Mao’s Last Dancer


Li Cunxin has been trained in ballet in his native China, when a dance instructor from the United States invites him for a visit.  Leaving China Li discovers that America is not as terrible as his Communist leaders as told him.  Falling in love and defecting to America, Li finally has a chance to experience the love of his life, dance, in a new way.

Sample Discussion Guide Questions:

Do you think the hardship, cruelty and deprivation Li suffered during his years at the Academy were justified by his later achievements?

Li says to Liz, ‘I must dance political ballet in China, but I dance better here, because I feel more free’. What limitations are placed on artistic expression in Communist China? What do you make of the revolutionary ballet we see performed for Madame Mao?

Download the Discussion Guide


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