First of all, congratulations on heading over to the UK for Strictly Come Dancing in the fall. We know that the show doesn’t start until September, but do you know yet when you will be going? Is this something that has been in the works for a while? How did it all come about?
Thanks! I’m looking forward to it. Yeah, we have been looking for a solution for the last few months to see what we could do as I have wanted a fresh start for a while now. Luckily with Rob [Wade] coming in to replace Conrad [Green] he was gracious enough to sort out a move for me but it was only finalized a few days ago right before it was announced so it was touch and go whether it was going to happen or not for a bit. I managed to let my ma know before the papers came out in the mornin'. I got to the point where my head was already made up that I needed a change with regards to what I wanted to do, and I’m happy that Strictly and DWTS could come to an arrangement.
You have some friends already who are pros on SCD, so you must be looking forward to seeing them again. You’ve worked with Robin Windsor in Burn the Floor but have you met and/or worked with the other pros previously?
Yeah, I know the majority of the cast from different shows we have done together but there are a few that I haven't met before but I’m looking forward to it. There is a pretty big BTF contingent on the show just like DWTS, and I used to dance with Karen Hauer before and myself and Aljaz roomed together for a wee bit.
Do you have a favorite Robin Windsor story?
I have known Bobby a fierce long time but I won't be going into stories before I even start the gig - haha! He is a great guy though, and I am looking forward to working with him again.
We have been fortunate here in the U.S. to see video of almost all performances on SCD and, of course, we can’t wait to see you on the dance floor again. In what ways do you see SCD as being very different from (or similar to) DWTS?
To be honest I’m not too sure of many differences at all, and I probably won't until I’m in the middle of it. People love making comparisons about the shows here and there but honestly I don't know anything about it yet – not enough to compare, I guess. Lenny and Bruno are there and Brucie is gone this season so I’m sure everyone is excited about the new start. Cast changes are always tough for people to take so some will be excited and unfortunately some will be disappointed but I’m looking forward to the new challenge. As far as I know or from what I have heard is that it’s a little more traditional Ballroom and not so much themes but sure ya never know what is gonna change. I’m just happy to be starting.
You’re a pretty easy going guy, and your “it is what it is” approach seems to have served you well. Do you anticipate any big adjustments as you transition from DWTS to SCD?
No, I won't be changing. I still think no matter where you are the same is the same - people just want to dance and want to have fun which I’m looking forward to so in those terms nothing will change. My teaching and objectives will depend on who I get partnered with as always, but I’ll still be myself. Again, people always have their favorites so some might just not take to me and hopefully some will but I’m glad that my family and friends have an opportunity to swing across the pond for a few days now.
What are you most looking forward to on SCD? (This comes from a fan from the UK who watches SCD religiously)
I’m looking forward to just enjoying the ride really. I know how much the audience love the show there and that’s something that excites me. I can tell already how excited family and friends are getting and that gives me a great buzz, and the support for the show is immense there. There are a lot of English dancers there who will get the home support going, and I'm looking forward to hopefully getting the Irish behind me – haha! I’m looking forward to the banter there more than anything else. Swell though London is a cool place, and I have a lot of friends there who I haven't seen in a fair while.
You will be so much closer to your family and friends. Do you have any big plans in the works?
No big plans, no. I have a job to focus on, and that will be my priority for the next few months. I’m sure I will have a few knocks on the door every weekend with different folks coming over to stay.
Will your addition to the SCD cast have any effect on your scheduled appearances for the summer? (the cruises, Dance Temptation in August, etc.)
No. I have a crazy busy couple of months to go now but literally everything runs into everything. I do the DWTS cruises and then go straight to Canada to do Dance Temptation and then fly straight in to rehearsals in London for Strictly until mid-December. I’m really excited so I won't be complaining. I’m lucky I get to work so much at the minute so I’ll keep going until the body gives up.
If Dance Temptation is still on your schedule, could you tell us what you can about the show and what kind of rehearsal will be involved? What is the idea behind the show?
Dance Temptation is Alec Mazo and Edyta Sliwinska’s show and it’s happening in Fallsview Casino in Toronto. I’m going to dance with Peta in the show which is always great craic. We do a few solos and a few group numbers with the rest of the cast. I’ve never done it before but it sounds like its gonna be good fun. It’s a usual theatre schedule so we will do an 8 show week. Myself and Pete are working together at the minute when we can because we are both flat out so it’s a case of getting in the studio when we can and get as much done as early as possible as we are both away more than we are here between now and the show.
You’ve already done several of the Holland America DWTS: At Sea cruises. With the first coming up in a couple of weeks, will there be any changes to the actual production such as new numbers, performers, etc.? Will you be rehearsing in advance or will that all take place once you get on the ship?
We are gonna be rehearsing on the cruise the few days before the actual show – yeah, that’s the usual gig in it. I think some of us are doing different numbers. I’m not sure the run of the show yet because I don't know who is doing it, but the cruises will be different. I just don't know how different and what if any changes there will be. We have a blast on the cruise so if it changes it changes, and if it doesn’t we will be having some great craic anyway!!
Now on to different topics....
You’ve been doing lots of different things since you’ve been away from DWTS, but is there one particular memory or event (other than your wonderful wedding, of course!) that stands out for you?
I have been working on a lot of different things the last few months but with stuff like this no matter how close you are nothing is set until you start which can be very frustrating! I have been following up my hosting doing courses and coatings which I love and working on the movie with the wife which we are very proud of. And as well we have had a lot of causes we have been helping out so busy busy, but hopefully everything comes together in its own time, and all the hard work will pay off for us.
Let’s suppose we (the MacManiacs) asked you for a quick travel guide to Ireland. What five places are all “must-sees”? Don’t worry – we’re not going to show up. This is purely hypothetical.
Glendalough is my favorite place in all Ireland so definitely there (in Co. Wicklow).
Cliffs Of Moher in Co. Clare are unreal.
Giants Causeway is up north in Antrim.
Galway and Cork are great places to go.
The Gaeltacht on the west coast is great in Connemara.
On Andy Steinhauser’s radio show in March you renamed us “MacLunatics.” We like it, by the way. Was there any particular inspiration behind that name or did it just seem like a natural fit?
No, there was nothing in it. It’s like everything else - I get great support from people which is great. Some people take it too far and become lunatics - haha - but it was just a joke. I think it’s funnier choosing whether you prefer being a maniac or a lunatic – haha!
We’ll be following you on this next career journey – like you could ever get rid of us. Anything you want to say to your supporters?
I think you all know how grateful I am for all the support and I appreciate all the kind words and luck messages. I hope I can keep you entertained from across the sea but with or without me here once you all continue to do whatever it is you want to do is all that matters. I never came here to win anything but if anything just to show that you can enjoy yourself just as much coming last as you can first. The joy comes from taking part and trying something you want to just because YOU WANT TO!! Everyone is different so we have to stop trying to do everything the same.
Since July, 2012, we have interviewed Tristan 66 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.