Join our monthly book chat on "Mao's Last Dancer" by Li Cunxin. This month we will have a screening based on his book & a discussion after screening!
About "Mao's Last Dancer"
From a desperately poor village in northeast China, to a career that took him across the world, this is the incredible story of Li Cunxin - a story that almost vanished, like so many other peasants' lives, amid revolution and chaos. At age eleven, Li was chosen by Madame Mao's cultural delegates to be taken from his rural home and brought to Beijing, where he would study ballet. In 1979, the young dancer arrived in Texas as part of a cultural exchange, wary of class enemies and prepared to "serve glorious communism". It didn't take long for him to fall in love with America - and with an American woman. Two years later, through a series of events worthy of the most exciting cloak-and-dagger fiction, he defected to the United States, where he quickly became one of the greatest ballet dancers in the world. This is the remarkable story of his journey - a "heartening rags-to-riches story and a fascinating glimpse into the history of Chinese-U.S. relations and the dissolution of the Communist ideal in the life of one fortunate individual".
About the author:
Li Cunxin was born in 1961, in the New Village, Li Commune, near the city of Qingdao on the coast of northeast China. The sixth of seven sons in a poor rural family, Li's peasant life in Chairman Mao's communist China changed dramatically when, at the age of eleven, he was chosen by Madame Mao's cultural advisers to become a student at the Beijing Dance Academy. After summer school in America, for which he was one of only two students chosen, he defected to the West and became principal dancer for the Houston Ballet.
Li went on to become one of the best male dancers in the world. He is now senior manager in a major stockbroking firm and lives in Melbourne, Australia, with his wife, Mary, and their three children, Sophie, Tom and Bridie.
About CCC Book Club
The CCC Book Club is one of the earliest book clubs targeting expariates living in Beijing and the only book meeting groups focusing on China-related books for the international community.
At the CCC's Book Club, participants are assigned a great book to read (or selected chapters) and then asked to discuss its meanings with other book club members, using their own interpretation. All assigned books (mostly China-related fiction and non-fiction, a mix of classics and modern ones in English or with English translation) are available at CCC library and bookshop or at major foreign-language book stores where participants are encouraged to purchase their own copies.
You are also welcome even though you may not have read a single page of the book yet. Just join our discussion!
CCC Book Club day group: 10:30 am.
Note: sometimes the date is different because of holidays. So check the monthly calendar for the most up to date info during the month.
Venue: China Culture Center
- Documentary screening: "Found in China"
- Documentary Screening: The Hammer and Sickle Are Sleeping
- Screening: "The Lost Brother"
- Screening: Classic Chinese Animated Films
- Screening: "Cherries Grows on The Pomegranate Tree"
- Screening: "Hollywood Chinese"
- Screening: "Young And Clueless" (qing chun qi)
- Screening: "Bliss"