's top dancer.

The artistic director of the Houston Ballet, part of the first American cultural delegation to Communist China, sees Li's incredible talent and arrangements are made for him to be among the first exchange students allowed by the regime to visit America. When Li refused to return to China, a dramatic standoff at the consulate ensued, making headlines across the U.S. “The themes soar, but the dialogue, performances, direction, and the dancing itself, is incredibly grounded” (The Globe and Mail).

Mao's Last Dancer captures some of the most viscerally potent dance ever captured in a fiction film.