In the middle of a very busy travel schedule, Tristan took the time to answer your questions. Enjoy the latest in this Q & A series with our favorite dance professional.
You just returned from 2 weeks on the Holland America DWTS: At Sea cruises. As far as the cast and crew as well as the show itself, how was this different than the January cruises or those from last summer? From looking at the photos, it looks like some of the numbers might be the same, but which ones did you do this time, and were there any new dances?
There were little changes here and there, yes. We have a great cast so usually that stays the same but Kiki [Nyemchek] came on this last cruise to cover for Jaymz [Tuaileva] who went back on tour with Cher so we all learned little changes to cover each other in certain numbers. I danced the Paso and Cha Cha with Sabrina again and myself and Kym did a Foxtrot that we hadn't before. Bar that, it was much of the same. There was no Jive this time but it may come back in for the cruises at the end of July because we will be missing Iveta [Lukosiute] so Emma Slater and Anya Garnis will be joining to mix things up. I'm not too sure which numbers will be in and out as yet.
Did you do any teaching or demonstrations?
I don't teach or demonstrate on the ship, no. I had wanted to but it’s very hard to find space on the ship with all the events they run although Kym added a Latin fitness class a week to the cruise. I wanted to do some privates as there are usually a few people who like them on the ship but space ruled that out unfortunately.
During the cruises, Iveta Lukosiute and Anya Fuchs posted daily photos from DWTS “Boot Camp.” We were exhausted just looking at the pictures, but we are curious. What was Boot Camp, who participated, and how did it all work out?
The boot camp was great, yeah, and was something that became a regular daily event for us. Brent [Borbon] had a friend on board, Matt, who is the strength and conditioning coach for La Reve. For the first week and we started doing some programs each morning and pretty much everyone in the cast joined in. Some mornings were too early, so now and again there was only a handful of us but it was great fun. W hen Matt left after the first week Brent and Jason [Venner] kind of took over so we had busy mornings with the stretch and abs classes onboard then myself Jase and Brent done the spinning classes. Then Boot Camp - myself, Jason, Brent, Kiki, Magda [Fialek], Anya [Fuchs] and Iveta. I think Kym may have come up for one of the classes over the two weeks as well.
You’ve been on the Alaska cruise before but was there something that you did this time or something that you saw that was new or especially fun? Favorite spot you’ve visited in Alaska or even seen from the ship?
This last cruise left from Vancouver instead of Seattle so we got a night in Vancouver before we started which was cool. It’s such a beautiful city and because we left from Vancouver, two of the stops were different. On the cruise we went to Skagway where we went hiking - myself, Brent, Kiki, Jason and Sabrina. The rest went on a train ride which they said was cool. I guess I trained a lot more on this cruise than any other. I took a month off the swig so I’ve been keeping myself busy training which was different - early nights, early mornings kind of thing. We had the mother-in-law on board which was great so it was a very relaxing time with great friends. The cast really are the best. Looking forward to the next one in a few weeks.
Did you have much free time to sightsee?
We saw a lot more this time around for sure. The schedule let us rehearse a lot the days while we were at sea so when we came into port we had free time and then because we rehearsed Kiki into the show week 1 we had more free time on week 2. Good old Kiki is a quick learner – haha. I went back to the lumberjack show again which I seem to do every time we get on the cruise. I don't know why I love it so much but its great craic! Everyone went this time as well so we had a blast.
You’ve told us previously that you really enjoy Jersey Boys and that you were looking forward to seeing the movie. Have you had a chance to see it yet, and if so, give us your thoughts.
Yeah, I went to see Jersey Boys once we got off the ship. I thought it was good. I’m a huge fan of the stage show so when a film tries to follow it’s always difficult to match up but I thought they did a good job. The cast were super of course. I had seen them all in the stage show. Some find the story easier to follow in the film but I preferred the show. You can't beat being in the theatre and hearing the music live. As soon as 'WHO LOVES YOU' starts in the show something hits me when I’m watching it but I didn't get that from the film but I still liked it. The story is a great one and the music is the best.
We’re been talking to a lot of people about Strictly Come Dancing, and we’ve been told that the pro partners tend to remain the same throughout the SCD season. Obviously you’ve danced with some pros more than others, and in your experience, do certain things become instinctive as you dance with the same person frequently, or is it still like starting all over again each time you rehearse a new dance?
I guess it’s different all the time but sometimes you know what to expect from certain people you know - haha. I don't know who I will be dancing with on Strictly yet as there will be a few chafes but I’m excited to start. I have been in shows with a few of the cast, danced with some and just been on stage with some and some I have never met so I’m looking forward to it. It can be different because some always play to the camera and some mix it up but for sure like anything the more you practice with and work with someone the more in sync you get with that person. Sometimes you change your lead for people and sometimes they change their follow. It’s a partnership, so always give and take. Some don't follow but some don't lead either!!!
In our last interview you mentioned that you had been rehearsing with Peta for Dance Temptation. Do you have any more rehearsals planned, and how much time will you have available to rehearse with the rest of the cast in Toronto?
Yeah, for sure we will rehearse more. I will miss the group rehearsals as I will be on the ship so I will have a day to play catch up afterwards before the stage tech but I will rehearse when we have time before this cruise and then try keep it fresh in my body for the show as it’s a quick turnover between DWTS: At Sea and Dance Temptation. We were in the other day running things again with Edyta so we are keeping on top of it between my shows and Peta’s.
Favorite food or meal from the DWTS: At Sea cruise
Steak from the Pinnacle Grill all day every day if I could!
Any seasickness or balance issues on the cruises so far?
Yeah, for sure. The day of the show on the cruise is always the rockiest because we are out at sea, so usually the ship is calm until right before the show and then the swells come but we are getting more used to it now. A few props topple now and again but sure what can you do? The Holland America dancers do it all year round!!
Breakfast of choice
Porridge/ Oatmeal - I love it! Eggs Benedict as well but you can't eat that all week.
Favorite snack food
I’d eat a banana or cashew nuts/ almonds.
Favorite junk food (if any)
Do you get bored easily?
I‘m the worst! I get bored so easily- too bored to do anything even. How sad is that!!
If you had 24 hours with no obligations or commitments and could just relax, what would be your idea of relaxation?
I’d grab a bottle of whiskey, sit in a hammock and watch football or GAA and listen to Luke Kelly.
How is Pike doing these days?
Pike is sound, yeah. We took him to the beach the other day for the first time. He lost his mind chasing seagulls. He had the best day of his life. He sprinted into the sea before he knew it was water so was like a drenched rat and then he would run away from it for the rest of the day. As soon as we got back in the car he conked it. He's a great little fella, running around with his tongue out all day.
Since July, 2012, we have interviewed Tristan 63 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.