Enjoy this fun Q and A, and for those of you who remember our “Tristan Answers Almost Anything” interview from a few weeks ago , we also sent him a few bonus questions.
What did you like most about Season 17? What did you like least about Season 17?
I loved meeting Valerie and I loved watching Emma and Sasha do so well on their first go round. I know how much they really wanted to get their chance and to see them both excel was a very proud moment for me so they were definitely a highlight. I don’t remember what I didn’t like about it to be honest - I know there were things but I can’t remember anymore!!
We’ve recently learned that Harold Wheeler and his orchestra as well as the singers will not return for Season 18. Do you have any special memories of working with them? What did you enjoy most? What will you miss the most?
Yeah, I just read that the other day, and I have reached out to a few of the singers who I really like. It’s such a shame and I’m disappointed but I don’t know the reasons behind it and won’t really have an opinion on the new structure until we see or hear how it’s gonna play out. I think the singers and band are as big a part of the show as the dancers and celebrities and I think it will be a huge loss but unfortunately, just like us, everyone and every idea is replaceable. I hope that everyone moves on to bigger and better things and maybe it’s a blessing in disguise for some. Time will tell, I guess.
Had you ever been to the Caribbean prior to the two January Holland America Dancing With the Stars: At Sea cruises, and did you get to see much of the area?
No, I had never been. It was always one of those places that people usually say they would love to go but I never knew half the names of the islands. I didn’t get to see too much to be honest. I had a lot to do on my off time but I for sure got a day or two off and saw some sights. The cruises are great and the cast on them make it so enjoyable.
Tell us about the DWTS: At Sea Champions Cruise. We have seen video of most of your performances, and we noticed a new Foxtrot with Sharna to “Fever.” How long did it take you and Sharna to put that together?
Myself and Shaz put that together in the early hours of the night before. It was a last minute inclusion to give us more to do and was great fun. I never saw the video - I hope it wasn’t the one where I fell on my arse. The boat decided to jump a bit and pulled a shifty on me!
What did you think of the competition on the Champions Cruise? How did you like being a judge?
I was surprised with the level of the dancers on the cruise - they were super good. There was a great Tango that I saw and a lot of other fun routines. The judging was great craic - the Cruise Director was funny also so I had a bit of banter with him.
Also, Holland America is now promoting six new DWTS cruises for later in 2014, and you, Kym, Carson, and Sabrina are listed as scheduled performers. Are you still planning to be on board these cruises?
Yeah, at the moment we are signed up for them so the plan is to do them for sure. Things change very quickly in this game so they may replace me by that time - who knows - but for sure I’d like to be involved.
In a recent Twitter Q and A, Val was asked which DWTS pro was the funniest off-camera. Guess who he said? (You!) So tell us. Who do you think is the funniest DWTS pro off-camera?
Sasha! I spend most of my time with him to be honest. Everyone has their funny moments though but consistently Sash is a funny fella and his sense of humour and personality keep me entertained mostly when I am just observing him! Hahaha!
You’ve seen lots of celebrities in your seasons on DWTS. Which one do you feel has been the most impressive – start to finish? (regardless if he or she won or not)
Not too sure - maybe Kellie Pickler. She was quality real sweet girl - funny and talented. I really liked Ricki Lake and Sherri Shepherd. Leah Remini is a great girl as well. Bar my own partners she was the most real and solid person I met. I’m sure I’ve missed a lot of people who I liked - I don’t remember the dancing.
If you could do any performance on DWTS that was choreographed by another pro, which pro's choreography would you choose, and why?
I don’t know to be honest. Choreographing for pros is a lot different than the show so with some I haven’t really seen much but they are all great so I’m sure none would let us down. A lot of people choreograph based on their own styles, I feel. Derek has such amazing ideas and they are always so diverse that you don’t usually look at it and say ‘that’s Derek’s’ if you know what I mean. He is someone I know could choreograph to anyone’s style and always pulls it out of the bag. Val is a great choreographer as well. Some people are great at doing competitive numbers, some are better at doing showcase numbers, and some are great at doing interpretive. It all depends on what you like to see.
Similarly, if you were choreographing a group dance on DWTS and could pick the pros for the performance who would you choose?
Ah, I don’t know it would all depend on the number but I’m sure Emma would be one of the first names on the list. I think she is unbelievable and so versatile.
Do you have a particular workout regimen during the DWTS off-season?
None. I usually take the break when I can and then cram at the last minute to get myself somewhat respectable. Everyone wants to be ripped and cut; I just want to do a bit of dancing.
You do a lot of traveling. Do you ever find it difficult adjusting to the schedules and the time changes?
