Several months we did a series of interviews with some of our favorite Tristan MacManus supporters, and we decided to bring it back. Special thanks to superfan, Andrea, who agreed to answer our questions. We hope you will enjoy this fun Q and A with a very special lady.
You've been a Tristan MacManus fan for a while. When did you first notice him and what drew your attention?
I have been a DWTS fan for a while now. I got into it big time in 2011, when I started participating in the voting process. That was when Tristan became a pro on the show. I liked his relationship with Nancy a lot. I loved his dancing. I loved seeing him in the troupe but now watching him as a teacher and advisor to Nancy got me totally hooked. I like his approach on it. No over the top fancy or crazy stuff which other pros do sometimes. Just clean dancing and teaching. I think he is a great dancer, a great teacher and a great guy.
Tell us a little about the DWTS: At Sea cruises.
I have been on one cruise actually - the one in January 2014, the champions cruise. I had never done a cruise before and hadn’t it been for the DWTS pros I would have never considered going on a cruise. The only reason I took the cruise was DWTS. It has been a wonderful vacation and I would do it again in the blink of an eye, with or without DWTS. It was wonderfully put together - so many fun activities. The dancers were out and around on the ship and one would run into them eventually. I saw Tristan a couple of times at the buffet. Actually I ran into him the very first evening. He came back from the gym and was all sweaty and still took time to talk to me. He remembered me from BWAT in 2013. I also saw him a couple of times at the night club where he was hanging with fellow dancers and friends. He was always very nice. Even though I did not want to bother him every single night, I talked to him a few times. He was not on the dance floor like some of the other pros. He was just sitting there, talking and having a good time. The performances were awesome. I was waiting in line for hours to get front row seats and so I saw them up close. When they did the Q&A I was sitting in the front row too and when Tristan was introduced he came in, sat down and saw me and waved at me. That was really cute and special. He also told me one time to “just raise my hand and participate in Q&A” and encouraged me to not be shy.
When he was judging he was funny and constructive. Being German I always have a real problem with his accent. I understand English really well, but when it comes to Tristan and his Irish accent it is really hard for me. So I didn’t understand some jokes or remarks he made while judging.
On the night of the big pro show we had really rough seas and I saw all the dancers struggle with that. Tristan did too and it was just cute to watch how he was trying to balance his dancing with all the ship movement. One funny and memorable scene was when he came out bare chested to give something to Carson and the audience was screaming. Yummy little treat in literally reachable distance.
Have you been able to keep up with Tristan's performances on Strictly Come Dancing? What are your thoughts on the show, the format, and the dances?
I am a fan of Strictly too and I try to catch it whenever possible. I started watching it a couple of years ago when Artem joined the show. There is a difference in between Strictly and DWTS but I don’t think it is such a big one. I always hear that it is totally different and classier in England. To a point yes – but Strictly also does dances outside of Ballroom, like the Charleston or the American Smooth or Jazz. They just don’t do crazy stuff and no contemporary. I am always stunned that Strictly allows more lifts than DWTS does. At least I think they do. I think Strictly is “produced” as well. They don’t play the love section as much as DWTS does (Maks & Meryl, Janel & Val….) but they create stories too.
Generally I think that Strictly is a bit more classy, more ballroom. They still do all the ballroom dances, which I sometimes miss on DWTS. The pros are good but some are not as good as the American ones and not as hot J (therefore it was a great choice to get Tristan). Usually I prefer the choreos on DWTS. But I truly enjoy both shows. Craig (one of the judges) is a must and I would love to see him on DWTS. That would be fun. I really enjoy the effort BBC puts into producing “It Takes Two” which just provides so much more information for fans. I would love something like this for DWTS. On both shows I just love the pro dances. They are always outstanding.
In your mind, what qualities make a great professional dancer?
Oh gosh, I have no dance experience whatever. I had more than 10 hip surgeries in my life, so I can only judge without ever having done it. As a viewer for me it is about the beauty of the movements. Getting lost in that dance. The wish to watch it over and over again. In a Waltz or a Quickstep where there are so many strict rules, it is to keep it fresh but I still want the traditional dance. In Latin it can go crazy for me. If there is a story it is nice, but if not and it is just fun I like it as much.
As a teacher on DWTS or Strictly: A male dancer should always put the lady front and center. She is the picture - he is the frame. And he should always choreograph to the lady’s strength. Derek does this on DWTS like no one else. And Tristan does it too. It’s not about props or themes or fancy stuff – it has to be to the lady’s strength. Sometimes simpler more basic choreo is more beautiful for me than over the top stuff which has never been done before.
For a teacher it is important to have lots and lots of patience. And he must be able to teach in different, individual ways. The same pattern does not work for everyone.
What I admire about dancers is their physical strength. To hold, lead, support and (in a way) shelter a woman. I love that and I see this in Tristan a lot.
If you were a guest judge on DWTS or SCD, what would it take for you to award a score of "10."
I would have to get lost in the beauty of the dance. I would have to be emotionally touched. No or little props, I am with Len on that. And it has to show the character of the dance. There would have to be contents that are traditional. Like in a Viennese Waltz I do not want to see a lot out of hold or in a weird “faked” hold. I want to see the Viennese Waltz. I like a lift now and then but go easy on that. And a great costume never hurts. If the whole package is there a little miss-step would not be a big deal for me.
If you could choose any song and/or dance style for Tristan to perform, what would it be?
I am a ballroom fan and Tristan does this so good. He did a phenomenal dance with Anna last year at BWAT. I think it was a waltz. I would tend to a Tango, Paso or Waltz. Maybe something by Queen, or “You raise me up”, or “Habanera” for a Paso. Or a Rhumba to “Gravity” or Aerosmith’s “I don’t want to miss a thing” in the Latin section. Lately I totally got into “Say you love me” by Jessie Ware. I am sure Tristan would do a beautiful choreo for that awesome song. Actually I love to see him in anything, but don’t we all.
You seem to travel a lot. What has been your favorite travel destination and is there someplace you've always wanted to go but never been?
I lived all my life in Germany and I always, always, always wanted to visit the US. I remember wanting to do this since I was a little kid. I have no idea why, but that’s what I wanted. I have been there many times and travelled 49 out of 50 states. Alaska is still missing. So that would be a goal to go there. My favorite destination would have to be LA because of all the friends I made there and all the beautiful and meaningful memories connected to that place. I go there every summer and meet with my friends and we have the best time. They travel to LA from all parts of the US, I come in from Germany and we spend a couple of fun filled days there.
I guess I have never seen a more beautiful state than Montana. Breathtaking! I love the South (Charleston, Savannah), love Texas and of course New York. In Europe it’s England and Greece I would want to go to again.
Australia is a place I have never been and that I would love to travel to. Maybe one day…