Mao's Last Dancer (2009)
In Maoist China, a boy is taken from his family and trained to become a dancer, but everything he knows is challenged when he is chosen to attend a ballet summer school in Houston, Texas.
A drama based on the autobiography by Li Cunxin. At the age of 11, Li was plucked from a poor Chinese village by Madame Mao's cultural delegates and taken to Beijing to study ballet. In 1979, during a cultural exchange to Texas, he fell in love with an American woman. Two years later, he managed to defect and went on to perform as a principal dancer for the Houston Ballet and as a principal artist with the Australian Ballet.
In a village of China (named Quing-Dao in the book), the eleven year-old Li Cunxin is selected by the Communist Party to study ballet at the Madame Mao's Dance Academy in Beijing. Years later, he travels to Houston in a cultural exchange program invited by the artistic director Ben Stevenson and he is promoted to principal dancer of the Houston Ballet. Meanwhile he secretly dates and falls in love with the dancer Elizabeth Mackey. When the China's government asks Li Cunxin to return to his country, he marries Liz and defects to USA. He is forbidden to return to China and has no news of his parents and family. Meanwhile, his marriage with Liz ends and he misses his parents. But five years later, he has a great surprise during a performance.
- The inspirational true story, adapted from a best-selling autobiography, of a small boys extraordinary journey from poverty to international stardom. From a grueling apprenticeship as a classical dancer in communist China, to the glory of creative freedom in America. MAOS LAST DANCER captures the intoxicating effects of first love and celebrity, the pain of exile, and ultimately the triumph of individual endeavour over ideology.