Chengwu Guo had the world at his feet – a brilliant classical dancer, picked to play the young Li Cunxin in the film Mao's Last Dancer, quickly risen to principal with the Australian Ballet after spending a mere eight months in the Australian Ballet School. But then, frustratingly, he fell the way so many dancers do, and sustained an injury that put him out of action for a year. Would he be able to dance again?
A short documentary describing Chengwu Guo's journey is currently online to view as part of this year's St Kilda Film Festival. Called simply Chen, the doco features current and archival footage as well as interviews with his contemporaries, including his partner on stage as well as in life, Ako Kondo. The director is Orit Novak, daughter of Niv Novak, who created the dance film Missed Nuance last year.
The St Kilda Film Festival is usually held at venues at the Melbourne beachside suburb but has been moved online this year. The documentary is free to stream from the Festival website until June 20.
Pictured top: Chengwu Guo in 'Cinderella'. Photo: JEFF BUSBY