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Sunday, April 21, 2024

‘Mao’s last dancer’ glides through pandemic

Since Li Cunxin was plucked from rural China to join Madame Mao’s elite ballet school, through his exile in the US and now the pandemic, his life has been a reluctant pas de deux with politics

BRISBANE (AUSTRALIA) – Since Li Cunxin was plucked from rural China to join Madame Mao’s elite ballet school, through his exile in the US and now the pandemic, his life has been a reluctant pas de deux with politics.

The 59-year-old artistic director of the Queensland Ballet — one of Australia’s premier dance companies — prefers to focus discussion on his art.

But his ascent from humble beginnings has been punctuated by political turmoil — from the horrors of Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward to life in exile, to the anti-Chinese backlash of today’s coronavirus pandemic.

Li was born in 1961 as…

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