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Mao's Last Dancer

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victoria oyeneye

on 1 June 2014

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Transcript of Mao's Last Dancer

Mao's Last Dancer
Setting
The memoir starts in 1946 during Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution.
The Change in leaders from Mao to Deng Xiaoping is shown during the late 1970's.
This book takes place in many areas of Communist China such as Shandong Province,Qingdao, and Beijing,
This story also takes you to Russia and America in the West.
Li Cunxin
Li is the narrator of the memoir, who was written in the cards to become a field worker in his rural province. His cards were flipped out of pure chance so he could study dance in Beijing and later America. He struggles with his fading belief in the Communist idealogy and self doubt. Along his journey he becomes a remarkably well known dancer.
Introduction
This story follows a young Chinese peasant boy as his life is altered by one silver of potential he showed in a province of full of poverty. As he works his way through Madame Mao's dance academy, it is pure strength and determination that leads him to be one of the first Chinese dance students to go to America on a cultural scholarship. It was the small hope glimmering him that led him to one day be Mao's last dancer, the darling of the West.
Niang And Dia
Li's parents play a huge role in his life and in this memoir. As you read the book you can see the love in their relationship and the struggles they have gone through in his early life. Even when he decides to defect from China his only thought is what would happen to his beloved family.
Teacher Xiao
Teacher Xiao is the teacher that tells Li to strive to "taste the mango" as a metaphor for success. He also helped Li with many of his set backs in the dance academy.
Family
One of the most seen themes in this book is family. Even though Li's family is suffering and full of poverty, they still shower him with their unlimited love. They give him enough good morals and values for a lifetime. One example of the good values he is taught is his disciplined childhood. His dia always told him to protect their family's good name.
Top 5 Reasons to Read This Book!!
It is full of truly inspiring words of wisdom you will remember.
This story is equal parts depressing, heart-warming, gut-wrenching, and uplifting
Combines historic and cultural accounts of Communist China
It is a unique play on the classic Cinderella story.
This memoir captures history, family, chance, hardwork, inspiration, and determination all in one book!
During the book Li tells of his experience dancing at the Houston Ballet Company.
Chance
It is pure chance that Li is picked by the officials in school that day his teacher siad "What about him?" He also just happened to have all the right measurements like height, weight, and age. It is things like this that make the story that much more interesting.
Determination
As Li progresses through his early years at the Dance Academy, he has many set backs. He not only misses his family but he is not the best dancer at first.. After gaining inspiration from his family and his teachers, he becomes the most hard working person at the academy. An example of this determination is when he practiced five times everyday.
About the Author
Li Cunxin was born in the rural countryside of northern China. When he became 18 he was selected to dance with the Houston Ballet which led to his defection to the US which caused massive controversy. He is now retired and lives in Melbourne, Australia with is wife Mary and three kids. He has also adapted this memoir in to a film directed by Bruce Beresford.
Some Historical events that happened during this time include:
The Chinese Civil War
The Long March (1935)
The Great Leap Forward (1958)
The Cultural Revolution (1966-1976)
The Red Guards
The Gang of Four
Full transcript