When thinking about a topic for this week, nothing immediately came to mind but then I got to thinking about why the fans of DWTS love Tristan. I figured that this would be a good time to remember some of those things and maybe share a little of the wealth with our new friends – the fans of Strictly Come Dancing. Once I started writing, it became very easy. We have interviewed Tristan at least two dozen times in less than two years, and there are all kinds of great quotes to pull from those interviews. Throughout this little collection of memories, you will hear from Tristan, but there are a few words thrown in from others as well.
So here you have it – why the fans of SCD are going to love Tristan MacManus. There are many, many reasons. These are only a few.
***He has patience and lots of it. Just ask anybody who has taken a private or group lesson with him, or if that isn’t enough, talk to one of his DWTS partners.
***He is a great teacher. He was born to teach, and he takes that role very seriously. He defined his role as a DWTS pro in an early interview with us when he said, “I don’t have to be a star. I just have to be a teacher…I’m not here to show off…I’m here to dance with my partner and enjoy this as much as we can and I’m here to teach someone how to dance…” Well said, Tristan.
***He wants to make sure that each of his celebrity partners enjoys her experience every step of the way. This is how he described it: “Getting to know them is the only way. Production and competition cause things to wander in a certain way, and you potentially end up doing things to win or to get an upper hand. I like to know my partners and try to relate everything to them as opposed to relating it to dancing and techniques and what not. I want them to get better, but I want them to get better by understanding what they are doing – ‘why I like to dance' and not about 'what makes me a dancer'. I never concentrated on technique when I went back to dancing. I know it’s very important, but at the same time if I know what I am doing storywise is right or wrong, I will always lean that way before technical.”
***His celebrity partners adore him. For example:
“…handsome, but when the music starts, it’s like someone sprinkled magic on him and he makes a complete transformation…” --Nancy Grace
“I love Tristan very, very much. If I could hand pick a partner it would be Tristan. It would absolutely be Tristan – even having seen all the other pros – hands down.”
“If I have this friend for the rest of my life, there could not be a more incredible trophy than that. He is a true, true, gentleman, just one of the finest human beings I’ve ever known. He’s the real deal. Not about the fame and fortune, he’s just a dear, kind young man.” --Dorothy Hamill
“I’ve got the best partner in the world…the way he teaches, he’s very patient, but he’s direct. He paints pictures for me…” --Gladys Knight
“Beauty is really something….and Tristan has it – inside and out.” –Valerie Harper
***He is fan friendly and he treats his fans right. (Thank you very much, Tristan). Let’s see….he has done interview after interview with this website and he has answered dozens of questions from the fans both here and in video clips. He is always appreciative of the support and says so. He once described his fans as follows: "Loyal, O-Mazing, Vocal, Epic, Devoted." We wanted to give him a group hug after that one. :)
***In return, his supporters are fiercely loyal and he has lots of fans all over the world. A fan flew from Finland for his 2013 Princeton, NJ fundraiser for Grassroot Soccer. Several drove hundreds of miles to see him in Ballroom With A Twist in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Driving four hours to Pensacola, FL for a private lesson? No problem. Flying from the Midwest to Long Island to see him in BWAT last year? Easy. Two trains, a cab, traffic jams, and plenty of headaches just to get to the venue to see him dance? It happens all the time. Our good friend, Kay, a loyal Tristan (and SCD) supporter from Ireland has been communicating with us over all of the DWTS seasons and gives us links and helpful info and we try to return the favor. We’ve spoken with fans from Germany, Brazil, Italy, France, Mexico, Canada, and the UK – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In addition, we love to talk about Tristan – just ask us. Nearly 500,000 forum views later, we are still talking and since his move to Strictly Come Dancing was announced, we are having some of our busiest days in website history. Change is good, and this change is delicious.
