Mao’s Last Dancer

2 08 2010

Houston Lawyer Charles Foster and Texas Ballet Theater’s artistic director Ben Stevenson took part in a fun Q & A, following last Monday night’s Texas Premiere at AFFD.

Australian Director Bruce Beresford’s (Driving Miss Daisy) MAO’S LAST DANCER is the wonderful true tale of former ballet dancer Li Cunxin.

Last Monday night a packed house, at the Magnolia Theater, got to talk with Ben and Charles about the film.

Charles and Ben were open, enlightening, and humorous as they entertained us with the stories of Li.  The audience had many members of the Texas Ballet Theater that Ben currently is artistic director of.  I’ll let Charles start thing out by talking about what the film is about.

Charles goes on to explain how quickly things changed though.

Ben talks about the historic moment when Li lands in Houston.

Former Houston Ballet artistic director Ben Stevenson with Li Cunxin in the 1980s

Charles explains how Li jumped into his new world with a childlike glee.

The film, just as in real life, covers a historic few days when the Chinese consulate held Li hostage while Charles, Ben and friends tried to save him.  Charles explains how the real experience was even more scary and frightening.

Ben talks about how wonderful Li’s parents were.

Charles explains how shooting in China has its huge issues.

Charles goes on further about the other locations in the film.

Ben talks about how much Li put into being a success.

Ben and Charles talk about Li today.

Ben Talks about Li’s talents and what form of ballet Li succeeded in the most.

Ben discusses a powerful and funny scene where Li asked Ben what the word “chink” meant.

Ben talks about the lead actor, Chi Cao, who plays an adult Li.

Ben wrapped up things about the relationship he saw between students and their teachers in China.  Its really poignant.




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