No. Time schedules are grand but you get sick of moving sometimes. It’s like you can’t sit down for a second. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a great problem to have but sometimes you want your own bed and be able to make plans with your friends and actually be around to see what’s going on! I don’t like not having time to see where I am. You get to travel a lot but sometimes you are just in a building all day long and then do one show so you could really be anywhere - that’s why it’s frustrating sometimes. Everyone we meet is always so nice but you fly, you go indoors, then you fly again.
There have been reports of Len and possibly Bruno leaving DWTS at some point due to the difficult travel each week during the fall season. What would you think about an eliminated pro returning each week to take over one of the judging spots? Which pro or pros do you think would be the best judges? Do you think the pros can be objective when judging teams from a season in which he or she competed?
You would have to ask the pros that. I’m sure everyone would say yes but when it hits the fan you might see something different. I don’t mind the idea but I also like the idea of someone with no dance experience giving a different opinion on what they see. Sometimes people just want to talk about how knowledgeable they are and sometimes you just want a straight opinion – I liked it because of this or I didn’t like it as much as that because it didn’t make me smile not because your legs weren’t straight and your arms didn’t dislocate because you didn’t stretch enough! You can be objective if you don’t take it so serious or personal for sure.
You were Dance Captain for Dirty Dancing. That must have a been a lot of responsibility and likely gave you a broader perspective as to what overall production entails. Would you tell us what that job was like and what responsibilities you had?
Dirty Dancing was great craic. I was the Ballroom Dance Captain so I was supposed to be teaching the ensemble and actors how to do the ballroom. I got to help some but not as much as I would have liked and I wasn’t allowed to make any changes (which annoyed me) to choreography. Some of the actors had been in the show a few years so they did what they did and left it at that. I would have liked to re-choreograph it to suit everyone in it better. Dirty Dancing The Musical is the same as the movie; you don’t change lines and you don’t change anything....at all haha. The cast were the best people I ever met. We honestly all got on great with each other so I miss it a lot sometimes and I’m am still in touch with the majority of them. I was more responsible for the morale in the end – haha. Seriously though I had to clean numbers and if someone was sick I had to make sure the swings (covers) knew where to be and what to do.
In one of your venues for Ballroom With a Twist last summer you performed on a circular stage. How did you have to adapt the dancing for that?
Yeah. It was tough enough but great though. I like having everyone all around but you always have your back to somebody. It was tough because it was so dark and there was only one ramp exit off the stage so when you have been spinning and turning to keep everyone involved for the whole dance finding the way off in the dark was very amusing. We tried to catch each other out and send someone off to the far end until the lights came back on. Haha!
Speaking of Ballroom With A Twist, we understand you will be in Fort Collins, Colorado (February 6-8), Bismarck, North Dakota (February 17) and Sioux Falls, South Dakota (February 18). Are there any we are missing?
No, that’s it at the moment.
Finally, there have been many wonderful dance films made. Which, in your opinion, is particularly brilliant?
I don’t actually like dance films but Anchors Aweigh is probably my favourite. I’ve never seen Singing In The Rain - I never hear the end of that!! The dancing is always good in the movies but usually the story is always the same. Good luck to the people in them - I just don’t really watch them. I’m sure there are good ones out there but I just don’t have an interest in seeing them.
Now for the fun "bonus" questions...
If you could sit down to dinner with any 5 people throughout history, who would it be?
Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole, Oliver Reed, Richard Burton, James Dean. That would be a great night out.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what would be the five things (not including the bare essentials such as food, shelter, water, etc) that you would like to have with you?
The wife, the whiskey, music, hammock, sunscreen
In our last interview, you told us your favorite foods, but there has to be something you despise. What is it?
Tuna, Coriander, Oysters
If you could create a cocktail that featured Jameson whiskey, what would you put in it and what would you call it?
Just ice -if anything - and call it “The Good Stuff”
If you were offered a lead in a major film, but you would be required to cut off all your hair, would you do it?
Yes, but it depends on the purpose of cutting my hair off - not that I wouldn’t do it but I’d look weird I’d say with no hair, but sure I’d give it a bash. It would always grow back........I hope.
Finally, since it’s an Olympic year, if you could participate in any winter Olympic event, what would it be?
I’d be a great snowball thrower! Cool Runnings has won me over. I’d be on the Irish bobsled team and we would get everyone those t shirts and make them all kiss the egg.
Since July, 2012, we have interviewed Tristan 67 times and in honor of our website forum reaching 1 million views in February, 2016, we decided to bring them all back beginning with the first one. We hope you enjoy this very special feature. All interviews are posted elsewhere on this website, including our forum.