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Mao's Last Danseur ~ Cunxin Li

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Mao's Last Danseur ~ Cunxin Li

I became the audience,
and witnessed a dance 
of freedom, lights dimmed 
the Pasa Doble lead out

I found in this masterpiece 
the unfolding in Air, en l’ 
the union, transposed over 
Swan’s in open Arabesque

a single leap
brushed the firmament
a country lost sight
of his gift to fly

Cunxin Li, 
now Brisè drifts 
in Red Dust 
and the Dreamtime 
writhes, in Cambré 
offering a salute

To our new Master 


Explanations of some words I used, all movements in Ballet 

Air, en l’: In the air. Indicates that the movement is to be made in the air versus on 
the ground such as rond de jamb en l’air.

Arabesque: [“Arabic”]. A position with one leg stretched straight out to the back while 
turned out and keeping the upper body straight and lifted. One arm usually is stretched 
out to the front in fourth, fifth or an open position.

Brisè: [“broken, breaking”]. A small beating step in which the movement is broken. 
It starts on one or two feet and ends on one or two feet. Fundamentally, a brisè is an 
assemble beaten and traveled. The working leg brushes from the fifth position to the 
second so that the point of the foot is a few inches off the ground and beats in front of 
or behind the other leg which has come to meet it; then both feet return to the ground 
at the same time in demi-pliè fifth position.

Cambré: [“bent”]. A bend from the waist in any direction, but especially forward or back.

Pasa doble: (literal meaning in Spanish: double-step) is a typical Spanish march-like musical 
style as well as the corresponding dance style danced by a couple

Copyright © Jayne Eggins

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