A world-first exhibit chronicling the life of Brisbane resident and international ballet star Li Cunxin will open at Museum of Brisbane in December.

Mao’s Last Dancer the Exhibition: A Portrait of Li Cunxin will showcase how Li went from living in poverty in Communist China to being a best-selling novelist and the subject of an award-winning film.

The revealing exhibition will explore Li’s journey, from the punishing training of Madame Mao’s Beijing Dance Academy to becoming one of China’s most celebrated dancers, his dramatic defection to the USA and his appointment as Artistic Director of the Queensland Ballet.

The exhibition will feature never-before-seen interviews with family and colleagues, original objects, personal documents, and a collection of stunning performance footage.

A series of public programs will accompany the exhibition, including talks and tours by artists, curators, collectors and immersive and fun kids’ activities.

“Our job is to share Brisbane’s abundance of culture, art and history,” says Museum of Brisbane director Renai Grace, “to bring it to life not just through exhibitions but through experiences, workshops, tours, talks and activities that will appeal to kids and adults from all walks of life.”

Mao’s Last Dancer the Exhibition: A Portrait of Li Cunxin will be on display at the Museum of Brisbane (Brisbane City Hall, 64 Adelaide St, Brisbane City) from 1 December 2017 to 20 May 2018.