This interview took place one week before the Season 15 premiere of DWTS.
Now that you have had a couple of weeks of rehearsals with Pamela, what do you see as her strengths?
Pam is great. We haven’t had as much practice as we would have liked. The first week Pam was away for half of it in Europe and then away for Rio, where finding time to rehearse was very tough. Now she is in Bulgaria for a few days. Her strengths are that she really wants to do the show and that she is great at retaining information. That’s so important when you have a lack of something - time in our case. When you get a second shot at the show you have something to base your experience on. You can decide what you didn’t do the last time that you want to do this time or how to mentally prepare yourself for performances. Her biggest strength is that she is Pam before, during, and after.
One of the members of our website was curious about what a typical day of rehearsal is like. Or is there a typical day?
We don’t really have a typical day. We rehearse away from everybody else, generally early mornings for maybe five or six hours. The balancing act is I think what people find hard sometimes - it’s not just about finding the time to rehearse but it’s really being productive on your time. You can rehearse intensely for three/four hours, physically just power through running the dance and working yourself into the ground, and you can take in huge amounts of information after information - which Pam is great at. You have to be careful that it’s not counter-productive. If you have done that, it’s impossible to stay in five, six, seven hours a day. What I always always get from Pam though is total and utter commitment and attention but also entertainment. We are fighting not just against finalists and champions but also against a large unforgiving population that no matter what she does will have a negative attitude towards her so to have the strength of character she has to want to better herself is very inspiring to me not just as a dancer and teacher but as a person.
You once said that you like to tell a story with every dance. How is it that you are able to consistently weave a storyline into your choreography, and how do you even come up with the story you want to tell?
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 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 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.
Tell us what we can expect to see from you and Pamela this season or perhaps just from DWTS All-Stars in general.
I don’t know what you guys can expect - maybe just some honest people trying to have a good time. We will work as hard if not harder than anybody else without playing 'the games' that go along with a lot of this stuff. The trophy is a bonus but it’s not the goal - the goal is to push ourselves and try and inspire others to try something new, give something another chance, close a door on something, make a tough decision, take a break whatever it is you want to do and feel that choice is for everyone. Don’t fit in, stand out, be different - there is a place for everyone in everything.
During the DWTS season you have so many commitments that you probably rarely have time to relax. Is there anything you like to do to relax when there are so many demands on your time?
There is a lot to do. I don’t find it too hard to relax. I can shut off to a certain degree but I know sometimes as well that I dwell on things but that is purely the thought inside that I may not be doing enough to help my partners or giving them the right tools to fully express themselves. I’m comfortable being around friends all the time but sometimes I just need to be on my own doing nothing- watch the football, stuff my face with food- when I eat I think of nothing else – hahaha! That usually works - turn on the food channel and I’m good for a few hours! Hahaha!
Do you ever get nervous before a performance, and if so, how do you calm your nerves?
I don’t get nervous anymore. I used to alright during stage shows and stuff. I’d go missing for a bit and right as the music started I’d burst back in the room with a pale face and just run straight on stage. I don’t know what it was. I think it was the adrenaline taking over or wanting to do so well that it got the best of me. With a show like this though I’m fine. It’s my role to be the shoulder or the go-to guy so that calms me. I spend time convincing my partners it’s a doddle what they are doing and that it will be fine. The last thing they want to see is me walking in circles around the trash cans crying!!!
Finally, is there anything you want to say to the supporters of both you and Pamela as you get ready to begin Season 15?
Just want to say thanks for the incredible support you guys give us. Some have already jumped on with thoughts that schedule is taking over and that there is a lack of commitment but I can tell you now it’s certainly not the case. We will do the best job we can. We won’t complain. We won’t look for excuses. If we are good enough we will stay around. If not we will go but not before making some sort of impact. So thank you thank you. Enjoy the ride because we will.
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.