Li was born into "bitter poverty". There was never enough food to go around in his family's two-bedroom home in the Chinese coastal city of Qingdao. He barely wore shoes until he started school at the age of nine, and until eleven he slept top to toe with his parents and younger brother. But, he is quick to point out; it was a happy upbringing in a home full of love.
At the age of 11 he left home to train at Madame Mao’s Beijing Dance Academy after being hand picked by talent scouts. After detesting dancing for the first few years, Li began to train five times harder than his fellow dancers and his hard-work and determination certainly payed off when at the age of 18 Li was offered a soloist contract with the Houston Ballet Academy.
After two years, Li defected to the West in a dramatic media storm which involved then Vice President, Mr George Bush Snr. and the FBI.
Li Cunxin, after being married twice, now has a family and is a senior manager at one of Australia’s biggest stockbroking firms.
Li’s book, "Mao's Last Dancer" which was published in September 2003 recounts his inspirational life journey through poverty stricken China to his new life in the U.S.A.
As a motivational and inspirational speaker, Li’s unique real life story works with corporations and conferences’, their various themes and objectives. His keynote speech is a story or perserverance, wonder and dedication. A motivational speaker who can reach out to any diverserse audience.