Power is defined in many ways, but any way you define it or look at it, Tristan MacManus has power. In the physical sense, he’s strong and agile and can do the lifts, tricks, and stunts required of a professional dancer, but it goes much further than that. He has the power to direct or influence people, and delving even deeper, he has the power to do all of that in a positive way. Let us explain.
The power of the storyteller: As a performer, Tristan has the ability to draw in a crowd, to sell a performance to an audience, to take on a role and a character, and to make sure his partner is 100% comfortable - whether she is a professional or amateur. The power comes from the simplicity of the plan. He makes sure the choreography fits his partner, and therefore he doesn’t have to overdance or dance around a less trained dancer. He makes it work, and he make it about himself. With other pros, he matches them step for step, but he projects a sincerity that the most well-trained actor might not pull off.
The power of the performer: This is easy. Almost too easy. If you have seen him on DWTS, his performance value is off the charts. He is engaging, personable, and believable – and he can own a dance without even trying. His chemistry with his partners is spot on and it only takes a few seconds for the MacManus Magic to take center stage. If you have had the good fortune to see him in Burn the Floor, Ballroom With A Twist, Holland America’s Dancing With the Stars: At Sea cruises or any other performance, then you most likely fell a little in love right on the spot. Whether he is spotlighted in a group performance, heating things up in a Rumba, or bringing sizzling passion to a Paso Doble, you will never forget his performances.
The power of the teacher: Ah, this is his passion, and he is brilliant. Look at the patience and technique he taught Nancy Grace, Gladys Knight, and Valerie Harper, for example. For those of us who witnessed his impromptu Cha Cha lesson at his Grassroot Soccer fundraiser in Princeton in 2013, we are still in awe. He took two novices and had them performing in front of a group in less than 30 minutes. Now THAT was impressive. Give him a few hours or days, and he could whip an entire production into shape. That’s how good he is.
The power of the philosopher: Let’s face it. After doing 20 plus interviews with Tristan and reading many other interviews and blogs about him and by him, we are still impressed with the depth of his answers and statements. For example: “Every day is the start of something special. Every action causes a reaction so you have two choices” or “Make your own path and follow your own head and live and die by your own sword” or “I love to dance but I love even more to entertain and all the well wishes and notes of support are what inspire me to do it” or “Don’t be afraid to try something new because it’s the people who aren’t afraid to try to get the rewards” or…. you get the picture. We could recite these all day because when Tristan becomes philosophical it’s genuine and not a bunch of 140 character or less tweets that have us scratching our head in confusion. Even when he is kidding around, his answers are well thought out and perceptive.
The power of the fans: The MacManiacs. Also now known as The MacLunatics, thanks to Tristan. Whether four years old or rocking away in the nursing home, Tristan’s fans cover all age ranges and all demographics, and the numbers are way larger than some of the doubters believe. Tristan himself describes us this way: Loyal, O-mazing, Vocal, Epic, and Devoted. Yep. That’s us. There are none better. His fans have built a huge network that runs the gamut: a wildly popular website with a forum that would put most other message boards to shame, a Facebook Fan Page that is constantly updated and has more than 10,500 likes, a fan Instagram, fan Pinterest, and a Twitter fan page along with at least a dozen satellite fan pages – all that work together to support Tristan. There there is a sub-network of MacManiacs who joined Twitter and/or set up additional Twitter pages for the sole purpose of supporting Tristan. There are dozens of those, and that doesn’t count everybody else who just loves the guy. Those numbers are likely in the millions.
The power of being one of the good guys: This one is self-explanatory, but we're explaining it anyway. He respects everyone, he is a gentleman, and he is non-controversial. There is something to be said for being a good guy.
The power of the appeal: He has universal appeal. People clamor to see him dance, and they make sure to find him in a city where he teaches so that they can learn from the best. And he is the best. Just ask the folks that found him in Ohio and Florida recently and happily parted with their “eating out” funds just to take a dance lesson. Just ask the fans who flew in from as far as Finland for his 2013 charity event in Princeton. We buy tickets to BWAT hoping that Tristan might be one of the pros, and we book cruises on Holland America just to see him teach and perform. Why? Because he has an incredible amount of magnetism, appeal, charm, charisma, and blinding good looks (shallow but true).
All that power? It’s the real deal. He provides so much electricity that power companies could probably use him as their primary energy source. Yet ABC let this gem slip away this season. Tsk. Tsk. We don’t know if ABC noticed, but when power flickers, the lights just may go out.
