Over the last year, you have been busy with lots of different projects including the rehearsals and tour with Kristina Rihanoff, trips back to the states for Dance To the Movies, and your production responsibilities with Mrs. Brown’s Boys. When you step away from dancing for a while to work on other projects, do you find it difficult to get back into the rigors of dance and performing?
To be honest—not really, but in saying that some would say that’s why I’m not very good at it— haha. I enjoy dancing but to enjoy it for me I need to get away from it when I can. Dancing is fun and stays that way because it’s a part of my life and not all of it. My competitive nature comes from doing things where there is no denying it’s not down to opinion. I either run faster and further or slower and not as far. Stage is great because I can be myself, I can talk to people how I talk to people, and—if allowed—I answer whatever they want to know. I deal with people every day, so it’s no different in my mind then when I'm on stage. I stay fit now because I enjoy running and training more. The breaks I take let me recover, so it makes such a difference to my life waking without the agony I used to be in. I have a new way of dealing with everything these days, and it works for me so long may that continue.
Have you been working with the cast and crew of Mrs. Brown’s Boys recently, and do you have more in the works? Are there tours coming up?
Yeah, we have been busy with the new shows. We have a UK tour coming up next year but before then we have the Christmas specials to record and also the new seasons of All Round to Mrs. Brown’s and For Facts Sake. I’m also putting some things together with a friend—like a passion project—so things are great work-wise, and, most importantly, great family-wise.
This question comes from Jessica who traveled to Boston to see you in Dance To the Movies. How does preparation for a show that uses a recorded track differ from one that uses a live orchestra like the Boston Pops? Are their differences with regard to rehearsal and performing?
Yeah, they can be quite different but only in terms of how it sounds and that we don't rehearse with the orchestra. Well, I didn't anyway as I only flew in the night before. The orchestra is unreal and I love it. Dancing to live music is always the best and, not that they do, but the live musicians can make mistakes as much as the dancers can. I guess when it comes to track you just have to hope it doesn’t skip—haha. I literally just watched something the other day of myself and Emma when our music stacked it and pretty much it was a sham from then on—unreal bad but we had a giggle on it!! The stage is a lot different with the orchestra as well seeing as they are so big. The dance space is a lot smaller so you modify. The show in Boston had Act 1 just orchestra and Act 2 was orchestra with us guys, so workload differs also for the dancers on a show like that. I love the live music and it adds another great element along with the dancing and obviously the singing that is there whether it is orchestra or track. Everything about that show was great for me the cast obviously are great as are the Boston Pops, I love dancing with Anna, and it was in Boston which is always my favourite place to go back to!
You have performed in venues all over the world, but is there anything in particular that stands out when you perform here in the states? In other words, is there something you especially enjoy about performing in America?
It’s a bit of everything really, but mostly now because I don't live there anymore and when I come back its always for fun now! I see my friends, I do fun shows, and I get to hang out with great people in great places. The Scott Stander group is so good to work for and they always have my back so it’s a pleasure to come back. I must say I’m very lucky with BOC Productions also in that they allow me to come back and dance as they are my bosses now..............bar my wife.........and child!! I also enjoy seeing the interest people have for DWTS and hearing how much they enjoy it. It kind of feels good to know that you played a part in it however small it may have been. At one point in time, it was the greatest job I had ever had and I was lucky that America embraced me.
You have danced with lots of pros in lots of shows, but who (other than probably Sasha) has the most wicked sense of humor? What about your celebrity partners on DWTS and SCD? Was there anyone in particular who was especially amusing or that you stay in frequent contact with?
Everyone has always been great to be fair pro-wise. I never met a pro I didn't get on with or, at least, I never met one I had a problem with—haha. It’s fascinating that you can spend so much time with the same people and not really get to know them that well. Maybe that was me at the time, maybe it was them, but there aren’t too many that I am still in contact with. Sasha will always be in my life. He’s a genuine guy with a great heart, I could hammer that guy every single day with some of the stuff he does, but it makes me laugh. I love him—haha. Emma, the exact same. She is a cracking girl and I’m delighted for them both. They deserve everything they get. Maks, Peta, and Kym are all great people who I love to see doing so well. Mark Ballas is pretty funny. I like him and he makes me laugh. Chelsea and Lacey are great. I just recently met Fabian. He is a really cool guy, and I have a lot of time for him. Celeb-wise, everyone was cool at the time. We just never really stuck it out. I still hear from Nancy and Gladys, and I see Jenny from Strictly most the time so I got lucky pro, celeb, fan of the show, on camera, off camera. It doesn’t matter what you do once you are a good person. We all have bad days and bad periods of our life so I wouldn't hold anything against anyone that happened back then, and I’d hope they would stay the same either way. I’m in a good place now and I like who I like.
We have missed your stories about Pike. Is he still living with your folks in Ireland?
Yeah, Pike hasn't a care in the world. He is golden. No doubt he has his feet up now somewhere clicking his paws and filling his boots.
Have you been teaching and/or do you have any plans in the immediate future to teach those of us with two left feet how to dance?
I haven't been doing much teaching, no, just helping a few friends out here and there with them getting married but that’s about it. I have no plans but I’ll be back in America in a couple of weeks so if anything comes up, we will see. We are all looking to actually just having a holiday together where we can shut the phone off and just spend time together.
Lightning Round (quick answers)
What is the first thing you think of when you hear these words or expressions?
Ballroom With A Twist— How much more do I need to learn?
Brendan O’Carroll— Legend. Absolutely love the man
Dancing With the Stars-- Hope Farbs wins this time!
Echo’s latest milestone— How did she get up there and what’s that smile for? (frantically look around for danger), swimming class
Airports— Rubber gloves!
The last movie you saw-- Mission Impossible
The last show or play you saw— Book of Mormon
The last book you read— Charlie Engle Running Man / Cody Garbrandt The Pact
The last time you danced— Echo’s dance class Thursday mornings
We hear that you will be back at Trundle’s ABBA Festival in May along with Alana Patience. Will you be dancing again this year?
Yes, I’ll be back in Trundle this year with Alana Patience for the ABBA festival. It was good craic in the end last year and looking forward to another positive experience this year. We also have an Elvis cruise coming up in Australia so that as well should be fun. These themed weekends and shows are always great because it’s everyone coming together to celebrate people who they love and appreciate and you can just swoop in and do a little gig, and no matter how good it was or bad it was it was just another element to the festivities. The whole thing is great. We stayed in an old bank that was converted into a house, so the bedroom is actually in the old vault which is really cool.
It’s been a long time since you were on Strictly Come Dancing and even longer since Dancing With the Stars, but what are some of the special memories from those experiences?
Yeah, it’s been a while now since being on them but I still have some great memories. I don’t miss being on the show and I still have grievances about the way some things went, but at the same time when I reflect back I can see some things I would have done differently. Maybe that’s just since I’ve changed since becoming a dad. Also, maybe since now I’m producing I can see some things in a different light. One thing I know I did right on the show is how I treated people and that would not have changed for a second, and I never went against anyone for my own benefit. I never would have changed that. I more than likely would have focused more and treated my body better and not gotten as riled up with what was going on around me, but on the whole I’m glad I left when I did for the reasons that I did. I still keep in touch with the majority of my partners. I’ll always remember my first show as a troupe member. I remember the arguments with Nancy but also the great chats we had. I still remember how happy and excited Gladys was after the first dance we did. I’ll never forget that smile. I remember how emotional Valerie Harper made me feel and how proud I was of that experience. I remember first being told I wouldn’t be used and then me saying I won’t be back. I had good times/bad times with Jamelia. I looked after her but maybe not in the interests of the show, and then making a lifelong friend in Jenny who I now work with full time. I have great memories of both experiences and am glad I was lucky enough to live them and wish nothing but the best for those still involved.
Conversely, did you ever have one of those days on either show when everything seemed to go wrong?
