Featured routine for July/August
"The Man in The Iron Mask"

Updated August 30: fan comments added

No more comments will be posted about this routine but you can already send your comments about the next featured routine: Romeo & Juliet here.

"The Man in the Iron Mask" was A&P's free dance for the 1998/1999 season, and they used it in 1999 as an exhibition before performing it again at the Grand prix Final. It is a very dramatic and powerful dance with intricate footwork as well as beautiful spirals and very difficult lifts. This routine made A&P become the crowd's favorites, and they got standing ovations near to everytime they skated it. Above all, it was the interpretation of the music and the wonderful lifts that made this routine special. Here is more info about "The Man in the Iron Mask"....

Introduction: the movie
Marina & Gwendal skated to the soundtrack of the movie "The Man in The Iron Mask" (directed by Randall Wallace and with Leonardo di Caprio). The whole routine is inspired by the story, so you need to know a little about the movie to understand the routine. It is about French King Louis XIV, who took his twin brother into custody in order to reign alone. His twin brother has been encased in an iron mask (so that nobody can recognize him) all his life until the Musketeers deliver him and help him to succeed to the throne. In the routine, Marina represents the mask and Gwendal represents "the man in the iron mask".
Click here to visit the movie's official website

The music
The music is the soundtrack from the movie, composed by Nick Glennie-Smith. Some of the selections used by Marina & Gwendal are "Heart of a king" and "Surrounded". Marina & Gwendal had made very good music arrengements, starting with a slow part and ending with more powerful music, so that everything was built to the end. When they used the routine as an exhibition, they added vocals (in French) at the start that explained the story of "The Man in the Iron mask".
Click here to buy the music

Why "The man in the Iron mask"?
First, Murielle Zazoui had a precise idea of what kind of program she wanted Marina & Gwendal to skate for the 98/99 season: "after the success of Romeo & Juliet, I wanted to keep the same emotional style, but I didn't want the new routine to be compared to the previous one. I didn't want to tell a love story on the ice again."
"We and our coach Murielle Zazoui had seen the movie, and we all enjoyed it and thought the music was great," Gwendal said, "we tried other musics but in the end we came back to this one. It is a wonderful theme."

This routine was performed at:
1998 Skate America - free dance
1998 Trophée Lalique - free dance & gala
1998 NHK Trophy - free dance
1999 French Nationals - free dance
1999 European championships - free dance
1999 Grand Prix Final - free dance
1999 World championships - free dance
1999 Champions on Ice - exhibition
1999 Trophée Lalique - gala
1999 NHK Trophy - gala
2000 French Nationals - gala
2000 Grand prix Final - free dance (first round)

Perfect scores:
Marina & Gwendal got five 6.0s in artistic for that routine at the 1999 French Nationals and another one at the 2000 Grand Prix Final from the Italian judge (artistic mark).

by Alla Dukhova and Murielle Boucher-Zazoui.

Story, highlights & pictures

Start pose__Start pose 2
The start pose
Marina is standing in front of Gwendal, her hands in front of her head. She represents the prison where "The Man in the Iron Mask" (MITIM) is living. When the routine was used as an exhibition, the start pose was as pictured on the second photo: Marina & Gwendal are back to back, and Gwendal is miming a mask. Right after the vocals end, they both return to the first start pose.
(first photo © Olivier Brajon/Patinage Magazine, second photo © Kelly Behning)

waist lift__Waist lift
The "waist lift"
This lift represents the moment when the MITIM leaves the prison and puts his mask around his waist. Marina rolls up herself around Gwendal. Then you can see that Gwendal opens his hands to unveil his face once Marina (who represents the mask) is off the ice.
(photos © Olivier Brajon/Patinage Magazine)

Freedom lift
This lift is one of the more difficults in the program. Marina has her legs up and her head down, and her only support is Gwendal's leg. Gwendal holds her by her legs. This lift represents freedom, and the speed they get on that move really gives an impression of freedom!
(photo © Olivier Brajon/Patinage Magazine)

