From November, 2014...
We’re enjoying all of your pro dances but the “Cotton Eyed Joe” dance was so different that we couldn’t help but ask about it. How difficult was that for the pros to learn and was it as much fun as it looked? When learning non-traditional dances, do you find these more difficult to learn or are you able to approach it as you would any other dance?
Cotton Eyed Joe was great craic. We all really enjoyed that number. I pretty much laughed and shouted through the whole thing. It was tiring enough though the third or fourth time round. It wasn't hard to learn, no. It was choreographed by Matt Flint who is great. He was in Dirty Dancing with me so we had a few laughs doing the number and yeah, everyone got into it but again we all have an idea of what we think barn/line dancing is I guess and we just go with that. We have to just remember the steps like every other dance.
Along those same lines, you danced to “Should’ve Been A Cowboy” back in Season 12 of DWTS and did a nice tutorial on It Takes Two. Had you ever done other barn dances or country-western style dancing?
I don't remember that other cowboy one to be honest. I never did line dancing though, no, and I’ve never been a cowboy - maybe I should be! I'm probably more like City Slickers. I’d love to give that trip a try! I think I remember some sort of line dancing phase - maybe my ma did it or something.
During this Saturday’s show some of the biggest laughs came from people spotting you making the scary faces. How long did it take hair and makeup to create that look for you and what was the atmosphere like before and during the show?
Everyone seemed in good form that day alright. Some were a bit on edge for sure with it being show day but generally I think the fancy dress lightened the mood a little. Hair and makeup obviously did a great job and we were all really proud of them. For some it took a few hours I’d imagine. For me it didn't take too long. They were trying different things during the day and then with the dancing some comes off so they keep reapplying and then trying new things. I was just bored at the back so I started messing around. The cameras kept changing angles on me so I had to keep moving – haha.
There is a lot that goes on into a Strictly show but would you share a little bit about how it works day-to-day? Pro rehearsals are on Monday but what happens on Friday and Saturday as the cast prepares for the show? Approximately how much time is there between the live show on Saturday and the taping of the results show that airs on Sunday?
Friday differs each week but usually a few couples come in and do their dance on the stage for the first time and then probably go and see their costumes and what not for the first time. Then we would rehearse the group number for an hour or so and camera block that and then the rest of the couples finish the day and all the girls get their tan.......and some of the guys. Saturday again starts fierce early with pretty much the same deal but it’s the first time the band sing the songs while they dance and make any last minute changes. Then everyone starts getting bits of their hair or makeup done followed by a dress rehearsal of the full show. After that, finish up the hair and makeup, make any changes they need and we would usually pre-record a group dance before the live show, not always - but most weeks, then live show. You might get an hour or so between that show and the recording of the results show and again sometimes there may be a pre-record between the two shows. Usually I go home then before results show........unless I’m still on the results show and I usually stay there until I get eliminated and then I go home – hahaha. The day is usually finished at 9.30/10, sometimes later.
Are eliminated pros (or any pros for that matter) ever asked to help out if those in the competition need some help or advice?
Sometimes we might help but I'm very much of the belief that your teacher is the one to give you the information although it can be helpful. It’s not nice for a pro to see their celeb off asking others how to do things and sometimes as the teacher who is working all week with a pro you see the things that are your priority and that’s where you want the focus so for sure we are there to help if the pro needs us or wants us to help but it’s a tricky one. I think being there more for positive reinforcement and encouragement is the best way to be present and to try to lighten the mood a little.
A quick technical question on the Jive from one of your supporters – when doing a spin in the Jive, what should happen with the free arm?
That’s a personal preference in my opinion but you want your spin to be a lot faster that your turn which is a big difference so the wider your arms the slower your spin is going to be. Some like to put the arm up some around their waist, some across their chest - it really depends on what you want it to look like. Right or wrong I like to think that somebody turns you but you spin yourself so do what you want!! There can't just be one right.
You seem to be enjoying the Strictly Come Dancing experience, but is there something that stands out about it as being particularly enjoyable or fun?
It’s just a really cool environment that I like. Everyone is on the same scale with each other and for me I have known most of the dancers here a long, long time. We all do a group number together each week. Nobody gets a particular type of partner. It switches each season and there is no competition or anything between pros or at least it’s not a dramatic twist or anything each week. Don't get me wrong. This isn't a slight on DWTS or anything. I just think it’s a different machine here and there and the demographic of the show is different. I don't particularly like doing contemporary or anything like that and here I don't have to come up with dances for any styles we aren't trained in. I just teach. It’s true the show here is a lot more controlled but I’m enjoying being here and if I end up going back to do DWTS, that’s cool too.
Finally, how do you relax and/or wind down these days? Still watching the Cooking Channel like you mentioned in an earlier interview?
I’m watching a lot more football here, which is great, walking the dog with the wife, catching up with friends, catching some plays/museums. I’m not getting too much tv in to be honest but it suits me. I’m happier being outdoors here. I’m happier eating the food then watching it being made at the minute.
Since July, 2012, we have interviewed Tristan 65 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.