Hahaha—oh yeah 100%. There were more than a few of those ones, but again different times and different attitudes change a lot of things. When I went to LA first it was all mental to me and I was very loose and wild at the time so that in itself helped and hindered. I was always conscious of the bubble of the tv world and sometimes I made more of that then I should have. I would exclude myself from things I probably should have gone to and then went to things that I shouldn’t have—things like that!! I would never go to events which would have helped me with the show and when it came to getting songs/themes etc. I wasn’t into, I’d just reject it instead of trying to resolve it. There was a time when I wanted full control over everything, and when I felt like I couldn’t then I’d shut down and just 'do my job’. That’s why everything turned sour for me. I felt like it was portraying that you had to be good or nobody was interested. Whether I was right or wrong at the time, I felt like only 'the good' dancers were getting the breaks and the good ideas—haha. I can’t help but get annoyed by how somebody like DL Hughley, Michael Bolton or Martina Navratilova felt. It wasn’t nice viewing. I just thought there was a nicer way to thank these guys for being part of the show as opposed to exploiting the gulf in abilities. Some days though, yeah, you just wanna throw some fingers up, crack some cans, and keep on truckin'—hahaaha.
You traveled a lot with Burn the Floor and performed in many other shows including Dirty Dancing The Musical, Ballroom With A Twist, Dance To the Movies, etc. What are some standout moments?
The stand out moments are always the same. It’s the crowds! You could be anywhere in the world but seeing smiles before during and after shows though trumps everything, although Boston is always special to me. I absolutely love it!! Yeah, the crowds and—luckily enough for me—the people I’ve been lucky enough to work with on a lot of these shows—Jaymz Tuaileva, Brent, Sasha, Iveta, Magda Jon, CJ, Tony—all these guys make the shows what they are, and those experiences stay with you for always. Magda, by the way, has it all. How she hasn’t been on these shows yet is beyond me. She should be on DWTS no doubt for her humor alone and ability. I loved Dirty Dancing also. I’d love to go back and do that again, especially with Swayze being a real idol of mine, but I really loved that show and it’s a shame it wasn’t longer.
You’ll be back in the states for Dance To the Movies in May. Will you have a chance to visit old friends or see familiar places during your visit? Do you have plans to teach or perform elsewhere when you’re here?
I’m not too sure about plans for America just yet. I’ll try to do as much as I can while there, but having travelled so much this year I would like to be able to get home and put my feet up for a little. I’m very fortunate with what I get to do but what’s the point if you don’t get to put your kids to bed every night and live wherever you have been lucky enough to work? I’ll catch up with friends for sure. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to Sasha and Emma’s wedding which killed me, but I will definitely see those guys. America may be a quick trip this time as we can’t keep taking Echo from kindy, and I won’t keep travelling away without them.
The last time we spoke you mentioned that you were still involved with Mrs. Brown’s Boys working on the production end. What type of work did you do and will you be working/performing in future productions?
Yes, I am working full time now for Mrs. Brown’s Boys as a producer so that is fun and it’s a great way for me to learn the industry from the other side. We work on the tv side and theatre/touring side so I would be responsible for setting up and running of the shows. We have a great team here who have all the experience and I am sponging all the info I can. While we are on the road, the production show we are working on determines whether I have an onstage role. If I’m not onstage or on screen, I will be on the set floor or in the production office. It’s all very interesting stuff and again it lets me learn, and I can see if there is a way to see if the things that irked me before can be done in a nicer way.....haha. I enjoy it and with Tahyna being a writer and director it helps. She teaches me things too and eventually we plan to work together where she can be the boss..........just like at home and at least I can get paid for being told what to do instead of doing it for free every day of my life. Hahahaha.
Finally, a fun “what’s the first thing you think of” exercise. In other words, just give your first response to the following:
Food you can’t stand
Food you love
Television show that makes you crazy
Worst movie ever
Stop remaking films!
The thing you dislike most about flying
Leaving the girls
An incredible professional dancer
An incredible actor
Current favorite musician
Funniest thing Echo has done/Most adorable thing Echo has done
Everything. She is hilarious but changes the subject if you ask her about her dirty nappy.
She kicks you in the face in her sleep, sleeps laying across my face and as soon as she wakes up she pulls my eyelids open and says, “Wakey wakey, I LOVE YOU DADA.”
First of all, congratulations on having a very successful tour with Kristina and Mark. It’s wonderful that so many of your supporters were able to see you perform on stage again and that you had the opportunity to put on the dancing shoes for a few weeks.
Now on to Mrs. Brown’s Boys. After a break of a few months, you’re back and performing close to home. How has this latest leg of the tour been going?
It has been great. We are in the midst of the final weekend which is immense in the 3Arena Dublin, and I’m loving it again. Finishing a tour in Dublin is amazing and especially in a venue so large and well-known at home is great. Last weekend was Belfast which may as well been the Siberia. It was that cold, but what a beautiful place. We were lucky enough that a few of us got to go into see the set of Game of Thrones and sit in the thrones and hold the swords. It was great craic!! The tour has been great but at the same time come Monday I’m flying home and can’t wait to get back to the girls. They came over for a month to break up this trip, but three months away from home has been a lot.
I would imagine that in a show like this hilarity reigns supreme and no two shows are the same, but are there any especially funny moments that stand out or something that makes you always expect the unexpected?
The show is great. I never get bored of it. We have had a cast re-giggle for a few shows now for different reasons so new faces always freshen the show up as well as all the gag changes! Agnes is going all out being in our home city, so you don’t know what to expect show to show. I’m still a Mormon and still trying my best to not crack when the script gets thrown out the window—haha. I love the Mormon scene. It’s still my favourite, but I love Conor Maloney who plays Father Quinn on this leg. He is hilarious so I watch his scenes every night.
You mentioned that you are now involved in the production side of the shows, so what do you do in that regard both prior to the shows and during them? Do you still have an acting role?
We have a lot going on at the moment in production, so it has been quite full on recently. Before the show, we set up the guest lists and seating plans along with helping the load ins which is essentially setting up the stage and helping with wardrobe departments, catering rooms, merchandise stands, production offices and anything else too. During the show, we set up for the following day and at the same time we are preparing visas, flights, hotels, and travel packs for the upcoming Australian/ New Zealand tour coming up in January. We also have an upcoming series of the tv show being made soon enough, so we are literally out the door and working long, long hours but I am learning a new skill and absolutely loving it. I’m still acting (if that’s what you can call it)—hahaha.
What are some of the challenges of doing a show like Mrs. Brown’s Boys? (either from a personal standpoint or just from observing the complexity of putting on a show like this)
The show is a complete beast and for sure it has a lot of challenges, but there is a great team in place. I would always imagine that going into anything that is so well-oiled and very much untouched for years and years that it would be hard to integrate into that. But they all made me feel so welcome so the difficulty is really just in learning how to do a particular job but more importantly how they do a particular job. It’s a process but one I’m loving! I just like learning, to be honest, so it’s all great for me. I’m learning a lot of roles at the same time so I couldn’t tell you the responsibilities of one particular role! The same as anything when you are trying to do something you never had before the hardest part is not losing confidence when you make mistakes. I used to find that difficult and would beat myself up for not knowing what I was doing and feeling insecure about it but I’m a lot more comfortable now with the fact that I shouldn’t know this because I’ve never had to know it and I’m learning as I go.
Mrs. Brown’s Boys starts up with a new show in Australia and New Zealand early in 2018. Will you be involved then as well? Have you done any rehearsals or preparations for that show.
Yeah, we have a new show in Australia/New Zealand about to start mid-January— 'For the Love Of Mrs. Brown'—that we are in the process of setting up but we won’t have rehearsals for that until the cast land in Oz. I haven’t actually seen that show yet or read the script but I’m making up the packs for the cast now with audio so I will know it pretty well pretty soon! I will be working in production on the show, but I won’t be acting in it this time—then again I may streak the stage for the craic!! The tour is a little shorter this time round—six weeks in Oz and two in New Zealand.
