|Li Cunxin, Artistic Director - from Queensland ballet website|
And finally, rounding off this series of Literature Circles author interviews, Li Cunxin, the author of his bestselling autobiography, Mao's Last Dancer - the subject of a movie and even a picture storybook - has been nice enough to take time from his hectic schedule as the artistic director of the Queensland Ballet(currently doing a production of The Nutcracker) - to speak to students Chantelle, Sam, Priyanka, Tibian and Kiarah - about his life journey. Many thanks, Mr Li, and welcome to The Great Raven! (I just want to let it be known that I've been lucky enough to have seen him dance with the Australian Ballet and the students found him on YouTube) And congratulations on being chosen as Queensland's Australian Of The Year!
MAO’S LAST DANCER SPEAKS TO HIS FANS...
1. What inspired you to tell your story and how long did it take for you to write the book?
An author friend of mine, Graeme Base, heard certain aspects of my story and encouraged me to write a book about it, his words were: Li, you should write your story down, your story will give people hope and courage. He then introduced me to his long time publisher Penguin. It took me two and a half years to write my book.
2. What life do you think you would have had if you weren’t a dancer?
A poor Chinese peasant life.
3. Do your kids want to be dancers or do they have their own dreams?
My two daughters learnt to dance, but they also have their own dreams.
4. Have you visited your old home in China in recent years?
Yes, I go back there at least once a year. My niang and brothers still live there. My dia died a few years ago.
5. Do you regret anything in the way your life has turned out?
No regrets. My life experiences (good or bad) made me who I am.
6. What was your opinion of the movie that was made based on your book?
It's a good movie but it's always difficult to portray a person's life within couple of hours. As you know, my book covered over 40 years of my life.
7. Do you dance any other style than ballet?
Besides ballet I also danced modern, jazz, pas de duex, Spanish, and Chinese folk dance
8. What do you think of dancing currently compared to when you first started?
Similar, especially ballet.
9. Did you ever think that you would become this successful?
No. It's still quite surreal really.
10. Do you still eat dried yams?
No, never desired to. Had enough of it. However, it did save our lives, so I'm grateful. But still, NO MORE dried yams!
**I wish you all great success in life. Remember to work hard, be determined and have passion and dedication in what you do, you will be successful then. Li