A spiral with awesome lines. Gwendal is skating forward and Marina is skating backwards, then she turns to go forward. I don't know the real meaning of that move, but I guess it represents the joy of finally being free.
(Photo © J.Barry Mittan)

Turning lift
Gwendal lifts Marina very high (shoulder height) and turns. They both look up. The MITIM discovers and watches the World around him.
(Photo © J.Barry Mittan)

The reverse lift:
The most impressive move of the program. First, Marina & Gwendal had been practicing this lift with Gwendal lifting Marina. It was, I guess, a symbol of him wearing the mask or something like that.:-) Then they had the idea of making it a reverse lift, with Marina lifting Gwendal. Marina first thought she wouldn't be able to lift Gwendal in that position (almost a sit position) but after hours of hard work she did it. This lift requires a lot of flexibility from Gwendal, and a lot of balance for Marina. "We don't want to make lifts that require a lot of power when Marina is lifting me. It's just a balance thing", Gwendal said.
(first photo captured by Kelly Behning , second one © J.Barry Mittan)

Step sequence
Step sequences
The step sequences represent the battle between the brothers. The circular step sequence was taken off when the routine was used as an exhibition: this particular sequence is very difficult, and Marina & Gwendal are skating very close from each other.There is a passage at the end of the final step sequence, where you can see Gwendal taking off the mask (kind of fighting with Marina).
(photo © Kelly Behning)

Final lift & final pose
The victory of The Man in The Iron Mask! Gwendal lifts Marina, who is head down. Then he catches her hand and gets down on his knees to get into that final pose.
(photos © J.Barry Mittan)

Fan comments

"I have to say that I didn't like this routine so much but there was some interesting moves.For exemple: Marina lifts Gwendal. But their charisma impressed everyone."

"Nameless fan"

"Marina lifts Gwendal--the role reversal lift! Had these two won the 1999 Worlds with this routine they could be 2-time world champions!"

Elizabeth Roberts

"I loved the beautiful and flowing costumes, especially the color. The music was GREAT- as it suited them perfectly! The lift was WOW (as everyone says)! It had some great steps also, which I notice now that I am a BIG fan of dance.This happenened after seeing M&G at 1998 Olympics!"


"I guess this will always be an emotional favourite of mine (partly because it never got the medals I thought it deserved). This routine's got so much emotion, power and tension it simply pins you to your seat and makes it impossible to turn your eyes. As for favourite moves that is a very difficult choice as the program is so much of a whole and beautiful from beginning to end. I adore the lift with Marina head-down clinging to Gwendal's leg though. I'll never stop wondering how they can hold on to that pose... I also love the syncronized steps and the fight sequence...and the opening and finish of course...but really, there are more favourites than I can mention here...;-)"


"Marina & Gwendal really knew how to make this program alive. It was good both as a competitive program and as an exhibition. I would have liked to see more steps in there, but still, it was magical."


"The Man in The Iron Mask is just my favorite routine that A&P have skated to!!! It's breathtaking! They should have won Worlds with a performance like that! I love the beginning... Really takes you into the mood! And that lift... All I can say is WOW!"


"I have a special feeling about this routine every time I watch it. It's just breathtaking and it's the kind of routine that you don't want to end. The music is wonderful and they used every beat of it perfectly. I loved the way Marina & Gwendal let their emotions come out during the whole routine, it really looked like they felt the music deeply. I love the storyline, and the way the routine is building to a climax. Marina & Gwendal skated as one and in my opinion this routine was really worth a 6.0!!"


"I have to say I love it! But there is a part here where I feel that the routine is put on "fast forward" and something is "cut out" it is before Gwendal jumps/leaps it looks like a preview to a JUMP so I am actually waiting for a triple/quad! LOL! So when that does not appear I feel that I am left behind... Hard to explain... But seriously I am actually confused...so I guess it's the Surya (singles skater) fan that appears here :) I really like the ending and the beginning ..it is certainly 'something else'."



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