Is there a typical show day for Mrs. Brown’s Boys?
Not really. Like most shows, the general idea is once there are no hiccups your days are pretty set once the show is up and running, but again it all works show to show! The tv show is a different animal all together, but we will worry about that once this tour is shut.
And now for a few nosy questions...
If you could choose any place in the world other than Ireland or Australia to live, where would it be?
I’ve been lucky to live in a lot of great places. I miss Boston a lot. To be fair, it’s Baltic, but I could live there. There are still a lot of places I’d love to go but you have to make the best of wherever you are and right now I wouldn’t change a thing about where we live.
Last movie you saw
Last show or play you saw
I just went to see Columbia Mills in Dublin last month. That was a great night, but before that I think it may have been U2 in London. I have a big Wiggles show coming up with the girls when I get back to Sydney next week which should be loads of fun. You find yourself walking around singing the tunes to yourself.
Latest Echo milestone
Every day is a milestone to be fair she is great craic. She has the tune of ABC now. She is always singing but she doesn’t know all the letters just yet but she dances all the time and she sings a lot. She will be 2 before we know it. She is the best though—always laughing, always smiling and wants to do everything herself with no help and always has so much to get done that she doesn’t have time for us!!!
Are Tahyna and Echo able to travel with you these days? I know it’s a little more challenging when the baby becomes a toddler and is into everything.
They don’t get to travel all the time with me, so we break the trips up. I wouldn’t have been away for such a long stint, but we had the Christmas specials, then two legs of MBB tour and in between that was my dance tour with Kris, so it turned into a really long trip. They came out to Ireland for a month in between and we traveled the country. I can’t wait to get home to them now and have the month off, so it will be pure family time.
A couple of years ago, we asked you about Saturday Night Live as well as skits with Jimmy Fallon, Jonah Hill etc. We’ve been laughing lots lately on the website forum about James Corden and his Carpool Karaoke, Crosswalk the Musical, and just about anything else he does. Have you seen any of his nonsense? Otherwise, who is your favorite comic actor/host these days?
Yeah, I’ve seen some of it. I think it’s fun but not really my cup of tea. I still love Fallon. I think he is the best at what he does for those skits. Tom [Bergeron] is still the best 'host'. He is an all rounder now where he is so natural and like a classic host should be. You get the feeling with a lot of presenters now that anyone can do it, but there is a big, big difference in my eyes between a host and a presenter and Tom in my eyes is the best. I may be biased because I have seen Tom up close and firsthand but he is #1.
Do you have any plans to get back to the states? (That’s a question we get asked often)
I’ll be taking a trip back in March, but it’s been a long time since I’ve been in America so they may not let me back in!! There were a few times I was close to going back to the show, but for different reasons things didn’t work out but I’m happy with the direction my family is going in now so if we end up going back at some stage it would be great to catch up with our friends there.
Tristan graciously took your questions after the show on Friday, October 20. Enjoy!
We’ve heard glowing reports from those who have been fortunate enough to see An Evening with Kristina Rihanoff and Tristan MacManus during these first few days of the tour. For those of us who haven’t yet had the pleasure, would you tell us a bit about the show itself?
The shows have been going well. We are doing a mini-tour which was originally going to be a lot longer in the new year, but I will be back in Sydney and not interested in being away from my girls for such a long time. It’s basically a three-week tour—one week in England, a week in Scotland, and a week in Ireland— so I’m driving around the country and seeing a lot of new places I’ve never been to before. We are almost finished with the first week now, and the audiences have been great. It’s just a nice intimate show.
Do you have a favorite part of the show, and is there a dance you perform with Kristina that you especially enjoy?
Not really, I don’t have a favorite part. Usually the Q&A is fun because I get to answer questions the way I want to, and I guess that’s how I want to come across. Sometimes when you are on shows you have to say the right things and almost everything is p.c. so when it comes to these shows, it’s a bit like I used to do on It Takes Two—I can say whatever I want. I love dancing to "Wicked Game" in the show. it’s a song I have wanted to dance to for a long, long time but never got the chance. It’s a version by James VIncent McMorrow.
How did the show come together as far as rehearsals, choosing music, dances, etc. and was there a particular song/dance that you wanted included?
To be honest a lot of it was done without me. I was pretty easy when it came to whatever everyone wanted to do. There were some songs that I would have used if I was there from scratch but again Kristina would know the audience more than I would from doing her tours here before. I was happy to go along and just enjoy it. A lot of the songs I have always wanted to dance to in shows may only be songs I like, so it may not work like these do. Rehearsals were quite tough in a way. We didn’t have too much time together, but we did have some charity shows so we danced together a few months before the tour started. Any chance we got free time, we would put some routines together. When I came to Scotland for Mrs. Browns Boys, I’d travel down for the weekend to Kristina and try to piece some more together so it was very spread out but it seems to have worked so far and people have been quite receptive to it.
Strictly Theatre Co. has done a fantastic job of producing many types of shows. In what respect is this type of show different from others you have been involved with and what are your thoughts about the amazing work Strictly Theatre Co. is doing?
We have been really lucky with Strictly Theatre Co, and the work they do. It really is great, and that shows in the other productions they have. We are grateful to be working with the team. We have a small team on the road, but it is a really determined hard-working group that are great to be around. What I’ve picked up off the Mrs. Brown's Boy's tour is that a hug goes a long way, and we all support each other daily and keep spirits high and that makes it an enjoyable tour. I’d highly recommend this company and, who knows, we may end up working together again. When it comes to these shows it’s hard to say what is different, you know. Honestly, everyone is in a way doing the same thing in terms of dances and whatnot but it’s the individuals that makes the shows different. It’s a perspective from us and telling our stories and telling them how we want them to be heard. That’s all you can really do.
We are hearing that Mark Read is doing a fabulous job of hosting and performing as well. What can you tell us about Mark’s role and do you have a special favorite number that he sings in the show?
Mark has been such a great addition to the show, and he does everything. He isn’t just the host as he is so much more important. He has been so good at keeping the audience up, and his vocals have been on point from day one. I hadn’t met Mark before, although I was familiar with his band and didn’t really know what to expect. But from day one he was enthusiastic, accommodating, and professional, and—more important than anything—he is a genuine guy who wants to put on a great show just like Strictly Theatre Co. We couldn’t be happier to have him on board regardless of how short the tour is. I have never been able to suffer fools and sometimes you come across them in this game—haha. He has a great voice and is integral to the success of the show. I love "Take On Me"—hahaha—but I also love his "Wicked Game"and "My Way"versions.
Finally, is there anything you would like to share with the fans? (or just say to the somewhat giddy fans)
Again, just a big thank you. It’s been a while since I have given you guys anything and I appreciate the unfaltering support. Things are going really well at the moment. I am getting to do a little dancing and also working full-time behind the camera as a producer for Mrs. Browns Boys and my girls are great, so I couldn’t be happier and wish all the same to you guys.
Tristan is back in the UK for the next leg of the Good Mourning Mrs. Brown tour. We caught up with him on Wednesday, and he answered lots of your questions. Enjoy!
You have recently taken a break from dancing but will be performing again this fall. During your time off the dance floor, did you try anything new? (a sport, activity, travel somewhere new, etc.)
Yeah, I've been doing loads of new things since taking the break and, to be honest, it's been really good for me. I'm working as a project manager in Sydney building commercial properties so a fair bit different—ha—but again my head needed the break from what I was doing and not enjoying. I've also joined the RFS and I'm back playing football and, obviously, the best job of all is being a father. I always need to get away from things from time to time to reassess what I'm doing and find out whether I am happy enough doing it or not, so for that reason the break is great. I can try new things and appreciate the old things.
If you had the opportunity to sing with any band or solo artist (other than Gladys Knight), who would it be? Do you ever sing to Echo? What’s on the playlist?