Administrator's Note: J.S. traveled to Pensacola to take advantage of an opportunity to take a private dance lesson with Tristan. This is her recap.
First of all, let me say that I had danced a little previously, taken several dance classes during the last year, and thought that since I was a Tristan MacManus supporter since Day 1 of Season 12 of DWTS, this would be a great time to learn from a man who loves to teach. I could tell you each thing that we did or go into detail about everything I learned, but I decided to take a broader approach and explain why the experience was unforgettable.
I went for one reason only and that was to learn, and learn I did. From the moment I stepped into the studio in Pensacola, I felt comfortable and at ease, and Tristan’s professionalism was a big part of that. He has a no nonsense approach to some extent, but his delightful sense of humor is present at all times. A little conversation, a few laughs, and an amazing amount of teaching crammed into a short period of time was the order of the day.
Whether I was in the arms of the man himself or working with another studio instructor, Tristan made sure he taught for every second I was there. What else can I say? I could go on and on and on and ramble about every little detail and bore you to death, but I won’t. Let’s just say, it was worth every penny I spent to fly down, get a hotel for a few days, and get that 40 minutes or so of his time. If you’re in it to learn to dance, then you’ve gone to the right man for teaching. If you’re in it just to say you danced with Tristan MacManus? Well that might not be the right reason because let me assure you that he is dead serious about his work, and what we’ve seen on DWTS all those season is just the tip of the iceberg. My next business trip coincides with an upcoming Ballroom With A Twist performance, and I just made sure I have tickets because seeing the teacher become the performer again will be a truly memorable experience.
Administrator's Note: Angela traveled to Pensacola in order to do a private lesson with Tristan on March 23, 2014. This is her recap of that experience.
Things I learned during that dance lesson:
Teaching literature to middle schoolers comes a lot easier to me than dancing.
Tristan MacManus might just be the nicest person on the planet.
What’s to be scared of? It’s just dancin’.
I’d like to hire Tristan to be my life coach.
When I found out at the last minute that Tristan would be teaching lessons in Pensacola, I knew I had to go, but I was scared. So scared that I did everything in my power to persuade a few others to go with me. Unfortunately, none of them could make it, so I had to brave this alone. And alone is not something I do well, because I might very well be one of the shyest people ever.
I booked the private lesson and considered cancelling it a dozen times beforehand. I had never had a dance lesson, and the only thing close to dancing I do is Zumba, so I was going way out of my comfort zone. I arrived at the studio early, so I had the chance to see Tristan collaborating in a lesson with the studio owner, Victor. Tristan was very at ease coaching this student, and her considerable dance experience was obvious. He came over to greet me and I felt myself relax.
We focused on rumba and cha cha, and Tristan mixed in lots of questions as he and Victor walked me through the first few steps. He was trying to find the best way to teach me, and as a former teacher, I appreciated that. Dancing was much harder than I thought it was going to be, and my feet were not very cooperative but Tristan and Victor were very patient, encouraging, and persistent….all while keeping it laid back. Good teachers know it’s important for the student to feel a certain level of comfort and enjoyment while being challenged, or no learning will take place. Tristan did that perfectly! He reassured me multiple times during the lesson and kidded me about being scared. When the lesson was over, he signed my picture from last year’s Life’s a Dance and included the words “no fear.” For some reason, those words have resonated with me. No fear. If I’d backed out of the lesson, I’d have missed this amazing experience and what I’m considering a very useful life lesson. Live without fear. So yeah, I had the best possible teacher and he made sure I learned some rumba and cha cha steps because that’s what I was there for. But I feel like I learned so much more! So what are the chances I could hire Tristan to be my life coach on top of all his other commitments??
On Monday, March 17, for the first time in many seasons, I couldn’t watch the Dancing With The Stars premiere. Even though I started watching the show for other reasons (as mentioned in my earlier post), I stayed watching it because of Tristan MacManus. The B-level “stars”, cheesy costumes, fake tans, fake drama, and odd, obscure dances (contemporary, caveman hustle, big top jazz, Charleston) were all entertaining enough, but Tristan gave the show heart for me.
When I saw the rumors that he would be left out this season, my son (who is a big Tristan fan) and I discussed that they couldn’t possibly be true because it didn’t make any sense. When we read Tristan’s message to fans after the announcement, my son’s response was “reading this actually makes me feel worse”.
