UT Alum Featured In New Film

Mao’s Last Dancer, in theaters in select cities today, chronicles the story of ballet dancer and Chinese national Li Cunxin.

In 1981, Cunxin was detained in Houston by the Chinese Consulate after informing them of his wishes to remain in the United States with his new bride, American dancer Elizabeth Mackey. Immigration attorney Charles Foster, BA ’63, LLB ’67, defended Cunxin in a legal battle that made international headlines.

In the bestselling memoir on which the movie is based, Cunxin shared his story of being plucked from his family in rural China to train as a dancer, coming to the United States on an exchange program, wowing audiences while dancing with the Houston Ballet, and having to fight the Chinese government for a chance to stay.

Actor Kyle MacLachlan portrays Foster in the film. In 2008, the Texas Exes were contacted by producers requesting a UT class ring identical to Foster’s: gold with a red stone, class of 1963. MacLachlan wears it in the film. 

Foster became an authority on immigration law. He has practiced with FosterQuan for more than 30 years, helping organizations like the Houston Ballet and the Houston Symphony Orchestra navigate the legal process of bringing talented international artists to perform in the United States.

Although Cunxin now lives in Australia, he and Foster remain great friends.

Get the full story on the ring below (from the July|August 2008 Alcalde)


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