The Girl Next Door
Katie Holmes melts hearts at ice skating show
By Matt Erspamer
BEIJING - Katie Holmes, the famous actress and wife of actor Tom Cruise, appeared at the Capital Gymnasium in Beijing as celebrity ambassador for this year's Artistry on Ice performance.
Ten world-renowned ice skating acts, including 2010 gold medalists Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo, each performed two acts for a crowd of thousands.
Holmes appeared before the second half to proclaim her enthusiasm for the performers, saying she was honored to be in the presence of such talent.
"I have a real appreciation for how much time goes into a performance," Holmes says of ice skating, adding it was truly, "creativity mixed with skill".
Holmes has signed on to promote Artistry's Red Temptation show throughout June. She has already traveled with the skaters to Taipei. After the Beijing performance, she will move on to Shenzhen, Guangdong province and Shanghai.
It is the first time Holmes had visited Beijing. Although she had only recently arrived at the date of her press conference, she said she has already enjoyed a meal of Peking duck.
"I probably ate too much of it," she said, laughing.
Holmes' presence at the actual performance was brief, leaving more time for the skaters to flip, twist and dance.
Shen and Zhao appeared at the end of both the first and second halves. They've been with Artistry since its 2010 inception, although they say the end of this 2012 tour will also signal their retirement.
"All good things must come to an end," Zhao told CCTV in May.
The ice skating couple's first performance was choreographed to a live performance by Taiwan singer Tiger Wong, who also sang solo to close the first half.
Wong wasn't the only musician providing live accompaniment.
Renowned Hungarian violinist Edvin Marton appeared in the middle of the rink to accompany two solo acts: Johnny Weir from the United States in the first half, and Evgeni Plushenko from Russia in the second.
"It's an incredibly tough sport," Marton said at the press conference prior to Holmes' appearance.
By promoting Artistry's latest show, Holmes hopes to also draw attention to her charity Dizzy Feet, an international organization that sponsors dance education for underprivileged youth.
Holmes says she is a big fan of any organization that can "keep artistic endeavors alive for kids".
On hand to thank her at the press conference were 10 Chinese students sponsored by her organization. She greeted each with a hug and handed them red certificates from her charity.
Holmes also talked about her appreciation for Chinese filmmakers. Her first audition and role were in director Ang Lee's 1997 film "The Ice Storm."
She says that, if given the chance, she would like to work with other Chinese directors, including Zhang Yimou, who recently directed her "Batman Begins" co-star Christian Bale in "The Flowers of War."