If the decision had been Tristan’s, to take more time with his new wife, open a dance studio, move to Australia, I wouldn’t have been happy, but I would have understood. The fact that he seemed blindsided by the decision was just too heartbreaking.
So, ABC, you lost two fans in our household and many more across the country. I hope you come to your senses in future seasons, if there are future seasons and if Tristan would even consider returning.
My husband and I have had the pleasure of meeting and speaking to Tristan on two of the Holland America: DWTS At Sea cruises. The first one was an Alaska cruise last summer - one of the first DWTS At Sea cruises and the first one that Tristan took part in. My husband is also Irish (he emigrated from Ireland to Canada in 1975) and he and Tristan got along like wildfire. They had a great time nattering (as my husband calls chatting!). We spoke to Tristan on a number of occasions throughout that 7-day cruise and he was always willing to stop and talk. He was always gracious and funny and a totally normal person. It was truly a treat to have this opportunity. The second cruise was the championship cruise in January and this one was crazy! I think everyone on the cruise was there specifically for DWTS At Sea and as a result it was much more difficult to have the chance to speak to him. However, we bumped into him on shore in one of the ports and Tristan immediately recognized us and greeted us warmly. I was so impressed. Again we had the chance to stand and chat and he seemed genuinely happy to do so. What a nice guy he is – as it turns out this was only a few days before he got married so you can imagine how much he had going on at the time. My husband tweeted congratulations to him on getting married and it never occurred to us that he would acknowledge the tweet but he did. This is not a person who has let fame go to his head!
At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I am bitterly disappointed that Tristan has been passed over for S18. Here is a pro who has truly paid his dues to the show. He graciously took on older contestants while other pros were given the younger and more fit contestants (call them ringers if you will) and did so with a smile. When he was paired with Valerie Harper he defended with gusto the show’s choice of an older contestant who was in potentially fragile health. He has been an outstanding representative of DWTS in Holland America Line’s DWTS at Sea and as I know from personal experience was an absolute crowd favourite. For him to have been seemingly tossed aside is puzzling. Without naming names I have to say that I don’t understand why some of the pros were chosen for this season. I will not name names as I realize that just because someone is not my favourite doesn’t mean that others aren’t ardent fans. At the end of the day it is just a matter of opinion and I realize that mine is not the only opinion, but I still cannot understand what happened. Tristan’s message seems to imply that he was taken by surprise and if this is the case it angers me. That is not playing by the rules. Having met him I suspect that he doesn’t suffer fools gladly and maybe he has spoken his mind. Tristan has mentioned having a temper. Did he upset TPTB over something? Being married to an Irishman I know what they can be like and if they are passionate about something they speak their minds!
All the speculation in the world won’t change anything at this point. Tristan’s message was so classy that we should all let the negative feelings go. We should all try to be like him and find the positive instead of dwelling on the negative. Power to him for his attitude. What this showed me is that he IS the great person that we all believed he is. We (all the MacManiacs) should feel good about being fans of somebody like this. I will miss him very much on DWTS. I will still continue to watch the show because I love to watch dancing but it won’t be the same. I won’t boycott the show just because MY favourite isn’t on – somebody else’s is on and it isn’t just my opinion that counts. All I can hope is that Tristan comes to Toronto from time to time and if/when he does I will be in the audience. If he does more DWTS at Sea cruises we might just be on board again! But even this might not happen now that he is apparently no longer part of the show. Who knows what the future holds. No matter what, I am quite sure all of us will continue to be his fans. He deserves our admiration and loyalty and he certainly has mine.
Administrators Note: Annie referred to Tristan's message to his fans which was posted here on the site shortly after the Season 18 cast was announced. Read it below;
"Thanks very much for the message and the support. I have seen how vocal everyone has been the last few days over the rumors (I still can never understand where they come from- and the accuracy?!) but I obviously wasn’t in a position to comment as the surprise reveal was this morning. I am very moved by everyone’s kindness and unwavering support. Unfortunately or fortunately that’s just the way it goes sometimes! I was surprised but not shocked. I understand that the show is always evolving, and the only thing constant is change in any field but after hearing for so long that I would be told if I have anything to worry about that I would know in advance, then yes I was a little surprised. It is what it is, and no matter what the show goes on.
