BookBrowse Reviews Mao's Last Dancer by Li Cunxin

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Mao's Last Dancer

by Li Cunxin

Mao's Last Dancer
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2004, 444 pages
    Mar 2005, 480 pages

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The true story of a boy who escaped poverty in rural China to become one of the world's greatest dancers. Memoir

Comment: Li Cunxin (Li is his family name, Cunxin his given name, Cunxin is pronouced 'twin-sing') was born and raised in extreme poverty in rural China during the height of the cultural revolution. The first 150 fascinating pages tell about the first decade of his life in a rural village where dried yams were the staple diet and starvation was always close at hand. Then one day in 1972 a group arrived from Beijing and literally plucked him from his classroom to be tested for Madame Mao's Beijing Dance Academy. He had never danced and knew nothing of the ballet but saw that this was his opportunity to escape from the poverty of the village and thus endured the extraordinarily painful testing process and was ultimately selected for the academy.  

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