Speaking Feedback                                                                                                                                                     

CPA Australia

"Comments included: Inspirational Outstanding, excellent. Mr Li was absolutely inspirational. Excellent story. Very inspiring, great choice as a keynote speaker. It has been a long time since I have heard such a wonderful delivery presentation. FABULOUS. Very emotional and inspiring. Brilliant session. Really inspirational. The best presentation I have ever attended."

"The World Presidents and their spouses are of course, an exceptionally critical audience. The reaction of this group to Li's enthralling and riveting presentations was...simply astounding! Li reduced much of his audience to tears and as the participants left the auditorium, many said it was the most moving and absorbing presentation they had ever heard!

This reaction was borne out when the final ratings appeared - Li scored 10.0 out of 10 in one presentation (unheard of) and 9.9 out of 10 in the other, making him easily the highest rating speaker (out of a field of some 40 presenters) at the University. China University became the highest rating event ever produced by WPO and Li's graphic presentations were certainly a major contributor to this rating. "
World President's Organization (WPO)

"Without a doubt one of the most powerful and invigorating presentations we have seen. Extremely impressed by Li's impact, style, personable nature and overall attitude."
Exxon Mobile

"The feedback we received on your presentation was amongst the best we have ever received on any speaker over the past few years. Our participants were very moved by your story, with many commenting that it was one of the most inspiring presentations that they had ever heard…thank you again for making a huge impact on our conference and our staff."
Goldman Sachs GBWere

"Li was a very personable and inspirational speaker, his relaxed style was a great way to finish a very business orientated and structured conference day."
Unisys Systems Inc

"Li was simply the most outstanding speaker I have heard in the many years of attending Rotary District Conferences – and indeed any sort of Conference! The fact that he received a spontaneous standing ovation from people who never give such ovations is testament to his incredible impact on his audience, and the feedback we have received from many of the attendees reinforces this. Li was such a delight to work with from an organizing perspective, and his humility and “human-ness” sat magnificently with the principles of Rotary. There are no accolades high enough for the warmth and beauty of Li as both a speaker and a human being. It has been a privilege to come to know him. Overall grading from Rotary Conference: Excellent"
Rotary Club of Australia

"Riveting – how lucky we are. Without a doubt one of the best speakers we have had in many years, outstanding."
Australian Friendly Societies Association (AFSA)

"Without a doubt one of the most powerful and invigorating presentations I have seen. Extremely impressed by Li's impact, style, personable nature and overall attitude."

"Overall Rating: Excellent. The collective tears from our members would have filled a bucket after Li's account of his emotional, profound and inspirational life journey at our retreat in NSW. What an amazing start to our retreat. Li Cunxin is a rare human being who has the ability to affect people with his story and be in our minds for the rest of our lives."
Young Entrepreneurs Organization

"Personally I found Li excellent to work with and a thoroughly lovely man with a great story."

"Li's performance was most impressive and inspirational . He is probably the best speaker we have ever engaged at the City of Whittlesea. His story is fascinating and he presents it with great passion, humility and dignity."
City of Whittlesea

“Li - your presentation was definitely a highlight of the Congress. Like all successful people, the element of chance played a part in your journey from grinding poverty in the Chinese countryside to recognition as one of the world’s leading dancers, and (ultimately) to life in Australia. However, as is always the case, it is how we seize these opportunities that makes all the difference.

The passion and commitment you bring to all you undertake shone through in your words. Your life story is inspirational, and has the makings of a great movie - we look forward to seeing you at the Oscars!"
National Retail Association

Book Feedback                                                                                                                                                             

Valerie Lawson
Journalist for
John Fairfax Publications


"Li Cunxin has written a remarkable book about his own remarkable journey. He writes from the heart, just as he danced from the heart.

Li's story is notable for its contrasts. As a child in Qingdao, Li lived in extreme poverty. As a principal of the Houston Ballet, he was acclaimed as one of the best male dancers in the world, became a friend of George Bush snr and his wife, and was feted by wealthy patrons.

Mao's Last Dancer is much more than a rags-to-riches story. It is really about the nature of family love, courage and obsession.

Mao's Last Dancer is told with simplicity, but Li's style is deceptive. It takes skill to write simply, just as it takes years of backbreaking work to make ballet look elegant and effortless.

His story is blended with fables and lessons, notably the story of the mango. When Li was trying to master five consecutive pirouettes, his wise teacher asked him what he would do with a mango if he was lucky enough to be given this rare and beautiful fruit.
"Eat it," Li answered. "No," said the teacher, it would be better to "hold it, admire the shape, feel the weight, cut the skin and savour the fragrance, taste the skin and even the nut". Then comes the ultimate sensation, the pulp.

The fun, as the teacher said, is in the process, and satisfaction lies in the journey."

"What a great find! This story is so well written, it makes you feel as though you are in China yourself. It gives you a clear view of communism and life under Chairman Mao. Li has a chance to train at the ballet academy and although this is not easy and at times very wretching, he is able to overcome this and become one of the top dancers there. This allows him to travel to Houston to work at the Academy there for 6 weeks. I live in Houston, and remember this clearly, know some of the people in the book and locations. It is truly a great story of overcoming poverty and making a place in this world."
An American Reader

"This marvelous autobiography by Mr. Li opened our eyes to the unimaginable gulf he had to leap in order to appear before us... The book contains hundreds of poignant reminders of the risks Mr. Li took in breaking the bounds of his peasant heritage and infuriating both the Chinese government and his American friends when he defected. His indomitable will to survive and succeed is an inspiration to all those who have seemingly impossible aspirations. He tells the old fable of a frog trapped deep in a well, yearning to jump out and see the world beyond but knowing it will never happen. Mr. Li made it out of his well, and became a prince among dancers. His triumphant return to China to perform Romeo and Juliet, with his wife Mary McKendry dancing as Juliet, his entire family in the audience, and half a billion Chinese watching on television, is a spine-tingling culmination to his career."
An American Reader

"Dear Mr. Cunxin,

I am writing to you to thank you for your wonderful story of “Mao’s Last Dancer.” I enjoyed it so very very much – it moved me so very deeply to read your struggles, your tremendous courage and determination, and above all the absolute love of your wonderful family.

You have given us a rare gift, I have treasured your book and always will."
An Australian Reader

"For me, your book is like a history lesson I can understand; it reads like a tale told by a parent at bedtime; it sounds like the contentions of a friend; it plays on the stage of one's imagination as the day's proceedings in one's mind on the cusp of sleep.

You have articulated something wonderful. I congratulate and I thank you!"
An Australian Reader

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