This interview was completed a few weeks prior to the cast reveal for Season 16 of DWTS.
Tristan is in Utah today for Ballroom With A Twist but that didn't stop him from answering more of your questions. Enjoy this little (actually, not so little!) interview with our favorite DWTS pro.
We know you have a lot going on between now and the rest of the DWTS off-season and that you have some upcoming performance dates for Ballroom With a Twist In Oregon and Dances With the Stars in Toronto later this month. Anything else going on that we can let your supporters know?
Yeah I have a busy couple of months leading up to next season, which I’m happy about but at the same time I’m looking forward to a rest this week after Utah and so is my body!! In a couple of weeks I’m going to Portland with Ballroom With A Twist to dance with Anna again which I’m excited about and I’ll also stay a few extra days to teach a bit there. Then the following week it’s Toronto again with Anna for 2SomeDance 5th year anniversary. At the moment they are the only shows I have planned. I’m sure I will do some more teaching but none confirmed as of now and also I’m aware of the need for a rest as the next season is fast approaching but I tend to get itchy feet when I sit down for too long. Tonight is the last night in Utah, and it was great to see Dmitry and Chelsie again and obviously all the cast of BWAT are super fun and talented.
We did a recent Q and A with Sasha and he confirmed that he was the culprit in the Atlantic City Burn the Floor ‘incident’ with the trousers getting tucked into the socks which you felt made you look like a farmer. But he also teased us with a video that you and he made that is still floating around out there somewhere – ‘MTV Cribs’ but Sasha and Tristan style. Do you have any other stories for us? You and Sasha sound like trouble, but all in a good way.
Ah yeah, I still haven’t seen that video to be honest. I think Damian has it - the three of us were rooming at the time on tour. There are loads of stories alright but it’s probably best that I keep them to myself. I only remember the wild ones and they won’t leave my lips. HaHa! There were some super crazy times but always fun. A lot of my stories are stuff that is best keep between the people involved –haha. Sasha, I’m sure can remember the tame ones as well as the wild ones.
Dancing With the Stars has changed a lot since you began as a member of the Troupe in Season 12 and through your three seasons as a pro. What positive changes do you feel have been made?
Yeah, the show has changed a bit since I joined alright but nothing too drastic I think. One of the major things I guess is that I’m a little more known now but still untested I guess to a certain degree in people’s eyes- I’m still having fun though! I think the comparing has increased since I joined - - is he better than this person, is he nicer than him, funnier than him? I guess that’s the nature of the beast, haha. It’s funny, but I just like getting on with what I do. It doesn’t matter if we place first or last so the comparisons don’t faze me. As far as everything else, I think the show knows now how to really get more out of the troupe and use them a lot more than our first troupe, so that’s great to see. There have been tweaks with certain pros swapping in and out so again most things have stayed the same. I think production wise there have been a lot more changes than cast.
Many of us witnessed first-hand your ability to teach when we saw you in Princeton on January 26. Clearly you love to teach, and you do it incredibly well. What is about teaching that draws you in? What is it that you love about teaching?
I like teaching because it makes me feel like I have some worth I guess, not in a negative way but I’m a giver and I like to help. I think everyone deserves a chance to better themselves at whatever they want to, and I like the thought of playing some part in that. I like to surround myself with positivity and there is nothing better than seeing a smile on somebody’s face when they achieve something they didn’t think they could or trying to convince somebody that they can do it however long it takes. I think it’s a great way to get to know people as well because you have to know somebody to a certain degree to know how to get the most of them so it gives me a chance to meet new people and try to help them achieve their goals. I’m like a lot of people in that when I was in school I didn’t really want to be there so I didn’t learn what I could have. Now I’m like a sponge and want to know everything I can about the things I like. When people come to dance it’s because they want to so it’s fun and not a chore, and if they get dragged along I like the challenge of trying to convince then that it s fun by relating it to something they do like doing!!
Speaking of that performance in Princeton, would you share with us how you came up with the concept for the Cha Cha to “Rolling in the Deep” and how you accomplished so much in such a short period of time?