I have no interests in singing with famous people, no—ha. I'm happy with the singsong at the house or at the pub. We sing all the time at home for Echo. She loves it.....well, she puts up with it more like, but Tahyna has a lovely voice and she has the talent with the instruments. I just close the eyes, throw the hand in the air, and smash out (perfectly) those Mariah Carey notes / every music is blasting there. Echo loves all sorts—generally an epic remix mashup of Peppa Pig and Giggle and Hoot.
Speaking of Echo, have you introduced her to football yet? How about dancing?
Echo watches the football with dad, yeah, and she will sit and watch the UFC but her mammy won't let her— hahaha. She is always dancing around though. Yeah, it's funny. She is gonna be a handful but is a hilarious little girl. She knows how to get what she wants.
What do you like most about being part of the Good Mourning, Mrs. Brown tour? Are you back touring with them in June/July?
We are back on tour with Mrs. Brown’s Boys now. The first show is tomorrow [Thursday, June 8], and I love it as always. I feel very comfortable when I'm with these guys. Everyone just supports each other here and appreciates each other's work and time. Everything is very transparent, and you always know where you stand. If something needs to be said about anything, you will be sure you will hear it firsthand and not through whispers. That's very important to me. It's a positive environment where backstage is equal to onstage, and I love the affection the venues and their staff have for the cast and crew and how much is it returned with no expectations. It's second nature to be kind and thoughtful, so you can't ask for more from your surroundings and the people closest to your family.
You were scheduled to dance at the ABBA Festival in May. How did that go? What dances did you do?
ABBA festival was a bit of craic—bizarre and mental but a bit of craic. I'd go back again. We did three dances—Samba, Cha Cha, and Rumba to some of ABBA's songs. I can't remember which ones. Basically, Trundle (the town) shuts down, and the whole place is taken over by ABBA enthusiasts. The people line the streets, and we danced in the middle of the town. The next town over has the biggest Elvis festival, and this was set up to rival it. There is a tribute band, fancy dress, and table quizzes—all that shebang. If you love ABBA, you will have a good time. It was a long, but enjoyable, road trip for the family up there.
We were delighted to hear that you will be touring with Kristina Rihanoff this fall. Do you have any details about the tour, when you will begin rehearsals, or any other information? Will you and Kristina be doing the choreography? Is there anything in particular that you are looking forward to with regard to this show? (a venue, the tour itself, the performing, etc.)
Yeah, I’m looking forward to this tour coming up. We will choreograph it and probably start putting ideas together over next few weeks while I'm in the U.K. Initially it will probably be for about three weeks—two in the U.K. and one in Ireland. Mark Read who was in A1 will be hosting and singing, so it should be good. I’m looking forward to doing the Irish shows. I’ve never really done any at home before so that will be special.
I don’t know everything about it yet, but I'm guessing it will be all ten dances with probably a few more thrown in, but we will be catching up soon and going through what the plan is.
You have a busy schedule coming up. Are you looking forward to getting back on the dance floor? (And do you have any plans to return to the U.S. anytime soon?)
Lucky enough. it’s going to be very busy for the rest of the year and hopefully some things coming up in the new year. I'd love to come back to the states and do some shows, but it's not that easy just saying “Yeah. I'll do it.” I kind of closed that door. It was making me too frustrated and most shows rightly so need to stay relevant and, in my opinion, need to use people more recent on the tv so who knows? I'll come back and teach for sure, and if timings work, I'd be happy to do some shows.
You’ve choreographed many dances and performed many more, but have you ever been tempted to try songwriting? If so, how did that go for you?
No, I don't do the songwriting. I used to be real smooth and have all the right things to say but had to stop that when I grew up—haha. I absolutely love lyrics and anyone who knows me knows I love doing an impromptu speech now and again, be it gibberish or banter, but the sensitive words are saved now for my girls at home.
You said these wise words in one of our interviews back in September, 2012: “Don’t fit in, stand out, be different. There is a place for everyone in everything.” How does that apply, in particular, to those in the entertainment industry?
The entertainment industry is its own beast. Most people think they are more important than they are, but it's also full of genuinely good people following their dreams so it's a fine split. I sometimes notice that people at times find what they like about other people and become that until the new flavor comes. You have to choose what it is you want. For instance, you have to decide what is success to you and appreciate what you do. Some people, as strange as it sounds, rely completely on acceptance of other people and never appreciate their own value. The biggest and most important thing I think you can have is knowing worth—value of worth in yourself, your talents, and the people around you and the people you let in your life. I can't comprehend spending your life trying to impress a bunch of assholes who don't care about what happens to you before or after they have got what they want from you! Do your best and know the value of hard work and achievement. The important thing is your opinion of worth, not someone else's.
Finally, a few random words or phrases. Just respond with the first thing that comes to mind.
Farbs and Emma
*a food you tried once but will never eat again
Oysters and shellfish
*a beverage you tried once but will never have again
That stuff that tastes like licorice
*Mrs. Brown’s Boys
Not for me but enjoyable when it's done right
Proper story telling
Love it. I just saw a few old dances with Kym recently, and I'd like to some dancing with Kym again. That was always fun.
Learning. I've met a lot of great people from teaching, and they inspire you and remind you to appreciate what you are lucky enough to do.
I love a cuppa tea.
*An Evening with Kristina Rihanoff and Tristan MacManus
Hopefully fresh, fun, honesty—haha
Thank you, Tristan! For information on both Good Mourning Mrs. Brown and An Evening With Kristina Rihanoff and Tristan MacManus, refer to the links below.
Good Mourning Mrs. Brown
Tickets for the UK dates:
Tickets for the Ireland dates:
An Evening With Kristina Rihanoff and Tristan MacManus
Tristan is part of the cast of Good Mourning Mrs. Brown and is currently on tour in the UK. He took time to catch up with us and has answered lots of the questions you have sent in for him. This is our 63rd interview with Tristan since July, 2012, and each one is more fun than the last!
Congratulations on being part of the cast of the Good Mourning, Mrs. Brown tour. Will you be doing the full tour and how do you like being on the road again?
Thank you, and it's great to hear from you. Things are great. Mrs. Brown’s Boys is amazing as always. I couldn't ask for a better bunch of friends and again, it's another amazing gift from the DWTS and Strictly experience. The tour is broken up into four/ five week stints so the touring isn't too bad, and I have the girls with me which makes it so much easier. Tahyna is writing on the road and producing from the road so we got lucky with timing, and obviously being close to Ireland we got to get home for Echo’s first birthday and christening.
You mentioned in the past how funny the entire cast can be and that there is always a lot of laughter when putting on the shows. Have there been any practical jokes backstage? (please share) What parts of the show itself are your favorites?
The best thing about Mrs. Brown’s Boys is that most of the practical jokes are all onstage so it's hard work in itself to keep the straight face especially when the changes in the script come about! Everyone in the cast at some stage tries to catch each other out. Offstage funny is just funny between the jokes and the tricks. Most definitely, it's the best kind of work you could be lucky enough to do!
It’s been a while since our last Q and A – in November, actually. How was your holiday season and how was your first Christmas as a dad? Now that Echo is a year old, have you been able to keep up with her and is she dancing a Foxtrot yet?
Being a dad is the best experience of my life and the proudest I have ever been. My girl is just the greatest little gem, and I couldn't be happier and prouder of her and obviously Tahyna for bringing her into our lives. Christmas was amazing and every day since has been the same. We couldn't believe it was her birthday already and we hadn't seen the guys here since the Oz tour last year when Tahyna was just about to pop so they have all been great with us. They were super excited to finally meet her, and we are definitely that annoying couple who always talks about their kid-—hahaha. She loves music so no doubt she will be dancing before long as she has just started walking.
It doesn’t take long for news to reach us...we read that you will be dancing with Alana Patience at the ABBA Festival in Australia in May. How did that happen? Any idea what tunes you’ll be dancing to?
