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                                MAO’S LAST DANCER

        Staggeringly vast and a land of great diversity, China, the world's most populous and third largest nation is more like a continent in itself than a country. With that huge population and a long history, China has made itself become a glorious and controversial country during one hundred years, especially from 1949 when China was finally at peace after decades of war, a China under China Communist Party (CCP) and Mao Zedong. There was actually a lot of changing in society as well as in particular people’s lives. Li Cunxin, a dancer and the author of the book Mao’s last dancer - a huge bestseller in Australia and the thirty-fourth book of “Australia’s 100 favourite books” of the year, has his life changed clearly and dramatically which is explained emotionally in his book. Mao's last dancer touches every reader’s hearts by its beauty, its honesty and exhilaration. Through this book, we are able to learn more about China from a different side and obviously about Li Cunxin’s life – a life within a burning desire for higher achievements.

        Li Cunxin was born into an extreme poor peasant family in Qingdoa in 1961, Northern China. He is the sixth son in the family of seven sons, living in a small house with relatives. 1961 is the third year of Mao’s Great Leap Forward “which had left rural China suffering terribly from disease and deprivation”. But when he was eleven years old, Madame Mao decided to revive the Perking Dance Academy and sent her men into the countryside to find suitable children. And Li, thanks to his teacher pointing out, without any former experience, was chosen to become a dancer - one of the best dancers in the world. After seven years of hard training at Beijing Dance Academy, he received an artistic scholarship to study for a year at the Houston Ballet Academy – the first official exchange of artists between China and the USA since 1949. From the moment he put his step in the USA which is “a country that he had been believed was poorer than China and extremely violent”, he began a journey “which takes him via over 20 years of hard work, defection to the West, and stardom in America to present day, when he lives in Melbourne, an Australian citizen and a successful stockbroker, with an Australian wife and three children”.

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         The story is begun with the description of Li parent’s wedding and their marriage which is described so beautiful, and traditional – an extremely old Chinese marriage and wedding. According to the author, he wants to give the readers a general idea about the life and the environment at that time, and to express the cruel life as well as the love his parents had to spend. Then the book is divided into three parts: My Childhood – Beijing –The West.

My Childhood recounts a very distinguished reality and genuine daily life in China during the 1970s. It was ...

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