***He is wicked funny and tells a great story. For example when we asked him about his first dance competition this was his response: “…I was a kid who just liked to hang out with other kids and the 'competitions' were just really an excuse to go hang out for the day, so I don’t remember. They used to have the kids comp during the day and the adults at night on a Sunday, so I would stay and watch my grandparents dance and chuck a sicky on the way home in the car to try ditch school on the Monday morning – haha - just look directly into the street lights on the way home and with my motion sickness I was set.” And then there was the story he told us from his Burn the Floor days – “Farmer MacManus” – thanks to Sasha Farber and Damian Whitewood who tucked his trousers into his socks in the middle of a performance. This story was pretty good too. “I did a show before - Emma [Slater] was in it as well at the time, and all the lads had a dance with a bunch of half mannequins. The top half was a mannequin and bottom half was like a stand on wheels so we would dance around with these dolls all side by side, but we were all tossing around a bit before we had to go on, so the first lad missed the music cue so we all had to rush on and my mannequin popped off the stand just as I got on stage, so I had to do the whole dance carrying half a mannequin and instead of rolling it between partners, we had to throw the feckin’ thing from partner to partner. It was like a Monty Python sketch.” We could go on and on, but you get the picture.
***You have to like the fact that his hair has its own Twitter….and Tristan doesn’t mind. He’s a good sport as is evident in this comment about @TristansBedhead: “I think it’s very strange! Ha! More so considering how much I neglect it [the hair], it probably tweets just as much as I do!!!! I couldn’t imagine how that would work but if you have taken the time to set it up or participate in - whatever it does - thank you! It encourages me to continue to pay no attention to the hair - don’t get me wrong, it is very clean!!!"
***He loves his dog and shared pretty funny stories about the little guy. “Pike is a lunatic! He is scared of every other dog and he doesn’t know how to run and look behind at the same time so when dogs chase him he tumbles a lot. He is very brave if he is standing behind us or between our legs. I think he may have p"&#ed on Sasha’s face when he was playing with him but I told him to do that!” or “…He is getting at a nipping stage because his teeth came through so he is trying to eat everything. He loves laces and he likes sitting on clothes and nestling into them but he doesn’t behave – no. He is a little s*&# but what can you do? He is only a puppy and is supposed to be like that. That's why we like him!" We think Pike MacManus is a lucky little dude.
***His dancing is breathtaking, and you will always see magic. Don’t believe us? Just head right over to our links page and choose your pleasure. Most of Tristan’s performance videos are posted so you could watch for hours. Probably days. http://www.macmaniacs.org/links-performance-video.html
***He’s the real deal – he won’t change anything and he is his own man. Forget that he hates spray tans and doesn’t do them. With Tristan, “It is what it is.” Read what he said about his move to SCD in our June 3 interview. “No, I won't be changing. I still think no matter where you are the same is the same - people just want to dance and want to have fun which I’m looking forward to so in those terms nothing will change. My teaching and objectives will depend on who I get partnered with as always, but I’ll still be myself. Again, people always have their favorites so some might just not take to me and hopefully some will but I’m glad that my family and friends have an opportunity to swing across the pond for a few days now.”
***He loves to entertain, and he does it so well! He also doesn’t care what everyone else is doing because he is in it because he loves it. “I love to dance but I love even more to entertain and all the well wishes and notes of support are what inspire me to do it. The negativity doesn’t faze me so I suggest it doesn’t you either – Ha! I don’t need to be compared to anybody else because that’s not what I am in it for. I love what I do and if I entertain one or one million I’m happy because it only takes one person to make a difference, and if I can convince one person to follow what they love then they in turn can convince the next person and so on.”
***He is positive, ego isn’t an issue, and he’s grounded. How do we know? Because he said so. “It’s easy to stay positive about what I do because it’s what I love to do. I have been in so many positions before where I couldn’t rub two pennies together. I was lucky to have a family supportive enough to 'bail me out' and also give me the ear full I needed to get straight. I know that I can get by without being in the public eye because I have done it all along and it’s what the majority of people do every day so when you don’t crave that role, it’s easy. What’s the worst that could happen? If something is wrong you have to ask yourself if you can do anything about it - if you can’t there is no point stressing about it. If you can, well, then you change it. It’s all about priorities for me.” If that isn’t enough, read this: “I stay grounded because that’s who I am and that is who my family and friends like and love so to be anything else would be somebody else.”
***He finds most hashtags as ridiculous as we do. The topic came up in a conversation about Jimmy Fallon’s legendary hashtag skits with Justin Timberlake and Jonah Hill. “I love Jimmy Fallon! His show is great and I love his skits. His #hashtags skits with JT and Jonah Hill are funny because they are so ridiculous but it's how morons are talking these days!”