The reasons I don’t know and never will but either way it doesn’t change a thing. You are in or you are out and it’s as simple as that. I can’t complain as every season that I have been included somebody else has missed out, so I wish everyone involved all the best of luck in the world. I have enjoyed my time on DWTS but I do think that this is the best thing for me. I sometimes need the kick up the arse to get what I really want to do done and as always that will come when it comes, and you will know about it then. For now it’s a case of just making it happen. I have had three years on DWTS now and I am looking forward to the next chapter. The show didn’t end the way I would have wanted it to for me, but I was very lucky to be a part of the show at all.
Again, thank you all for the concern but honest to God I am grand, everything is great and there will be no looking back for me. The missus is great, the dog is great, I’m great and I’m straight back to teaching now anyway, just not on your tv. It just means that I can savage through St. Paddy’s day without worrying about working that day. Haha."
Tahyna Tozzi-MacManus is the writer and director of the new film OREN ("From The Mud Grows The Lotus"). In our interview with Tahyna on March 8, we learned about the beginnings of the project and the Kickstarter campaign designed to help raise funds for it. Because of the interest that has been generated by this film, we asked Tahyna if she would share more about it with us. In what we hope will be the first of many blog posts, she talks in depth about the work she is doing and how the work is progressing.
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By Tahyna Tozzi-MacManus
Let me preface this before I start yapping away. I am truly and completely in awe of the support and contributions OREN has had so far. With deepest gratitude I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Words cannot describe what this does for my cast and crew.
So, in saying that, we are almost at our halfway mark, and we still have a month to go! Incredible! The whole process has been very interesting. I was so terrified to launch myself out there publicly with my first project. It’s done now! I keep telling myself I took the first leap with writing and now it’s fast becoming everything I imagined it to be.
You may be wondering what is left to do? Well, I still need to keep the support train rolling. That’s first. I have never been on Twitter so much - haha! It’s so strange for me! But like I said the amount of interest and generosity is so beautiful.
Right now we are fine tuning the script so we make sure that we tell the entire story in a certain amount of minutes. For most film festivals the cut time for submissions is only fifteen minutes and that includes opening and closing credits! It is very hard as a writer to cut and let go of certain things in your script. You develop emotional attachments to certain imagery or specific lines of dialog. My producer, Kai, and I did a mammoth script cull just the other day. It was so painful for me but to be honest I am such a “stuck in my ways” human being. He is very liberated and loves change - it works well. Often you need to hear the perspective of someone as an “audience”. Certain parts might make perfect sense in my head but when a reader or audience watches they could potentially be like “What on earth did that mean?”….. So we worked hard and he challenged and pushed me to dive in a little deeper. I am very pleased with the result. I love working with Kai. He is such a creative genius and he is very patient with me slowly developing ideas.
Tabrett and I have been in constant contact of finding ways to increase interest and have direct contact with her marvelous fans that have contributed. Tab is awesome - she works so hard at delivering truthful performances. I have no doubt in my mind she will be a huge movie star! Well she already is!! I am glad I get the chance to work with her. I have known Tabrett since I was was 12 years old – whoa, that’s going back! We were both so young! I did a modeling campaign with her for Billabong surf wear. I am pretty sure I just stared at how beautiful she was, and she was probably like “Who is this creepy kid?” haha! She may even still be thinking it -haha- but she still loves taking risks with me creatively. I am so lucky for that. I am still blown away by her performance in our teaser alone. I got goosebumps as soon as she appeared on screen. Some other great news is that our fantastic cinematographer Larkin Donley’s most recent film “Animals” won special jury prize - courage in storytelling at the 2014 SXSW film festival (South by SouthWest). I have no doubt he will be a sought after DP (Director of Photography), so just another member of our crew that I am so fortunate to work with.
Everyone that has jumped on board has done so out of creative passion and that means so much to me. There is never a guarantee that we will be financially supported yet my whole team threw themselves into 24 hour work days with just the passion to make great films. That is a very special and rare thing these days.
We have updated our incentives. I may have even used my husband and his wonderful talents (with his blessing of course) - I am so lucky! He may or may not have a special appearance in the film (big wink face type of emotive icon here) - just throwing it out there. I’m sure his supporters would love to see him on the big screen. He really believes and supports me in everything I do and as I do with him. Two way street here!
We have also added a few special incentives as we know times are tough for people and the fact that they still contribute in support is something that I am so deeply thankful for. We want to make sure everyone who has supported is personally recognized for doing so.
