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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Movies: Mao's Last Dancer


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I was just searching for Amanda Schull on the web today, wondering if she'd returned to a new company after leaving SFB in 2006, and I came across this movie. It's a story of a young Chinese male ballet dancer who falls in love in America through an exchange program and goes on to a great ballet career in the states. From what I understand, this was also a great book written by the male dancer.

 

Anyway, as great as that story sounds, I am way more excited that Amanda Schull will be dancing in this! I was so sad when she left SFB (mostly because that was the year I decided to move to California and wanted to go see her on stage... :D ) and now to see her dancing in a movie again, how exciting!

 

I wonder why she left SFB and, from her credits on IMDB, it seems that she has taken to film and television lately? She's a wonderful dancer and actress and could make it wherever she would like, but I wish she would become a prima ballerina somewhere close to home...

 

Also, this is an Australian movie, what does that mean for releases in America and elsewhere?

 

But, really, you guys must be excited about this too!!

 

Here's a link to the IMDB page:

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1071812/

 

Yay!

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I was just searching for Amanda Schull on the web today, wondering if she'd returned to a new company after leaving SFB in 2006, and I came across this movie. It's a story of a young Chinese male ballet dancer who falls in love in America through an exchange program and goes on to a great ballet career in the states. From what I understand, this was also a great book written by the male dancer.

 

Also, this is an Australian movie, what does that mean for releases in America and elsewhere?

 

Yay!

 

Here is another link with information about the movie and the cast.

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Dance_Scholar_London

This looks interesting. I hope the release won't be delayed. I wonder how much dancing (ballet!) will be in it. Fingers crossed :-)

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  • 7 months later...
  • 1 month later...

I saw the movie last night, after having read the book, which I loved. It is fantastic - an inspiring story and one which has been transferred to the screen very effectively. The dancing is absolutely wonderful - Chi Cao, who plays the adult Li Cunxin, is a fabulous performer, and does very well with the acting, too. Amanda Schull plays Li's first wife, Liz Mackey. Her character is of a not-terribly-brilliant dancer who has had an ankle injury, trying to get a contract with a company. She doesn't do a lot of dancing, but I thought she was very good in the part. Camilla Vergotis, who plays the Australian dancer Mary McKendry, is a beautiful dancer.

 

I would highly recommend the movie to anyone - my husband, who is not particularly fanatical about ballet, loved it too, and I noticed that he also had a tear in his eye during the happy/sad climax near the end. From all accounts, it is breaking box office records here in Australia, so hopefully the US distributors will take notice and pick it up soon.

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Does anyone know if this movie is showing in the US yet or will it be? I can't seem to find any info on where or when it will be showing, just trailers for it.

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It's only been out in Australia for a few days, so I guess release in the US wont be for a bit yet. I plan to see it ASAP.

 

One thing that really interests me is that the choreography is by Graeme Murphy - to my mind Australia's best and most interesting choreographer - until very recently AD (?) of Sydney Dance Company, which under his leadership was one of the most outstanding, or indeed THE most outstanding, of Australian companies. The very fact that they chose him to be the choreographer shows that they are taking the dance element in the movie very seriously.

 

Jim.

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One thing that really interests me is that the choreography is by Graeme Murphy - to my mind Australia's best and most interesting choreographer - until very recently AD (?) of Sydney Dance Company, which under his leadership was one of the most outstanding, or indeed THE most outstanding, of Australian complanies. The very fact that they chose him to be the choreographer shows that they are taking the dance element in the movie very seriously.

 

Yes, they have taken it extremely seriously...and add to this the fact that they chose DANCERS to play the roles, not the let's-cast-actors-then-try-to-convince-the-audience-that-they-can-dance-which-almost-never-works option (for example, as in the excruciatingly bad "Centre Stage 2"). There really is some beautiful dancing in it, particularly from Chi Cao (Birmingham Royal Ballet), Camilla Vergotis (Australian Ballet), Madeleine Eastoe (Australian Ballet) and Chengwu Guo (Australian Ballet) . I have also heard that a lot of the dance footage that they originally filmed didn't make it to the final cut of the movie, but that the removed footage might be included on the DVD when it is released. There is also some footage of the Graeme Murphy version of "Swan Lake" in the film, and as I am going to see the Aus Ballet dancing that ballet in a couple of weeks, I was really interested to see that.

 

It is taking record amounts of money in its first week here in Oz, so even if there is no current distribution deal in the US, hopefully they'll sit up and take notice.

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I read the book, and as stated before, it is a great book. I learned so much about China during the Mao regime that I never knew, and would have never known if I had not read this book. It's an amazing journey this young man took. I am so hoping they come out with the movie in the U.S. Or - if they at least come out with a DVD in PAL format!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just read in the Dancing Times that they have made a film of the life of Li Cunxin, starring another Chinese dancer, Chi Cao a principal with BRB. I found the trailer on U tube and it looks very dance orientated. The book was totally 'unputdownable"! I can't wait for it to be released here and on DVD! Has anyone seen it yet?

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Yes, there's already been a thread on it:

 

http://dancers.invisionzone.com/index.php?...mp;#entry423890

 

If that finds it (maybe the moderators would like to amalgamate them).

 

I saw it a couple of days ago. Very gripping throughout - I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. The story is straightforwardly told (like the original), has many bits of real ballet, and seems very realistic and convincing throughout (except as mentioned next). It is also very inspiring. The only things I didnt like were (1) they slowed the movie down in some of the big jumps - this was quite unnecessary, as the jumps were impressive enough in themselves, and we wanted to see them as they had been done. Also (2) at the end Liu and his partner burst into a spontaneous ballet routine in the dusty yard of the village in China - I thought that was unrealistic.

 

But I'd say its very well worth seeing especially if you like ballet - and also if you dont.

 

Jim.

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Thank you Jim!!

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