This interview was posted a few days after Jamelia and Tristan danced their Charleston, Week 4, Strictly Come Dancing 2015
First, congratulations on your Charleston. Take us through the week – rehearsals, things that Jamelia picked up easily, things she had problems with, when it all came together, etc.
Thank you. Yeah, we had a good week and are happy with the results. I think first off one of the factors that helped was that Jamelia was familiar with some of the moves from the off. She mentioned they were similar to moves that she would have danced in the 90s so straight away there was a little bit of ease with things and then it was a lot easier to focus on the technique of the footwork. With Charleston being quite specific, she could really focus on major points which I felt helped. Also, flat shoes always help people when they are on the floor - they play a big part! It’s a really strong angular dance and so very visual and then the character of the song was easy to connect with. Confidence is a big thing for people and Jamelia is no different. You can listen to somebody tell you every day that you are getting better but until you see it for yourself it doesn’t really matter!
You have Foxtrot this week. Even though you and Jamelia haven’t danced ballroom since your Week 1 Waltz, we’ve seen a lot of improvement in Jamelia’s confidence and overall skills. How will you take that new ability and incorporate into learning a new dance? What do you anticipate will be her biggest strengths?
You can always carry through certain things. I made sure before Week 1 that we nailed the frame. Most of my time with Jamelia was really focussed on that and knowing that is in her body is a major plus before you start the next dance. In saying that, week to week is based on how that week goes and not on what happened previously. Just because you are improving each week, other factors come into that. People always forget. Sometimes you don't have as much time as the previous week. Sometimes you don't like the new dance or music you have been given, and sometimes you don't like the direction of the VT. If you have a slow dance, some might think it’s boring when compared to a fast dance that others are doing so it can always be harder or easier for different reasons. I hope the boost we got last week carries through to this week and hopefully the judges see what we have been working on more than what we are struggling with. I never shy away from mistakes. I don't like hiding them; I like to work them out and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. The competitiveness I have is not in beating others but in beating ourselves each week. The rest will look after itself if that makes sense?!
You’ve said in the past that Foxtrot is one of your favorite dances. Do any of your past Foxtrots in particular stand out for you?
No, not more than any others. I like the music, and I like the laid back feel of the dance. I had a song I wanted to use for this dance and a back-up song but unfortunately they both got passed off so we will work with this one and try do the best job we can and hope we are smiling at the end. The biggest challenge to both celeb and pro is to 'make it work'.
We’re not looking past this week, but if you had the opportunity to teach Jamelia one particular dance that you have not yet done, which one would it be? Obviously it’s hard to tell at this point, but is there a dance that you think she would excel at or find easier than others?
I really don't know to be honest. Again I had an idea for a particular dance and concept for a particular week but unfortunately it doesn't fit into the week I wanted it for so that was a shame. It’s tough for the producers to make a balanced show especially when there are so many different brains working on concepts and what not. Sometimes you have to just take it on the chin and work with what role needs to be filled. I think it’s best to focus on the fact that people are working really hard to stay in the competition so sometimes you have to just hope that people, judges and viewers see past the reasoning behind choices and just support the work being put into it. I’d like to do the Paso I put together but unless there is a change of view I can't see it happening this season. I have no doubt that with enough time during any particular week that Jamelia can tackle any dance so I’m excited about that and each week her confidence and stamina build.
We missed you in this week’s pro dance? Will you be in the one that airs next week?
Yeah, I'll be back in the group dance next week. I tweaked my shoulder and neck on Week 1 so it was a precaution to come out of the group dance as I was afraid I might aggravate it before our dance with the few lifts in the Charleston. Neil was there and wanted to get involved anyway so I think it was good to see him in there but I’ll be back next week for sure. I’m sure a lot of people would have been happy to see another British dancer on the show – ha.
How does it feel not to have to dance in the Dance Off for two consecutive weeks?
To be honest I don't mind the dance off. People make a little more of it than needs to be. If your dance doesn’t go well or you didn't do as well as you wanted I think it’s the perfect way to recover straight away without having to wait until next week. It can be dangerous though. Like I said, if you have a dance or song or whatever it may be that is beautiful but you are against a lively, funny, fast dance you can get caught out. I think you can't afford to worry about who you are dancing against. You just have to go out and do better than you did before and make sure you fix what went wrong first. Sometimes people think they did everything wrong and get flustered and forget everything. You just have to stay calm and fix your mistakes. If you do that, you can go through or go home knowing you did your best. The dance off, for all that it's worth, gives you and your partner another chance to dance in front of a live audience which can be the most frightening part so it has to be a positive - and under much more pressure. It’s a character builder.
Finally, what are some of the things you have enjoyed most this year so far on Strictly? (or moments that stand out)
I’m enjoying how everyone has taken to the new guys. I think they are great, and it’s nice to see good things happen to good people. They have fit in very well, and I think generally everyone has been positive and happy this year which makes it fun going into work. I know people have to leave each week but that’s just the game. I’ve been very happy to see everyone’s reactions to getting higher scores and the joy in people’s faces every time we are all on set. I’m glad everyone is getting the credit they deserve for the work being put in, and I hope it continues and that everyone gets out of the show whatever it is they are after.
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.