I finish the same way I started. THANK YOU! Please keep sharing and supporting. My cast and crew are so grateful. We really could not do this without you.
-- Tahyna Tozzi-MacManus
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Read our March 8 interview with Tahyna here:
The Kickstarter campaign for OREN:
Darlene has been an active member of this website and forum for quite a while, and she had the opportunity to take a private dance lesson with Tristan when he was teaching in Ohio earlier this week. She very graciously agreed to share this recap of that experience with us. Enjoy!
As I have mentioned here before I had zero ballroom dance experience so I was a bit anxious to go to my lesson with Tristan – especially since I was a complete novice. The whole drive to the studio I was saying to myself, " I should of had a shot or a drink before my lesson" - haha! (Good thing it was only a 15 minute drive from my house).
I had a lesson with one of the studio instructors right before the lesson with Tristan. This helped me greatly. So when it came time for my private lesson I told Tristan right before hand how nervous I was and he told me not to be - we are just dancing! So we went right into dancing and we went over the rumba, cha cha, & tango. Once we got started I felt more at ease and it went more smoothly then I had imagined. So the lesson was set up for me to dance with the studio instructor so Tristan could watch my movement and technique and give his critiques. Tristan also danced with me quite a bit during the lesson to show me certain things. He had lots of great teaching methods. I tried my best to implement what he was demonstrating and explaining. I’m not sure if I succeeded most of the time, but I do remember all his instructions and tips that I am using as now as I am practicing. The tricks really have stuck in my brain so that's a testament to his great teaching! He was also so nice and patient during the whole process. So of course during the lesson we were really focused on the dancing but had a few laughs, which seemed to be about music and drinking from what I remember!
I just have to say how in awe of his talent even from just the little bits that I saw him dancing at the studio while teaching. We see how awesome he is as a dancer and performer on TV but it’s just something to witness his talent in person. I have even more respect for Tristan and other performers for their dedication and hard work. Again I have to say how great of a teacher he is. He really has a wonderful way of trying to relate steps and movements to what we do in everyday activities.
So it was a great experience and I am happy my husband forced me to do this! My husband was able to sit in on some of the lesson and he was equally impressed by his kindness and talent. The staff at the studio shared this same sentiment, they were all so excited to have him there and to learn from him!
I am grateful that I had this opportunity and glad I stepped out of my comfort zone. I encourage everyone else to do the same if they have the opportunity to dance with the amazing Tristan MacManus.
Could we be any more fortunate than to support someone like Tristan? Thanks for all of the questions you send us, tweet us, and leave here on the site. Since he will be traveling again soon for teaching commitments and Ballroom With A Twist, I only sent a few questions this time, but his answers are thoughtful, insightful, and hilarious! Enjoy this latest interview with Tristan.
In a recent interview with Nikki Lorenzo, we asked her this question: “If you could see Tristan as any particular character or type of character in a film or perhaps being involved in another aspect of the film (production, directing, choreographing, etc.) what would it be?” Nikki said that from what she’s seen she’s impressed with your acting, but based on your conversations, she could see you creating, choreographing, and hosting a dance related show. Which brings us to our question - If you had complete creative over a dance performance live show (in the style of BWAT, Burn the Floor, etc) and you had unlimited resources to create it, what type of show would you have and are there any particular dancers, choreographers, or other performers you would like to join you in this venture?
I have a lot of ideas for different shows that I would like to work on, yes, and I am currently working on a few where I have to be all of the above. I am taking this time to try out a few different things and see where I feel most comfortable. How big or small the projects I am not too sure, and I don’t have any deadlines or time frames to work under. I am just taking it all at my own pace and enjoying working with different writers and directors and producers - but not to the point where anything major is about to happen. I have kicked back a little for a few weeks to spend time with my wife which was long overdue and now teaching and travelling are back in the calendar for a few weeks. Acting is fun for me. I don’t mind doing little bits of this and that but I like doing things where I can just be myself.
Speaking of Nikki Lorenzo, tell us about the “Work That Charm” and “Be My Man” music video experiences?
Nikki is great craic and both videos have been fun to do. Marc Cleary who directs them always has great ideas, and he makes it super fun to do. I usually just rock up and hang out - throw my face on camera for a little and then go home - haha! It’s great to see the process of the 'making of'. For me I enjoy seeing people at work and hearing the ideas and decisions being made and thrown around. I never do too much in the videos which suits me but if it helps at all I’m always happy to, and I learn more from watching them being put together so I have to thank Lorenzo for that one! The main difference though was the first video I had to pretend to drink and play cards and the second one I did drink but no cards!!