I don't know too much about ABBA just yet. Alana is the best. I hadn't seen her in a long, long time. We caught up recently at a mutual friend’s wedding and said we should put some shows together and dust off the cobwebs so this was literally a few days later she asked if I was up for it. I haven't done any since Strictly and am now looking forward to it and who knows after that?!
Do you have any plans to come back over to the states? We are missing you over here.
Ah, who knows? Things change all the time. It wasn't too long that I said I wouldn't ever go back and then a few times over the last couple of years we came close to it, but we have been away for a bit now and concentrating on ourselves and Echo but we would like to come back and spend some time. It all depends on circumstances.
We saw that you were able to attend the semi-finals of DWTS Ireland. What are your thoughts on the show? Did you know most of the pro dancers?
I think it was great what they did with DWTS Ireland. There were a lot of talks and whispers about me doing it and then rumors about why I didn't do it and I heard that I didn't want anything to do with it. As a new show, I think they did great. I think it gives homegrown talent a chance to show what they can do as well as giving future professionals a goal. It doesn't have to be on par with America or the UK or whatever anyone else was expecting. I thought it was produced very well. I thought the pros smashed it, and I'm glad that now we have our own. I wish them all the success for the future.
Speaking of Ireland, did you get to spend some time with your family? How’s Pike doing?
We had a few days at home before the tour started yeah, so that was great. Pike is great—very happy and being well-spoiled and looked after. He didn't like the attention he was losing to Echo but sure, what can you do? Haha.
Now that you’re traveling again, things will probably be different but what are your favorite things to do for fun these days? Have you been doing a bit of dancing?
Yeah, everything has changed these days alright, but for the better. I think I still do most the same things just not as often and for not as long—ha. I haven't been doing any dancing, no, but like I said I needed the break from it and now I may come back into it a bit more with a new perspective again which always does me good every so often—freshens up your head and your attitude.
Now some just plain nosy questions from your fans:
You once said that you get bored just thinking about golf. What about pool? Have you ever tried billiards and are you any good?
Yeah, I used to love playing pool, but I wasn't consistently good, just consistently bad with a dash of amazing trick shots and lucky breaks—haha. Everyone I know seems to love golf, and now the Masters has started. It's all I'm hearing about, but I’m still no closer to getting on the green.
What’s the worst movie you’ve ever seen?
I have seen many, many movies I hope to never see again or wish nothing more than going back in time to erase it from my brain. I just don't want to mention any—hahaha.
Just for laughs, we started a topic on the forum where we ask people to tell us a song that they hope you never have to dance to…..do you have one to add to our growing list? (So far, "Gangnam Style," "Who Let the Dogs Out," "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)," and "Macarena" top the list)
“Whip/Nae Nae”—holy lord have mercy—never, ever, ever.
Is there any chance of you doing another triathlon?
I would like to do another, but to be honest, I still don't understand why once I did that last one, I lost complete motivation after it. I loved it, so I have no clue why. I think I was just drained from everything and that came at the end, but I'm back running now and in the water so who knows.
What is an activity or sport that you have never tried and don't really care to try?
Sumo. I don't like the thought of wearing diapers.
Along those same lines, what is something you have tried and don't want to try again? (could be a sport, food, etc.
Ahahaha! I had a night out with some friends from home a few days ago and when I came back to life the next day i swore I'd never do that again...................I'm an awful liar though.
Other than getting a spray tan, was there ever a time on DWTS or SCD when you thought to yourself “I’m never doing that again!”
At one stage, it was a weekly occurrence to be fair—ha. I said many times before that it really is wherever your head is or, for that matter, wherever my head was when things were suggested or decided that makes me go along with it or switch. Sometimes I have very clear intentions of how I want to do things or how I want to react to things and when I can't make those decisions for myself and I'm told how it's going to go, frustration is my biggest enemy. Sometimes again you need to take a step back and realize you are a piece of a puzzle and either accept it or not. At the time, the unfortunate thing is that it seems like the biggest issue in the world and it really isn't—perspective.
Finally, you’re going to be very busy off and on for the next several months with the tour, but will you getting back to Australia for extended periods of time?
Yes, we will be going back to Sydney and wherever else we need to go between the blocks of weeks where we will tour. I may have a few more shows happening in the UK. and maybe the states over the next while so we will just have to wait and see how it all pans out.
You and Tahyna were the hosts of Elena Samodanova’s Ballroom Superstars Dance Ball on October 22. Would you tell us a little bit about that and how it came together? Do you have plans to do future work with Elena?
Yeah, we did Elena’s show, and we had a blast. It just happened over dinner, to be honest. We were out with the kids, and Elena was talking about the show. We said we would help out however they needed us, and then she asked if we would host it which we were more than happy to do. We are glad we did. We met some great dancers there, and Elena and Alex had put together a great show so you never know - we may do more in the future. At the time, it was just a new show, so it’s always difficult to get going and there are a lot of costs involved. We were happy to help our friends out.
[Note: The following 2 questions regarding Shall We Dance on Ice and any additional time in the U.S. were asked and answered prior to Tristan having to withdraw from the show due to injury.]
You are listed as being one of the professional dancers in Shall We Dance on Ice in Las Vegas in December. That is another incredibly talented cast of performers in music, skating, and dance. Do you have any more details about this yet or do you know what type of rehearsal will be involved prior to the show?
I’m not too sure as yet – still waiting to hear what the plan is, but I’ll be dancing with Chelsie so I’d imagine I will come into town a few days in advance and put some things together and then when we get to Vegas, we will rehearse with the cast and learn the group numbers together. I know one or two of the skaters who I met while dancing with Dorothy but most of them I will be meeting for the first time as they did the show after I had left.
Do you have plans for other performances or teaching while in the states? Will you be staying for a while this time?
No plans, no. I don't think I will be doing any this time round.
First, it was wonderful getting to see you perform again in Dance To the Movies back in August. We loved the cast, concept, and show itself. What did you like about this show? What were the standout numbers for you?
Yes, Dance To the Movies was great. Just like BWAT, the cast are great and so down to earth. I always enjoy spending time with them and I hadn't seen Karina, Chelsie, or Jon for a long time so that was good to catch up. I loved the James Bond numbers because I love the music, but I know Kiki and Magda usually do the section I did and I miss seeing those guys and would have loved to see them do it. The cast had a few new guys I hadn't met before either, and that energy is always great when a new cast comes together.
Do you have any plans to return to the U.S. for the spring tour of Dance To the Movies or are your plans still up in the air at this point? Do you have other things in the works right now?
You never know what’s going to happen, but I have chronic knee pain and slipped discs in my back and neck that flare up so much that the thought of it isn't that appealing to me. I have a job in Sydney I really enjoy so that’s what I am concentrating on at the minute.
A lot of people have asked us about Dancing with the Stars Ireland. Have you been approached about being involved or do you know anything about the structure and similarities/differences to DWTS US and SCD? Would you like to be involved in some way?
Yeah, it’s good that they are finally doing one in Ireland. I was surprised when it was announced as I hadn't heard anything about it until I got messages from Ireland asking about it, and I had been contacted about it later on to be involved but again I have a job that I enjoy here that I had committed to. It would mean leaving that and moving my family again for three months or whatever it is. It’s been a long time since we could actually get settled somewhere, and I absolutely love Sydney. I always wanted to be a part of a show in Ireland but everything has to be right for all parties to make that work. I think the show will do very well, and I'm glad it’s happening and I'm glad it’s giving Irish professionals a platform to show our talent. It really is about time, so I’ll be happy to help out which they know but not in a full time capacity at this stage for that amount of time.
Have you followed what’s going on with the pros and celebrities on DWTS and SCD this year or is it a case of out of sight, out of mind?
I haven't seen too much to be honest, but I’m still in touch with most of the crew on Strictly, and Oti and I talk a lot. I had to reach out to Laura being a Bray head, then obviously with DWTS I talk to Farbs and Emma so I’m delighted he is doing so well but no, I don't watch the show. Tahyna loves it though. I’m sure I never watched it when I was in it myself. HAHAHA
You occasionally performed non-Latin and non-Ballroom dance styles on DWTS/SCD. Have you ever trained in any of these other areas or did you just learn it as you went along?
