This interview was posted just after Dorothy and Tristan withdrew from Season 16 DWTS due to injury.
We especially enjoy hearing about your work to support charitable organizations, and we read about your participation in LA Fest 2013 to benefit the Mia Hamm Foundation and Grassroot Soccer. Could you tell us about that experience?
LA Fest was a great experience, but unfortunately I didn't get to spend as much time there as I would have liked. I have been working for Grassroots Soccer for over a year now and their annual event date had been pushed many times due to scheduling and eventually they teamed up with Nomar and Mia’s foundation to have a joint event which fell on a Sunday- camera blocking day! Especially with the week we had with Dorothy, it became a scramble but it was definitely something I didn't want to miss out on so I managed to slip away for an hour or so while Dorothy was getting her therapy. I managed to get in a little under half the game and then had to run back in time for camera blocking and rehearsed for the remainder of the night. It’s something I love doing - playing football - and to meet the others and kick about with them was a blast. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to stick around and talk to them too much. It was down in The Home Depot Centre too where I go to watch LA Galaxy play so that was a bonus for me personally. I got to meet the pros from the Women’s National Team and some former Men’s National Team members and the hosts of FSC.
It was obviously a tough week for you and Dorothy and she had to make a very difficult decision, but like you said, it was the right one. How did things finally fall into place?
Well, I got a text from Dorothy early Tuesday morning saying she needed to talk with me so I called her, and I kind of had the feeling it was game over. I could see the pain Dorothy had been in for a few weeks, and I didn't think it was going to get better with the hours we had to put in. As the week was going on and it had got to Saturday and we hadn't started dancing yet so I knew it was a struggle to get things together for Monday but we worked overtime again on something than required rest. Dorothy had gotten treatments all week but until she had her MRI and got back the results and could actually see them it was something she felt she would work through - as all athletes do. To me that was the most impressive feat of the week- not to get through but to actually compete in the first place. After the show was informed they decided which way they wanted to play the announcement out, and then we followed.
We truly loved watching your interaction with Dorothy – in interviews and on the dance floor. What was it like working with her?
Dorothy was amazing to work with. She is so hard working and committed. It was difficult for her, I would imagine; the show wants to know how you feel every second of every rehearsal and wants everything verbalized which can be difficult when you are just used to putting your head down and learning quietly. She is exactly how she comes across – polite, gentle, and fun to be around. The live show is exactly the same for everyone; it’s hard to tell them what to expect. You just have to live it as it happens. You can prepare people for it but the moment takes over most the time so you have to soak it in instead of letting it intimidate you.
As fans, it will be difficult for us to find the same enjoyment this season without you and Dorothy bringing your own magic to the show, but we will be watching and supporting you in your appearances (hopefully many!) and the rest of the cast as well. Could you give us a brief comment on each of the remaining teams and/or what you perceive as their strengths? Want to take a chance and predict a winner?
I can’t really pick a winner because you just never know what to base it on to be honest. Sometimes people just can’t get over what they don’t like about some people and sometimes they can’t see past what they do like, you know. It’s best to just watch it and enjoy it for what it is. Everyone is genuine I feel this season. D.L took a truck load on the first show so I want to see him do well. Andy has things he wants to overcome so I want to see him do well too. Zendaya, yes, she is young but people forget she still has to work super hard to be as good as she is. If she slacks you can call her out but you can’t fault her for being young!! I really like Aly; she is funny so I hope she does well. Victor is a really cool genuine guy, and Jacoby is hilarious. Kellie is amazing and those two [Kellie and Derek] together are great. Lisa is a beast at the minute - she is great on the show and has so much going on outside as well that she deserves a medal already. I always push for Val and Peta because we came in together and l always love to see the new guys do well. So far Gleb and Sharna are killing it and Lindsay is working like a boss. I like Ingo too - no drama, he just gets on with things and is happy doing it. Wynonna too.
You mentioned something in one of your interviews on the press line this week about injuries and dancing while having injuries. In your career, you’ve most likely danced with an injury, so would you share with us how that affected the performance (if at all) and what changes you’ve had to make as a result?
Injuries always affect you in different ways. I don't take any sort of medications -never have - so I can’t just take pain killers when I'm hurt. I've had slipped discs in my back that I haven't had treated properly for different reasons, and when I was younger I used to break things all the time but kept playing football through it. When I knocked my knee cap out of place and tore my meniscus in the same knee I lost all pace I had and since then I tend to have a lot of hamstring strains and pulls which I tend to try dance through now. I hate missing out on things so you put yourself through these things that don't help you in the long run. I once cracked my ankle bone during a football game that I didn't want to quit, so I foolishly kept going but that's what we did and that's what we do. You hurt yourself and keep quiet because you don't want to miss out and then complain about it afterwards when you can’t do the things you used to be able to do! I have to be a lot more careful these days but I know exactly what it’s like to be going through something and be somewhat afraid to let anybody down or pull out so that's why you have to listen to your body and make the best decision for your health. If you can have a team who can support that, well then we are all doing what’s best for each other not for ourselves so nobody is ever being let down.
Do you have any dances coming up on Dancing With the Stars? We already miss seeing you dance!
The appearances on the show come up week by week so I don't really know when I'm going to be on again - sometimes the show has to keep people involved or to promote new dancers so I really don't know just yet - we will have to wait and see. I was trying to put a dance together for one of the weeks but it didn't play out how I wanted it to so I decided to knock that on the head. Sometimes you get to choose; sometimes you don’t, but if I can’t do particular things the way I want them done, I don't want to do them. Maybe next time. I do have a pro number this week though with all the guys. I missed the last all guys number when my back went out the during the dress rehearsal so I’m looking forward to this one.
We have heard of a few cases where the DWTS pro has asked to have the music changed several days into the rehearsal because the music just didn’t seem to work. Have you ever had to do that? Also, did you choose “Tiny Dancer” and “Chantilly Lace” for this season’s music? We loved both.
I like both songs, yes, but I didn’t choose either. That was the producers. I had different songs in mind when I heard we were doing contemporary, but I like the songs we ended up with. I do think the song has a big part to play in how the dance does and sometimes songs suit people more than the dance does so you just have to roll with it. Also I’m conscious that this is the only time my partner is going to realistically be on the show (bar all stars) so it has be more about their experience than mine. When people come to your house you make them feel as welcome as possible, and you get the enjoyment out of knowing that they want to come back! Sometimes my taste in music doesn't really work on the show on the particular week I want to dance to it, and in the end the whole show needs to run smoothly together. It’s no good having 11 songs that fit together and then something Tristan wants to dance to - unfortunately. Haha!
One of the favorite dances for the people here on MacManiacs.org is the Jive, and we’ve had the opportunity to see you do it several times. As a teacher, what is the most difficult or challenging part of teaching this particular dance to a student?
Jive is difficult enough to teach because people can be a bit cautious about it because it’s so fast. If you can’t move as fast as you like, sometimes you have to simplify the move to make it work. You gotta get high knees and keep your weight forward and kick and pick up your feet quickly. People don’t always like that – ha! It’s difficult, but everything is difficult when you don’t know how to do it. I don’t want to over dance anyone so I can take criticism on the chin because I know what I’m doing is the right thing to do. I’ll never hold anyone back but I certainly won’t ever make anyone trail behind either. You dance as a team and the captain will take the heat if it comes our way. You can’t compare apples to oranges; you can just make sure you shine brightest.
Since July, 2012, we have interviewed Tristan 62 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.