Li Cunxin famously recounted his extraordinary life story in his memoir, Mao’s Last Dancer, which became an international best-seller. The book was also turned into a hugely successful film in which his rags to riches story depicted how an early life of grinding poverty and adversity was transformed through determination, hard work and resilience into one of high achievement in the world of dance.
Li joined Queensland Ballet (QB) in 2012, his 11-year tenure marked by inspirational leadership as its Artistic Director. He is credited with having created a world-class ballet company with state-of-the-art facilities. Announcing in June his impending retirement at the end of 2023 due to ill health sent shock waves among the ballet community and he leaves the company on a recognised high.