Several years ago I watched the inspiring film Mao’s Last Dancer. This adaptation of a best selling autobiography is a true story about the remarkable life of Li Cunxin. Born into a peasant family in an impoverished village in China, Li went on to become one of the world’s most famous dancers.
After dancing for the Houston Ballet for sixteen years he fell in love with an Australian ballerina and moved to Melbourne. Becoming the principal dancer with the Australian Ballet, Li later began to live a double life as both a dancer and a stockbroker. In Li’s next chapter, he left dance behind and rose to become a senior manager at one of the largest broking firms in Australia. Until now…
After a fifteen-year absence from ballet, Li has just returned as the newly appointed Artistic Director of Queensland Ballet.
Enter Alexia! I grew up in ballet shoes and I love dance with every inch of my body. Picture me sitting on my couch watching Mao’s Last Dancer and sobbing at the moment when Li’s parents finally see him perform for the very first time. It’s only natural that working with ballet legend Li Cunxin was at the top of my bucket list.
Serendipitously, I received an invitation from Queensland Ballet to work alongside Li Cunxin to produce their 2013 Campaign imagery. It was one of those opportunities that offered me the chance to work my arse off for several months and have the honour of art directing exactly what I wanted.
To add a little fuel to the fire, ABC’s Australian Story filmed Li during our photo shoots. You may just see a little behind the scenes action.
Australian Story - Episode 14 - Leap of Faith airs on ABC 1 8.00pm Monday 1st Oct 2012.