No, I never trained in any other style. I’m actually surprised you had to ask that – haha! I learned them when I had to, but all these styles I prefer to watch. I don't feel comfortable doing them or really enjoy it too much, but I appreciate people who do and I love to watch anyone do a style they love. The only other style I ever had an interest in really was tap. I never did it, but I love it. The rest I can enjoy as a spectator. I have never had a critical eye, so I can enjoy shows and numbers for what they are. There is nothing worse than people picking out things wrong with something you are enjoying watching. Competition I get is different, but I’m talking generally.
Now for some other general stuff -
If someone knew very little about Irish music/musicians, which artists would you put at the top of your recommended list?
Fiachra Treacy (Columbia Mills)
Not in that order but you should listen to all these guys.
What do you like most about living in Australia?
Everything - the weather, the mentality, my surroundings, my family - I just love it here.
When you haven’t performed or danced for a while, do you miss it and have any desire to get back on stage?
No, I don't - I have had a great time doing what I did, but I don't like to dwell on things. I had a good time at the time, but my knees hate me now, and I’m happy with what is going on. I’ll look back on a lot of it and smile, but I’ll remember it how I do.
You once said that after you do some dances you forget about them and move on. If you had to name 10 performances from DWTS, could you do it?
I’m sure I could remember some numbers but not the actual dances start to finish. Again, it’s one of those things that you remember weird things about them. I would remember moments when Nancy would be looking for a fight - haha - or rightly so proud of herself or when Gladys laughed and cheered me up. I’d remember just sitting and watching Valerie go through everything or Pam deciding what she wanted to do or talking about life, just weird things, certain things we may have talked about - conversations or comments and reactions immediately after each dance or the next day but not so much of the dance itself.
And from a standpoint of pure fun and having a great time, which show (DWTS, SCD, Ballroom With A Twist, Burn the Floor, etc.) best fits that description for you?
Probably little bits of each. They were all at different times in my life. I loved and hated them all at different times for different reasons but I'm glad I experienced them all - certain characters can depend on the day - haha.
You told us a couple of months ago that Echo loves Elmo and Winnie the Pooh. When you were a little guy growing up, did you have any favorite toys?
As a kid, I just loved football. Thats all I remember - playing football and having muck ball fights. I’m sure I had toys that I loved, but I just remember sports.
Now to the most important question of all. You’ve been all over the world and have probably visited lots of Irish pubs. Where were the best ones? (including Ireland)
The best Irish pubs are the ones I was in on that particular night.
Is Pike still living the good life in Ireland?
Pike is the most spoiled animal on the face of the planet - of course he is loving every second of it!
Finally, how’s the family and how much are you enjoying seeing your daughter change every single day?
Being a dad is, to any man, the luckiest and most amazing thing that could ever happen to anyone and to be the father of this particular child and husband to this woman makes me the luckiest of them all.
Tristan will be back in the USA in August for Dance To the Movies at the Patchogue Theatre For the Performing Arts where he will perform with DWTS alums Lacey Schwimmer, Chelsie Hightower, Jonathan Roberts, and Karina Smirnoff. Also appearing will be Academy Award Nominee and everyone's favorite Cinderella Lesley Ann Warren. Tristan took time today for your questions and we know you will enjoy our latest interview (#61 and counting).
First of all, we all hope you enjoyed being back in the states last month and performing in Life’s A Dance. Tell us your survival tips for traveling with an infant. How is your beautiful family?
We got lucky. Echo was just perfect on the flight. We flew at night so she was calm and she was happy so she slept a few hours and then we played with her and changed her a few times but all in all the flight was good. I'd imagine when she gets a little older it will change but for now we don't travel too often so all is good. She is a calm, happy little girl.
You once mentioned that during your time in Burn the Floor you had all kinds of different jobs including operating the spotlights and selling merchandise in the front of the house in San Francisco. If you were put in charge of casting a high-energy show like BTF, what qualities would you look for in the performers?
Yeah, BTF was great times while I was there. I think variety - the standard is so high in the show and the whole process behind it - so standard is never an issue. I just like variety for all shows of any kind. I like people who are different and who don't fit a particular mould. A lot of people style themselves on dancers they like or admire which is fine but I think it's the individuality that works. Generally, all shows try to fill a particular role or tick a certain box. This is the dancer who does the tricks. This person is so fast. This person is the sexy one, the funny one, whatever, instead of just letting everyone be a bit of everything if that makes any sense. Maybe I can't explain it properly or the way I want to. I did all those jobs at the time because I wanted so much to be involved and was happy to just be there.
We all know you’re a big football fan but if you were back in the states, which of these major sporting events would you most like to see in person? The World Series, the Super Bowl, or the NBA Championship?
Most probably the NBA. I like all the sports there but I just find baseball for the most part is too long with little happening, haha. I don't want to offend anyone but maybe it's just the games I have been to. Super Bowl would be cool but, to be honest, it seems to be more about the halftime shows and adverts these days. I do like the game itself though and basketball is cool. I just think that all these sports are getting too far away from reality just like soccer with all the money involved that it's hard to relate to it anymore. I like to watch it all and I enjoy going to games but I'm happy watching it at home with some friends. The year I moved to Boston they dominated most sports that year so it was great to be around it and I'd go watch the Celtics and the Revolution play a fair bit.
Speaking of football, you tweeted a lot about Ireland competing in Euro 2016. Share some of your favorite moments from that – and did you get to watch a lot of it live?
I watched most of the games. I was afraid I'd miss the Ireland and Belgium game because I was flying but the game was playing on Fox on the plane so I got to see it. I wish I missed it now - we got hammered!! I watched most of the games though. They were on 11pm, 2am, and 5am here but the baby was waking up a lot so it worked. Ha!
Be a little kid again. Who is your favorite cartoon character?
I watch Winnie the Pooh now and Elmo. They make Echo smile so they are my favorites.
Two basic questions from forum member, Katie: What do you like most about dancing? What do you like least about dancing?
I like the way dancing makes people happy and I like that it makes people want to move themselves. I don't like how competitive it is or when people don't want to do it because they are afraid of being made to feel like they are bad at it.
In the past you’ve told us what you think is important when teaching and learning certain dances, but the one we never asked you about is Salsa. What’s the most important thing to know about this dance?
Remember that the best salsa dancers don't rely on their technique. They listen to the music and let their bodies do the rest. It's about the rhythm and the music.
Obviously the DWTS/SCD days are done, but this question came up anyway. If you had complete control over any and all of your costumes for any performance, what are some things you would insist on never wearing?
Skinny pants, see through shirts, diamond encrusted anythings. Compulsory shirt wearing is a must and no bandanas or glitter.
Finally, are you still planning to do Dance To the Movies in Patchogue in August? Lots of your supporters are planning to make the trip so I’m warning you ahead of time. Assuming you are still performing in this, are there any planned rehearsals or will it all come together once you arrive in Patchogue? Do you have any other shows or performances between now and then? Do you have plans to get back to Ireland soon?
I’Il be in Patchogue, yes. I haven't done or seen his show yet so I am looking forward to it. I may be in LA for a few days beforehand to learn what I can. I'm not sure which other shows, if any, I will be doing. I'm figuring out what I want to do, to be honest, so for now it suits me to do a show now and again and take some breaks from full time dancing.
From March 25-April 22, 2016, this website forum ran a contest and our winner, Eva, got to interview Tristan. Eva is a relatively new member of our website but she has been a Tristan MacManus supporter for quite some time. Below you will find the contest prompts and her winning answers along with a lovely message that Tristan sent along for her. After that, enjoy her interview with our favorite dancer.
Contest prompts with Eva's winning responses.
1. Tell us why you want to be the person doing this interview.
"Consider it my vacation since I'm usually taking are of my twin babies 24/7."