***He can cook. At least he can make dessert and that’s the best part. He makes a mean Banoffee Pie and his good friend Emma Slater swears that it’s the best dessert around. Unfortunately, he’s not sharing his recipe.
***He thinks that the qualities that make a good dancer don’t necessarily have to focus exclusively on technique. “What makes someone a good dancer to you is if you enjoy them dancing but more importantly what makes you a good dancer is if you enjoy doing it - that’s all that matters in my book! Good and bad are irrelevant.”
***He understands the fans. He doesn’t care that we are MacManiacs, and he, all in good fun, sometimes calls us MacLunatics because, well, something the name fits. We even asked him what might happen if the unthinkable occurred and he had to teach us a group lesson. Always a good sport, he took on the challenge. “I would have to let you all decide what you wanted to do and what you wanted to dance to - probably have to be a faster one. I’d imagine it would be like that scene from Wedding Crashers - SHOUT!" Yes, we laughed because we like to laugh at ourselves, and his description about what would happen is probably spot on.
***He has some great ideas. A fan once asked him what five people in history he would most like to sit down to dinner with, and his answer told us a lot about him. “Richard Harris, Peter O’Toole, Oliver Reed, Richard Burton, James Dean. That would be a great night out.”
***He tells a story with every dance and weaves a carefully structured storyline into every dance. How does he do it? He tells us. “It can be difficult to tell your story all the time certainly to the degree that you want. You can’t throw somebody around, lift them up high, or do different things that go against the rules so you have to do some subtle things and hope that you can pull it off – ha! It's difficult to come up with a routine before you start with your partner because you don’t know what they are capable of. Whether they have been on the show or not you just have to take the time to get to know your partner, figure out what they want from this experience, what stories they want to tell. Either way I will dance whether it’s on TV or not. These people [celebrity partners] won’t so its fully their experience. I want to know what they want to tell and then I’ll try to make that happen. You are restricted in a way with how much you can do to portray certain things but you just gotta play the cards you are dealt.”
***Because he’s a huge James Dean fan. We asked him about that because the whole rebel artist concept is mysterious, yet appealing. “Yeah, I’m a big fan but I tend to be for a lot of people who are that bit different. I’m sure there were better actors at the time and I guess because I wasn't around I don't know how much of his ways were just to get attention or not but I like the way he took a different route to everything and he stuck to how he wanted to do things. He was obviously very talented and sometimes you get away with things when people are desperate for you, but to me it seemed as though he stuck to doing things the way he wanted but always got on with the job. He did what he wanted in his free time and never let it affect his work. It was such a revelation maybe because he didn't follow the 'path' that people do. There are so many people who are afraid to do things their own way. You hear it all the time - people walking on eggshells, complaining, and sly talking about people and then hide it all when certain people are around...it seems like everything he did was with his characters in mind and for the good of his work."
***Because he makes very inspirational and thought-provoking comments. For example:
“I like when people do things their own way instead of the way other people want them to do it.”
“Don’t be afraid to try something new because it’s the people who aren’t afraid to try that get the rewards.”
“Live your life and make your own decisions. There are too many instances where people don’t take responsibility for their own actions and try to shift the blame to others. Make your own path and follow your own head and live and die by your own sword."
“Don’t fit in, stand out, be different – there is a place for everyone in everything.”
“I’m not really one for giving advice to people, but no matter what it is you do, love it and give it your all. Don’t be afraid to try something new because it’s the people who aren’t afraid to try that get the rewards or sometimes it just inspires others to. Your mind is your best weapon to use it.”
***Because he loves to laugh. “I love laughing! I love people falling over and I love people getting really confused and people getting scared but I love a drink and a story.”
***Because he’s a good old-fashioned dance purist whose favorite dances “are always the slow ones. I love the Waltz and Rumba…I’m pretty laid back and enjoy taking my time and moving around to the more emotional dances, more so than the action packed ones. Although I just love to perform whatever my partners get the most enjoyment out of…”
***Because he’s a really nice man. His fellow pro and good friend Sasha Farber said it best. “He’s just a nice guy. I don’t think there’s anyone out there in the world who doesn’t like Tristan.”
Oh yes. The fans of Strictly Come Dancing are going to have great fun with Tristan, and we will be right here supporting him along the way. Just like always.