First Directorship for Mao's Last Dancer

February 22, 2012

Li Cunxin, the former Australian Ballet and Houston Ballet principal whose life story inspired the wonderful film Mao’s Last Dancer (2010), will become the head of Queensland Ballet in July. Current director François Klaus is departing to pursue other artistic opportunities. Cunxin, who after retiring from the stage went on to become a stockbroker and a board member of Australian Ballet, brings a unique skill set to the artistic director position—although he’ll be the first director without choreographic chops. He told The Australian that he’d like to add more dancers to the company and as far as choreographers he’d like to engage, “The question will be if I can afford them. I have plenty of ideas.” Cunxin can even claim roots in Queensland—his wife Mary, who has coached at AB, is a Queenslander. —Kina Poon