2014 Artistry on Ice

"Love is Life”

Shuyi Sun
Johnny Weir and Hao Zhang

This is the fifth year for “Artistry on Ice” in China. The shows draw support from the 2010 Olympic pairs champions Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao, the Chinese Figure Skating Association and many corporate sponsors. The concept is exploring the right path for commercializing competitive sports in China.

“Artistry on Ice” promotes the Chinese Association’s idea of "developing northern ice sports in southern China." Over the last five years, the shows have gone to southern cities such as Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and even to Taipei, which has helped impact the growth of figure skating in those regions.

Now that Beijing has become one of the candidates for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, ice sports will become more popular to locals in China.

This year, Artistry on Ice started in Beijing, moved to Shanghai on July 27 and then to Guangzhou on August 1. The shows will conclude in Taipei on August 3.

The Beijing Show

The 2014 “Artistry on Ice” kicked off with its first show on July 25 at the MasterCard Center in Beijing, China with a cast of world-class skaters.

This year’s theme “Love is Life” is the implied meaning of “2014” in Chinese. The tour period also covers Valentine’s Day in China, which evokes audiences’ expectations for the romantic theme that was chosen.

Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao hosted the show for the first time since their retirement. “We used to be performers on ice, so changing roles makes for an entirely different feeling for us," Shen said. “Hongbo’s tasks were multiple.”

Zhao also sang a song named “Let Me Love Enough” with Chinese superstar Chao Deng. It was his first attempt and he wanted to express the show theme.” Watch the video here.

Evgeni Plushenko performed the long program “Best of Plushenko,” that he won the team event with in Sochi, accompanied by Hungarian violinist Edvin Marton. They also performed a “Tosca” program together. Their tacit performance combined with Plushenko’s glamorous skating aroused the audiences’ passion. Watch the video here.

Plushenko announced that his health was much better following back surgery. He also voiced his support for China’s bid for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

Longtime performer at this show, Johnny Weir, showed an impressive program “When Love is Gone,” which was inspired by a famous 1993 Chinese film “Farewell my Concubine.” The film portrayed a tragic love story. Weir skated with a traditional Chinese opera headpiece. China’s Hao Zhang joined Weir during the performance and delighted the audience with an innovative version of men’s pairs skating. Watch the video here.

Weir’s tribute to Chinese culture brought a huge response from the audience. He also performed another distinctive routine, “Bollywood.”

Swiss star Stéphane Lambiel also provided a fascinating performance to “The Water” that showed off his extraordinary spinning skills and artistic talents. Lambiel gave the world premiere in Beijing of his new program to “Say I Wanna Know.” Watch the video here.

Olympic pairs gold medalists Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov skated two programs, “I Will Always Love You” and “Somebody to Die For.” Trankov said that the feeling of winning a gold medal in your home country is an unforgettable, unique experience. Both said that it was a great honor to be invited to perform in China.

Chinese star Han Yan performed a new program “Batman & Robot,” which was choreographed by Kurt Browning. Watch the video here.

Yan and China’s Zijun Li also performed a pairs program to “My Love from the Star,” which is based on a popular Korean television drama of the same name. It was the first time that these two singles competitors had attempted pairs’ skating. Watch the video here.

Canada’s Joannie Rochette performed with Tanya Chua, a popular singer from Singapore, for a new program called “Beautiful Love.” Rochette said that she could not understand the Chinese lyrics, but felt touched by the translation of the song’s meaning. Her second number was “Shot Me Down.”

Shae-Lynn Bourne was the surprise of “Artistry on Ice” this year. She not only choreographed the opening number of the show, but also brought the passion of Brazil by dancing to the 2014 World Cup theme song “Waka Waka.” Bourne also performed a flamenco program “Fire Dance,” accompanied by her husband who played a drum.

For their first appearance on “Artistry on Ice,” Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir performed two amusing programs. Chinese pairs skaters Cheng Peng and Hao Zhang, Xiaoyu Yu and Yang Jin also showed exciting programs to the audience.

“Artistry on Ice is a good platform to let local skaters get more experience and advance their skills,” Zhao said.

French skater Marie Pierre Leray gained the audiences’ attention by performing extraordinary acrobatics above the ice. Leray used a long piece of satin material and a steel ring to fly and dance through the air in her two programs, both without a safeguard. The audience gave her high praise for her brilliant skills but voiced concern about the dangers of her act.

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