2. Share 1 Tristan memory.
"This comment from one of his recent interviews. 'You don't have to do anything to earn respect. It should be a given - - YOU RESPECT PEOPLE! That's the end of it!! You need a reason to lose respect or someone but not to have it. I have had a few issues with people's opinions on respect and what respect is. You treat people with respect by being a decent human being - not by telling everybody how much you respect people or showing symbols or giving money or whatever it is once a year. Look people in the eye, shake their hands, and ask them about themselves and their families.' "
3. Give a 5 word description of Tristan or something Tristan-related.
"He isn't just a dancer."
Message from Tristan
Thank you for taking the time to ask these questions and congratulations on the kids. I’m sure they don't know how lucky they are to have you there 24/7. I wish you health and happiness and hope that the answers entertained you as much as the questions did me.
All the best - Slainte
You said in an earlier interview that some of your favorite dances are the slower ones like Waltz and Rumba. But which of the faster dances do you enjoy performing the most?
I do prefer the slower, laid back dances but I can enjoy some of the faster ones as well. It mainly depends on the songs though and the concept. I don't prefer too many any more or less than another. I like rhythm changes and I like fast pace just like I do when I’m running or training. I like Paso and I like Swing.
A couple of years ago you told us 5 places that someone visiting Ireland might want to see. Now that you are spending so much time in Australia, what are some places that you think are especially interesting there?
I don't know this place as much as Ireland but there are a lot of amazing places here. For years, I used to relate a lot to Melbourne. It was in my head a lot more like Dublin but, to be honest, I love Sydney and I never really took to it before. I haven't spent any time up in Queensland but I have it on the radar and the Northern Territory. I couldn't give you any tourist tips on this place but you can't beat the weather!
You have mentioned several times that you might enjoy taking on hosting responsibilities on television or elsewhere. One of the best in the business is your friend Tom Bergeron. What did you learn from being around him?
Tom is the ultimate, yeah. He is just so good at what he does. He has this amazing balance that obviously makes him unique, and I would imagine any show on any channel in any country would love to have a Tom Bergeron. I don't know if you can teach that but you watch someone just be so smooth and natural and in a second make some words into their own. It’s just amazing and fascinating at the same time.
The Summer Olympics are coming up this year. Which of the sports from the summer games most interest you? Do you have favorite athletes that you hope will be competing?
I love watching the Olympics but I wouldn't watch every event and I don't mean to belittle any of them by saying that. Obviously the football is a favourite and Katie Taylor winning the boxing again is how highly we rate her - we almost expect her to win and we certainly all push for her to. Swimming is always good - tennis, triathlon, egg and spoon race, sprinting - I love it all.
Speaking of the Olympics, you mentioned in one interview that it might be fun to recreate Cool Runnings with an Irish bobsled team. Since it is a Summer Olympics year, which sport do you think might best suit you in your quest for Olympic glory?
I don't know if any of them would suit me but I’d love to give the boxing a go. I’d end up on the stretcher before the podium though, I reckon. Some of those Olympians are just beasts - and my frustrating triathlon career - haha. In all honesty though, to represent your country in anything is the pinnacle of your career whether it’s the biggest country in the world or the smallest. It’s always yours and you get to clench your fists and blow out your chest and wail out those lyrics to your country’s anthem with tears in your eyes and make yourself seven feet. It’s absolutely unreal.
Last year you competed in a triathlon and were in training for the Ironman 70.3 Dublin in August, but your work commitments kept you from competing. Are you doing any training now, and do you have plans to compete in another triathlon in the future?
I am training, yeah, but not specifically for a triathlon. My time is pretty thin at the minute with everything that is going on but I try to keep as active as I can day to day. I’d love to do another triathlon. I absolutely loved the discipline in the training I was doing when I had almost all day long free. I want to get back into swimming which I haven't done in a while but I have been running a lot. I recently sold my bike so that’s off for the time being.
Are you getting the chance to play any football these days?
No, I haven't got back to football yet but I’m loving AFL over here so I may get involved there when everything here settles down in a bit. I had reached out to a local team here to play but everything got hectic then for a while and I’d hate to show up every other time and not be able to fully commit to it.
In past interviews you mentioned you had several ideas for DWTS/SCD performances but were holding onto those in case you actually got to use them. Now that you’re not currently on either show could you share a few of those ideas? (or perhaps you’ll be using them for future projects?)
Yeah, there are a few I’d have loved to do. I wanted to use “Is This Love” by Corinne Bailey Rae. It’s a cover of Bob Marley but it got vetoed and also "Sesame Street". I’ve wanted that one for a long time and it never gets passed for some reason. I like nostalgic ones that I guess the shows feel won't fit well. On the bigger scale I always wanted to do a Labyrinth themed number or one from Willow. I just think it would have been class - in my head anyway. My biggest disappointment though is still from last season as soon as I got Jamelia I knew what I wanted for Halloween but it got rejected and I was so disappointed about it – haha. I wanted to use “Scream” by Michael and Janet Jackson and I had all these hologram and trapdoors and dance breaks for it but they already had an MJ song they wanted to use. I also wanted “Hallelujah I Love Her So” by Ray Charles but, hey, sometimes you get it and sometimes you don't. But I’d have loved to use those songs and still wanted to do my Beetlejuice but it’s been used now and nobody wants to use songs that have already been done.
You’ve stressed the importance of not only teaching but always being willing to learn as well. What did you learn when touring with “Good Mourning, Mrs. Brown”? Did you get any acting tips? Do you have any other acting gigs planned? We would all love to see more!
Mrs Brown’s Boys was amazing. I absolutely loved every minute of touring with those guys but I was spoiled with how well the family treat you there, and the cast were unreal with me. I’d love to be a Brown Boy and as much fun as it was, I don't know if acting in general would be as fun as that experience was. I’d give it a go for sure if there was an opportunity but generally when you are asked to do stuff now a lot of people feel it needs to be dance related somehow so it can be quite limiting in what you get offered. I’d like to do a little more so maybe in the future I can do something.
Obviously you have a lot going on in your life right now, but the past few years have been times of almost non-stop performing, teaching, and DWTS/SCD and other commitments. Do you miss the hectic schedule and nearly constant travel?
No, to be honest. This is all pretty new to me at the minute - this little change and shift in life - but I’m loving it. I like not worrying about having to leave my wife and life behind me for a few days here and there or months on the road and not being able to put some roots down. There are more worries I guess now in what I can work at and what I am going to do career-wise in a new country where I don't know anybody but I’m loving everything at the minute and enjoying time in my own house with my family and knowing I don't have to up and leave any time soon.
We did a recent survey on the website about favorite decades of music, and the overwhelming winner was the 1980s. You love all kinds of music, but which decade of music is your favorite overall?
Yeah, the 80s are pretty amazing- haha - but it's a fine balance between amazing and terrible. 80s rock and I guess 60/70s Motown are my favorites. Michael Jackson, I think, wins all decades though.
Things stay very busy on the website, and another survey gave the list of current Broadway musicals and we were asked to pick the 4 that we thought you would be most suited for. The results are 1) Something Rotten 2) Kinky Boots 3) On Your Feet 4) Disaster! Which do you think you would be most suited for?
I’m not really up on musicals to be honest at the minute so I couldn't say about those but I do know Kinky Boots - great show - but I’m interested to know what role you guys see me suiting – hahaha. I own boots but there is nothing kinky or red about them.
Speaking of Broadway, you once mentioned that you would love to perform there. Obviously you have other considerations now and your family takes priority, but if you had the opportunity to do something in the theatre and that wouldn’t take a lot of time away from your family would you like to give it a try?
I’d still love to do something on stage for sure but it doesn't have to be Broadway. I think that ship has sailed and I’m very content with that. I think maybe something quite dark would be fun to play on stage.
We know you had a small part in Ella Enchanted and you mentioned that the whole auditioning process might deter you from acting, but if you could walk into a movie role, which role or type of role would it be?
