Thanks to Tristan for taking time in between Holland America's DWTS At Sea cruises for this interview. Also special thanks to our forum members Lucy-Rowan and Regan who came up with all of the questions.
We have enjoyed reading about the Ironman 70.3 Dublin and your support for Focus Ireland. How has the training been going the last few weeks?
Training is a little hard at the minute as my bike is all packed up back in LA while I am travelling so most of my training is just running at the minute which I’m doing every day here. I’m doing 10k every morning and then trying to work around rehearsals and the DWTS activities and shows on board. There are a few spinning classes on board but I haven’t got to do them all this week. Hopefully they will be a little later next week so I can fit in the three/four classes they run in the gym on board to add to my run. The swimming I’ll have to wait for to train when I get off.
Will you get to spend a nice block of time back home before Strictly rehearsals start? When will you return to London for Strictly?
Yeah, I head back to Ireland July 2nd for a couple of weeks before I do BWAT end of July and then Ireland for another week or so before Strictly starts August 3rd. I haven't been home for a while so it will be nice to spend a few weeks there. I have a lot of work to do but it will be great to be home.
You were part of the P&O Strictly Come Dancing Mediterranean Cruise which left England May 28. We have heard wonderful comments about you and Iveta from several of your supporters who were there. Since you also did the Holland America Bermuda cruise, how long were you actually on the P&O ship?
Yeah, we got on the cruise May 28th in Southampton, England and spent that and the next day at sea. From there we went to Vigo in Spain, Lisbon in Portugal, Gibraltar, Monte Carlo, Livorno in Italy and then as we ported in Rome on June 5th I left for Boston. It was a great cruise. I really enjoyed it and made sure we got out for at least a few hours each day to see all the great places. Unfortunately I didn't get to see Rome which is the one place I was really looking forward to but hopefully I make it back one day.
Did you find time for any sightseeing on that cruise?
Yeah, we did a little sightseeing. Lisbon was beautiful and for sure Monte Carlo. We got great weather everywhere but again I had a lot of work I was trying to get ahead with so I saw some things for a few hours but mainly I was working away. Rome for sure would have been the place to see but I’m very grateful to have had the chance to be on the cruise and hopefully I will get to do some more in the future for Strictly.
How about the Holland America Bermuda cruise? Did you go any place special? With some different cast members than on earlier HAL cruises, did the show follow the same basic format? What dances were you involved in? What is it like working with Florence Henderson?
Holland America has been fun as always. A little different for me, yeah, with Florence so I have done a Cha Cha and Waltz with her. She is just great. Florence is a huge DWTS fan, and I had seen her at a lot of the shows before but I had never talked to her so I’m glad I got a chance to meet her here. I really like her and have had fun with her. I did a Foxtrot with Kym with a little Samba for the opening and finale numbers and “Vogue” with Carson and then I did a Jive to "Johnny B. Goode" with Magda Fialek who dances with my good buddy Kiki who I was in the original troupe with. The cast was a little different this time so a few numbers where different and a few I hadn't seen before.
As well as the show I judged two of the three dance competitions as well as the dance competition finale on board which is always fun. We did a photo shoot with all the passengers and then an autograph signing session and for the first time I taught a Cha Cha dance class which people seemed to enjoy so I can't complain. It’s been a busy cruise but a lot of fun and the cast and crew are great so it’s an easy gig in that sense and you hate to miss out. We also did a Q&A which Robert Herjavek took part in. It’s been cool getting to know him a bit more. I love Shark Tank and Dragon’s Den (UK Version).
Many of us were fortunately able to see your brief clip from Celebrity Wife Swap. How did you end up doing the show? How much time was involved?
That came out of the blue. I don't know why but I have this weird thing where I like watching that show if I have some time off and it comes on. I don't go out of my way to watch or record it but it’s just stupid easy watching and my buddy Christian who was a producer on DWTS was producing this episode for Wife Swap and he asked me to be involved. Originally I thought he was asking me to be part of the swapping so there was no chance that was happening and I had said no but then it was just a case of coming in for a few hours and recording some things down in Hermosa Beach. I was heading down that way on the bike anyway so I dropped in for a few hours and taught a few steps to Casey. I actually used to always pass him by practicing on the beach when I was out training and he was cool as you would imagine a beach volleyball player to be - real laid back and funny guy. We got on well for the few hours there. I doubt he is doing any more dancing - hahaha.
What is one of your favorite moments from SCD 2014?
I really enjoyed my time on Strictly and enjoyed getting to know the pros I hadn't met before and the crew. Jenny was obviously a highlight to meet and spend time with and I’m glad that her family is now a part of my family. I had always been a fan of Michael Flatley so to meet him and talk with and the cast of Riverdance was amazing for me. I got to meet a number of amazing choreographers each week as well as I had missed the original rehearsal schedule because of Alec and Edyta’s show [Alec Mazo and Edyta Sliwinska's Dance Temptation, August, 2014]. The whole experience was pretty special for me as I was losing motivation a little bit before I came.
Sometimes the songs chosen for SCD and DWTS don’t seem to be suited to the dance style you are assigned to do. Obviously you make the best of it but do you recall any cases where working with certain music was particularly challenging as you tried to choreograph and/or create a story?
Yeah, you have a lot less influence in a lot of the things on Strictly or at least it seems that way for me but it may just be circumstance and the way the weeks of the show were going. I think Strictly is more about songs that everyone knows and are aware of where I feel you can use any music that’s great on DWTS. I’m usually pretty good at just going with what I got unless I have a real issue with a particular song. I think I made it clear I didn't wanna dance to ABBA - ha - but what can you do?! Jenny was a huge ABBA fan. Once we got that we just had to go with it. I wanted to use a song by The Beautiful South. Hopefully I can use it on a future season. Movie Week I wanted “Jump In The Line”. I just love that song. Sometimes you get a song you just love but you have no idea after that about what to do - haha - you are just happy you got a great song and then everything is always relative. You should only do what suits your partner and maybe costumes and things like that - dress them for the same reasons. So I let the relevant departments do their job and I focus on my job. On Strictly you teach and try to influence and on DWTS you create more.
Lastly, we are curious if you or any of your fellow pros have managed to pull off passable impressions of the SCD (or DWTS) judges. Do you recall any and are you guilty of doing one? If you haven’t attempted it yet, which judge do you think you could create the most accurate impersonation of?
Hahaha! I don't do impressions but my sense of humour could probably be a ruder version of Craig!!! I think I would suit a nasty judge for Strictly and a nice judge for DWTS. The audiences are obviously very different because of the cultures but I think the boos are more fun and better than the cheers – haha!
Tristan will be competing in the Ironman 70.3 Dublin in August and in the process will be raising funds to support Focus Ireland, a charitable organization which helps the homeless. To support Tristan and donate to this very worthy cause, go here: