The Peasant Prince is story of Mao’s last dancer, Li Cunxin, a peasant boy taken from a poor village to study ballet in Beijing.
Inspired by his father’s tale about the little frog that wanted to get out of the deep well where he lived, to see the bigger world above, Li persevered in order to pursue his dream of a better life. For 7 years he practiced until he became the best dancer in China. By the age of 21 and after defecting to America, he became a star.
Li’s happiest moment was the first time his parents were permitted to travel from China to watch him dance. In all his years of ballet training and stardom, he never forgot his family and his home.
With themes of belonging, hope, motivation and loneliness, this is a truly remarkable tale, which will inspire young people to overcome fear and follow their dreams
‘This is your one chance. You have your dreams. Follow them! Make them come true . . . ‘
Li’s journey is simply remarkable. He was born into utter poverty in Mao’s communist China. At a very young age he was selected to train in Madame Mao’s Beijing Dance Academy. The 7 years of harsh training regime at the Beijing Dance Academy taught him discipline, resilience, determination and perseverance. Li’s astounding drive and relentless hard work made him one of the best dancers in the world.
Li then made a successful career transition from ballet to finance. He is a senior manager at one of the largest stockbroking firms in Australia.
The inspirational story of Li’s life is recounted in his memoir Mao’s Last Dancer, which quickly rose to No. 1 on the Australian Non-Fiction Best-Seller List, won the Book of the Year Award in Australia and received the Christopher Award for Literature in the USA. It went on to become an international bestseller.