I’d like to do something historical. I love movies like that or documentaries where you can actually learn about something that happened and portray someone who actually made a difference. Besides that, I’d love to be Rocky – hahaha. You look at all the training that the guys go through for films like that for months on end. You literally get paid to be trained to look like a beast and then you get fit and you walk away counting your money and in great shape - double bonus. I wanna play Thor and I want Sasha [Farber] to play Ironman to make him happy.
You have said many times that you are not just a dancer and while it is part of your life, it’s certainly not everything or even the most important thing. You seem to stay grounded throughout all the ups and downs of life as a dancer. We always like to look at the positives. What have been some of the highs to your performing career thus far?
Everything I have done has been a highlight to be honest. I had some amazing ups and some pretty devastating lows, but I’m very happy with what I have done and I’m very happy to walk away from it all as well. I have met some amazing people along the way and I have met some terrible people who everyone spends their everyday trying to impress and get justification from. I could have done a lot better and achieved a lot more in some people’s eyes if I had been a lot more committed but at the same time I could have been a lot more miserable. I worked hard to get to a point and found that it’s not all its made out to be. I look at people on the shows I have been part of and get inspired by their commitment and dedication to dancing and think I want to find the thing that gives me that satisfaction and I hope that others with that same drive get a chance to do the show and see if it gives them what they are looking for. I think some people have confused me leaving the shows with me not liking the shows, and that’s wrong. It’s just not for me.
With your gift of gab, we think you would make a spectacular bartender. How about giving us your signature drink and naming it?
I’m a ROB ROY guy! I went through a phase of only drinking Rob Roys and I loved it usually by the end of the night I couldn't remember what it was called so it usually had multiple names..........but I’m mature now..........I don't drink cocktails. A great quote from The Quiet Man is "when I drink whiskey I drink whiskey and when I drink water I drink water". Michaleen was a wise man – haha.
If you were to create a motto or slogan that describes your approach to life, what would it say?
Don’t worry about what might happen and don't worry about what is happening - just what you are going to do about it!
You appeared on stage in many different shows, and you have worked with many of your Burn the Floor castmates on SCD and DWTS. Do you keep up with any of the other dancers and performers from your earlier shows such as Burn the Floor, Dirty Dancing, Simply Ballroom, etc.?
I keep in touch with the ones I liked – hahaha. I always look out for everyone and hope that they are doing well and happy with where they are. Just like any job or any environment some people put their goals before their relationships and will pull some David Copperfield tricks to steal your underpants which is cool but it’s not for me. I like the same people when I’m doing well and when I’m not doing so good and I don't forget who helped me along the way. I have friends from before I had any of these shows and I have friends who worked behind the scenes on these shows and I have some best friends from the shows. I wouldn't change any of my friends in the world, but I can take or leave some of the people I have met though – haha.
Finally, your life has changed so much over the last few years and 2016 has been a big year already. How do you like being a Dad?
It’s the most important and best thing that has ever happened to me. Whatever I have been through and did in my life - right or wrong - I ended up with the most amazing wife and daughter in the world.
Tristan is in the final three weeks of the Good Mourning, Mrs. Brown Australia/New Zealand Tour and took time today for our questions. Continue reading to find out the latest news and updates. As always, Tristan's humor, candor, and humility are truly refreshing.
We have seen the occasional photo of you with the cast and crew of Good Mourning, Mrs. Brown. Are you still doing the tour as it winds down and have there been any especially memorable moments?
Yeah, I’m still doing the tour. Only three weeks to go now - one in Perth and two in New Zealand. It’s been real fun and I will miss it when it finishes, but it’s been great. Everything is memorable about it. The cast are great. People have really taken me on board and looked after me there. Every show is great and every night Agnes makes me laugh on stage so the struggle is getting through the lines without laughing....it’s that way for everyone in every scene though.
We did a survey on the website and had close to a thousand responses about which of your dances with your celebrity partners were our favorites. Here are the results. Any surprises on this list? Your supporters seem to remember every dance and could talk about them all day.
1. Cha Cha with Gladys - "Best Of My Love"
2. Contemporary with Dorothy - "Tiny Dancer"
3. Foxtrot with Nancy - "Always Look On the Bright Side of Life"
4. Waltz with Valerie in Finale - "What A Wonderful World"
5. Charleston with Jamelia - "Straight Up"
6. Samba with Gladys - "Fiebre"
7. Quickstep with Jamelia - "I'm A Believer"
8. Foxtrot with Valerie - "Some Kind of Wonderful"
9. Foxtrot with Gladys - "Cupid"
10. Tango with Nancy - "The Naughty of Shady Lane"
11. Waltz with Jenny - "Natural Woman"
That’s nice. You forget what numbers you have done before and that was a nice surprise. I liked the dance with Gladys the best probably as well. That was one of my favourite seasons. I think with Valerie's “Carry On” sticks out, and I knew in my head after that dance that I wasn't going to come back.
You have answered a lot of our questions about learning and education in the past and here is an interesting one we recently received. If you could be a teacher of anything besides dance, what would it be?
There isn't anything else I’d be able to teach - haha - but I love History. Maybe PE. I think that’s really important for kids to do in school for social skills and mainly for health reasons.
We haven’t heard much about little Pike lately? Is he still around stirring up trouble?
Pikey is great. He is back in Ireland with my folks having the time of his life. He loves it there, and we are travelling so much that it’s not right to be dragging him around everywhere. He is very happy and probably too comfortable with his life in Ireland – haha.
Being a professional dancer definitely has its ups and downs. Generally speaking, what do you see as the highs and lows of your job? Does the uncertainty of the profession ever bother you or do you just accept it for what it is?
Yeah, there is an uncertainty with the profession but only if you limit yourself to the things you want to do. There is uncertainty whether you are gonna be on a tv show or not, but you can still be a dancer and you can still do shows and you can still take class and earn a living from it. The tv shows aren't the be all and end all of everything. You probably just earn more that way. I accept the way it is because the majority of people who do it get it. Take Maks and Val. They capitalize on the fact that they are on the show to make their own show or shows and make opportunities for their crowd to be able to work all year round. You just have to decide what you want to do. For me in a way it’s the same as everything else. Do you want to be a dancer or you want to be a famous dancer??! Do you want to be an actor or you want to be a famous actor?! Do you actually want to do something or do you want people to know what you do? It’s all perspective. I enjoy being a dancer, but it’s only a part of my life. It’s not everything.
Have you ever wondered what goes on in the website forum to get us to 1 million views? (Or do you assume it is insanity – or lunacy – at work)
People are always posting everything from the website to me, so I see a lot of things and the pictures are always a nice surprise but I’ve no doubt missed the bulk of all the work you guys put in and the banter between you all that no doubt is what has people coming back more than what I’m doing.
Also, there have been a lot of questions about Ballroom With A Twist and Dancing With the Movies here in the states. Do you currently have any plans to be in any of those shows later this spring and summer?
I have heard great things about the new show and maybe later in the year I may do some but right now I have a lot of stuff going on that needs my undivided attention, and I’m putting all thoughts of what’s next out of my head for a bit. I’m very happy where I am working at the minute and very content.
The question everyone is asking - Do you know if you will be coming back to Strictly?
No, I won't be going back. I think over the time I have been there I have realized more and more that it is not for me. I think the show needs someone a lot different to me on the show to get what they want, and I need something a lot different to make me happy and get what I want out of it. I think there will be a lot of changes on the show, and I have enjoyed it for the most part but right now I just need a break from it all. This kind of goes hand in hand with the other question in that you can do whatever it is you want to do but when you have to start doing things you don't, then you have to decide if it’s for you or not. You can be a dancer or you can be a dancer on a tv show and with that comes a whole other bag. It can be fun, but I’d sooner leave it as it is then spend all my time complaining about it.
Since July, 2012, we have interviewed Tristan 68 times and each is posted here with the most recent first. All interviews are posted elsewhere on this website, including our forum.