Dance Your Way Through History with Mao’s Last Dancer

3 Aug

Really interesting movie to rent or download: 2010’s Mao’s Last Dancer. Based on the life of Li Cunxin, it tells of his journey from a poor rural village in China to Madame Mao’s Beijing Dance Academy, where he becomes a classically trained ballet dancer. Eventually he’s chosen by the communist regime to be one of the first cultural exchange students allowed in the U.S.

After landing in Houston and rising to local stardom at the Houston Ballet, he falls in love—yes, with a girl—but also with America’s freedom and prosperity. In 1981 the Chinese government learns of his intent to stay in the States and locks him in up in the consulate against his will. He defects at only 20 years old and has to live with the consequences of possibly never seeing his family again.

Seriously, you don’t have to like ballet to enjoy this movie (which is based on Cuxin’s autobiography). It’s a nice blend of history, art and personal determination. And we can all use a little extra inspiration!


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