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Li Cunxin, Mao’s Last Dancer

Li Cunxin shared his journey from poverty to a world-famous artist and contemporary Australian icon at the ACP luncheon on 20 September 2018.

“Seize the opportunities life has to offer you. Have determination and courage to kick down the brick walls in front of you and to go on and achieve bigger success than you ever thought possible,” Li said, inspiring the audience of over 200 Catholic professionals.

Born into bitter poverty during the height of Mao’s communist China, Li grew up in a world few of us can imagine. Through a turn of fate, at age 11 he was selected to attend Madame Mao’s Beijing Dance Academy and grew up to became one of China’s most celebrated dancers.

Today, Li lives in Brisbane and is Artistic Director of the Queensland Ballet. “It was a pleasure to hear his inspiring story first-hand and understand the extraordinary impact he continues to have on the lives of so many within and outside the dance community,” said one ACP member.

Students and aspiring dancers from Lourdes Hill College, Hawthorne, had the chance to meet Li and asked, “What advice would you give your twelve-year-old self?” to which he replied, “Don’t be afraid to dream”.