Artistic Director —

Li Cunxin has had a long and diverse career as an internationally acclaimed dancer. He was appointed as Queensland Ballet’s fifth Artistic Director in July 2012.

At the age of eleven, Li was selected by Madame Mao's cultural advisors to attend the Beijing Dance Academy. In 1979, he joined Houston Ballet as an exchange student and went on to achieve the rank of Principal in 1982.

Amongst many awards and accolades, Li won two silver and one bronze medal at three international ballet competitions, and two Princess Grace Awards.

He moved to Melbourne in 1995 with his wife, dancer Mary McKendry, to join The Australian Ballet as a Principal Artist. Li retired from dancing in 1999, at the age of 38, but maintained his strong ties to the ballet community.

Following his performing career, Li worked in the finance industry as a senior manager at Bell Potter, one of the largest stockbroking firms in Australia. Until his appointment as the Artistic Director of Queensland Ballet, Li sat on the board of The Australian Ballet from 2005 and the Bionics Institute.

In 2003, Li published his international best-selling autobiography, Mao's Last Dancer, which has received numerous awards and was adapted as a feature film in 2009. Li was Queensland’s Australian of the Year 2014.