Niang - Mao's Last Dancer

Topics: Communism, People's Republic of China, Mao Zedong Pages: 2 (764 words) Published: June 3, 2013
Silence: Life without Li in the commune, reminiscing on times spent with Li ‘Don’t look back!’ Not one day has gone by, since I have spoken these words to my son at the fruitful age of 12, that I have not felt proud of him. It has been what feels like one hundred years of missing Li and living without him, all redeemed from witnessing him in one performance that would change my perspective forever. I was always hopeful for Li, and felt lucky that my son, out of all other promising students in Qindao, had been chosen to dance for Chairman Mao. Although the luck of the Cunxin family had changed, it was difficult to adjust to life in the commune without Li’s presence as a guiding light, or a helping hand. Having 7 sons while living our conditions was stressful on my poor heart, and Li was aware of this. He always told me how he wished he could help me feel better. He was a good boy, and is to this day. There were days when all I wanted to do was scream and shout at those boys, but Li made me feel comfortable and safe. He always would show me love and affection either through his kind and encouraging words, or through the warmth of his comforting cuddles. That little boy had no idea that his success was our hope of breaking out of the vicious cycle of poverty. If he had known this, he might have been keener to go to the dance academy. The day Li had been chosen was one of the happiest of my life. While life in the commune was a struggle and, as a family, we were always working our very hardest. Li’s absence had lifted the pressure of having to feed a household of 9. Li had been sending home letters frequently, and I could sense the lies through his words. He was not committing himself fully to the art of ballet – I could tell. I am his mother, after all. The result of his homesickness was not trying his hardest at what he was chosen for. At this same point of time in his life, he had informed me that Chairman Mao was a great influence on him, and was granted youth...
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