To be honest there wasn’t too much of a concept bar - I wanted the girls to have fun and not feel like they had to stand around and wait their turn. It’s difficult to get up and put on a show in front of people when you have been doing something for a long time, let alone twenty odd minutes, so once you have put on your swimmers you don’t wanna sit around and wait - you wanna dive straight into the pool and make it an enjoyable time. The girls did great and they had the support of me to partner them, the support of each other to do it together, and the support of everyone else there to keep them going. “Rolling In The Deep” was just a song that was there but its helps with my swimming analogy – haha - it came across well because the girls were so good at processing the information.
During your Question and Answer segment in Princeton you mentioned that you much prefer teaching to choreographing. Is there a choreographer in the dance world today that you particularly respect and/or admire for their body of work?
I’m not too sure to be honest. When you look at stuff like So You Think You Can Dance, people come out of the blue and just blow your mind with stuff so for me I love the work a lot of people on that show do. Mia Michaels and Travis Wall spring to mind but so many, many more are super talented. I love Savion Glover’s stuff as well. These guys and people like them have the ability (much like Derek as well) to make all of their ideas come to life, which makes them powerhouses, where sometimes my ability falls short of my idea. Choreography for me can be as simple as telling the story; the difficulty and trickery is irrelevant to me – it’s all about the delivery.
How do you choose costumes for your celebrity partner? Does your partner have much input into the process or do you have a plan in mind going in?
The costumes are generally chosen by the pros. I guess sometimes I just say, "Right, this is what I have in mind" but generally I leave it up to my partner. Chances are I will get to wear what I want at some stage but this is their first and only experience of it so they tell me what they want to wear and the wardrobe department will come up with the compromise of what they and the producers want. There are certain things that I never want to wear so once they steer clear of that I’m usually good to go. The Devil Went Down To Georgia was mine though. I wanted that voodoo look especially on Halloween - the costume, not the make-up - that was all them!
You have danced to the music of many performers on Dancing With the Stars. Which one stands out as a favorite, and is there any particular artist that you would love to see on DWTS so that you could have the opportunity to dance to their music?
I’ve been lucky enough to dance to a few acts on the show alright- I guess I liked "All the Right Moves" because it was our first one. I liked the Kelly Clarkson one with Kym, Jackie Evancho with Karina, Katherine Jenkins with Peta - not so much for the songs or what not but just I liked dancing with the girls. I like Kiss but if I had to dance to them I couldn’t have watched them, same as The Script because obviously they are Irish but also because I really like the guys. I’d love to see someone like Mumford and Sons on DWTS, I think, or Jack White, I like Emeli Sandé too. I loved Lady Antebellum on the show now I think of it.
It’s interesting that through your Princeton fundraiser, you have developed a new group of fan support from the volunteers and local community that wasn’t even within the DWTS demographic before. Any thoughts on this?
The fundraiser was great success. Yeah we managed to raise 2000 on the night I think which was superb and it’s always nice to know that people appreciate what you do but for me the main thing was to get the awareness across for the charity. I’m fully looking forward to working with a lot more charities this year. I don’t think it’s all about just giving money to charity but just having awareness of the work that they do is the main thing and you can help in whatever way you choose. I think it’s important though if I’m in a position to promote or to help an association that actually does give all their proceeds to the people we are raising the money for, I can’t neglect that responsibility. I appreciate all the support I get and I would never take advantage of people who work so hard at this all year round for the sake of getting people to vote for me. This work is much much bigger than the show I do. It’s just raising awareness of a very real situation.
Your website, MacManiacs.org, is very quickly moving ahead towards 300,000 forum views in just over a year. While we realize that you probably haven’t had time to look at it in a very long time, we are curious as to whether there is anything in particular you would like for us to do or include. Currently we have a forum with more than 90 different topics, image gallery, video page, blog page, and interview page. Is there anything else you would like to see?
I think you are all doing a great job with the website. I have seen it a few times, yes, but I won’t lie - I don’t sit and google myself everyday and see what I am doing haha. I appreciate that you all put so much time into supporting me and I’m sure whatever you feel you like to add is alright by my judging by the views you are getting its working whatever it is you are doing, ha! I think it’s great that you guys interview other people on it too. Like I said it’s not a competition of who is the best person and I enjoy all the people you talk to so it’s great. Sometimes I have to check the website to find out what I’m supposed to be doing that week- you guys usually know before I do!! Again just a huge thank you to everyone and anyone who shows interest in whatever it is I do and hopefully whatever it is you enjoy about whatever I say it sticks for long after I’m gone!! STAY POSITIVE STAY HAPPY
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.