Talking Pointes podcast

Mao's Last Dancer Speaks Auslan

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Li Cunxin, artistic director of the Queensland Ballet, joins us today on Talking Pointes. Most of you will know Li from his early life. He is Mao's Last Dancer. Li was born into complete poverty in rural China, where he was plucked from obscurity to join the Beijing Dance Academy. He was put through years of brutal training, up to 16 hours a day, to become a dancer. However, his life was meant to be one of twists and turns. He was chosen to undergo an exchange to the United States to dance with the Houston Ballet and while he was there he fell in love and married an American dancer. The resulting standoff between the USA and China made Li a global name, and with it, a ballet superstar. But with that success also came pain. In this wonderfully personal and at times emotional interview, Li shares stories from his early life, and the trauma of being banned from China, but he also shares the highs, reuniting with his parents, finding enduring love and to learning Auslan for his eldest daughter, Sophie. Hosted by Claudia Lawson

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