Introduction: to the life he lives in

Introduction: This book entitled “Mao’s Last Dancer” written by Li Cunxin highlights a true story about the author’s life as a ballet dancer as he struggles through his life of poverty and his journey of dancing. In Li’s younger years, Mao Zedong was the chairman of the communist party who tried to create a new socialist China for the people of China who lived in great poverty. Li was very lucky that his dancing got him to escape the life of poverty that was difficult in China. This story of Li’s journey is about love, courage, and hardships. The general aim of this eye catching book is how much one’s life can change through their lifetime being honest and refreshing.Summary of content: 1961 the three years of Mao’s Great Leap Forward, along with the poor harvests, had left rural China suffering from disease and deprivation. Li Cunxin was his parents’ sixth son filled with twenty others plus his family in a small house. For years they were close to almost starvation When he was eleven years old, Madame Mao, a famous dance teacher decided to bring back the Peking Dance Academy, and went looking for youth to join her academy. His physique was a strong reason on why he was picked, but then Li Cunxin was taken from his family and sent to the city for rigorous training.  Li’s life is soon changed by his incredible talent to dance working with Madame Mao’s cultural arts program leading to the audition for and later joining the Beijing Dance Academy. This opportunity gives Li a chance for a good job and no fear of going hungry. With the program and the Academy, Li works very hard to be enough for this proud moment in his life. He trains for years until in 1979 his hard work pays off. A choreographer and artistic director named, Ben Stevenson comes. Li is selected to spend a summer with Stevenson at the Houston Ballet in America. This event is a breakthrough for Li, it is a blessing for the political relationship. Since 1949, this is the first time China and America exchanged artists.Analysis and evaluation of the book: This is such a beautifully written memoir. Not only is the way it is written beautiful, but the meaning and the emotion captured in the words. The author describes the hardships of his childhood in Communist China. There is such a contrast to the life he lives in America and in China. It is interesting all the vast differences he found between the two countries. This writing has given a new appreciation of dancers and their dedication to their work. The author showed great courage and determination in perfecting his dancing and the blood, sweat and tears that went with it. When he’s selected among the many students in his school to attend the illustrious dance school in Beijing, he faced loneliness and homesickness for the initial years at the school. He was allowed home only once a year for one month, for the Chinese New Year. He saved what he could of his meager allowance to buy gifts for his family and friends, and also money for his parents. The writing about China during that period was certainly interesting, particularly from the perception of someone who lived through it. This is an inspiring and touching book which gives you a look into a peasant’s life in communist China and that of a ballet dancer. On a more personal level, the author shows a lot of raw emotion (particularly for his family), determination and inner strength. Li Cunxin was born in China at a time when Mao was almost out of power and the Cultural Revolution was developing. Li gives devastating descriptions of his life being a peasant during that time. His family lived in a one room concrete building with no running water, a toilet hole, or electricity. They struggled for food daily while keeping the traditions of Chinese life. This included honoring ancestors, celebrating the lunar new year, and family loyalty.

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