You once said that you love to dance but you love even more to entertain. What qualities do you think make someone a good entertainer?
I think the answer to that is quite broad because it’s all based on opinion and everyone gets entertained in different ways but I know for me as a viewer that I need to have an interest in what’s going on and then I like to feel comfortable and included maybe to a certain degree - so that’s what I try do when I’m hosting or dancing, I think. I try to relate to people and maybe talk to them and see what they are interested in and then give an opinion on that or an observation maybe more so than an opinion. I hate being told what to think or do so if someone is entertaining me then there has to be a degree of 'what do you like' or 'what do you think?' if that makes sense. I love when people are so dead set in their ways on something and then start a conversation where I can pretend I feel the complete opposite and see how that pans out – haha. I also enjoy mocking people and laughing at angry people.
Conversely, since everyone also has different ideas as to what makes someone a good dancer, what qualities do you think makes someone a good dancer?
What makes someone a good dancer to me is completely and only based on opinion. People say Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire or Michael Jackson or Usher or anyone is the greatest dancer ever but I just don’t understand how you can say that or even start that argument - it’s ridiculous!! What makes someone a good dancer to you is if you enjoy them dancing but more importantly what make you a good dancer is if you enjoy doing it - that’s all that matters in my book! Good and bad are irrelevant.
You’ve hosted BWAT with several pros, and you do a great job at it. Our question is this: Does the dynamic ever change depending on which pro you are working with? Is there another pro that you are especially comfortable with as you interact with the audience in your Q and A segments?
I think the dynamic changes all the time, yes. even if it’s the same people. I find because certain people react differently when the crowd is different - sometimes they shout, sometimes they sit back, and sometimes they respond and sometimes they don’t. I guess there are a few 'points' or scripts you have to hit but I prefer to just see what comes out and react to that. I like when it’s just two hosting but sometimes there are more and then you end up talking over each other or what not but that’s just my opinion. When it’s quiet I just talk to whoever else is on stage or myself - whatever – haha! I like hosting with Annie. The first couple didn’t work as smoothly as it does now because we are quite different but the more we got used to each other the more it worked. Emma is funny to work with too but we are around each other every day so that’s fine for us. I need to do more with Farbs but then we would have to dance together and he isn’t a very attractive woman...
You have performed in BWAT in many different cities over the last year or so. Is there a particular place or venue that is especially memorable for you? (the building itself, the city, the audience’s reaction to the show, etc.)
I loved Cape Cod. Everything about the place was great. The cast of BWAT really makes the experience so enjoyable so we make it great craic wherever it is. I’d love to go to New Orleans with it - unfortunately I’ve missed a few nice places but I remember things I loved seeing just not too much where they were - It’s weird!!
You’ll be teaching at Fred Astaire Willoughby, OH this week. Do you have any other studio teaching dates scheduled before you pick up with BWAT again in April or any other schedule additions you can share with us?
At the minute I will just be doing a few days in Ohio and then I go to Pensacola/Ft.Walton for a few days [details to be provided] and then it's BWAT. At the minute that’s it but I’m still looking to find more studios to go to.
By the way, your radio interview with Andy Steinhauser of LA Talk Radio was an excellent one, and the casual format suits you well. You’ve said that you love to talk, and you seemingly can talk to anyone but has there ever been a radio or television interview in which you felt at a loss for words or uncomfortable with the structure?
Yeah, Andy is great and I like his format. He asks you questions and you answer as you please which becomes more of a conversation than an interview. I have had a few times, yeah, where it’s a bit awkward on tv and radio stations. TV can be a hassle sometimes because some people have things they want you to say and then a certain way they want you to say it which does my head in. Or when you get fed directions before an interview or whatever - that’s a fist clencher. I know it’s not a major issue – don’t get me wrong - but if you ask a question let me answer it otherwise just answer it for me. That happens, and I won’t name anything but sometimes people want you to read an answer instead of giving an answer. I’m never at a loss for words though –haha!
Now on to the fun stuff:
Your costumes for “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” Jive and “Disturbia” Team Tango Halloween night of Season 13 were pretty outrageous. What’s the wildest costume you’ve ever worn? (for Halloween, an event, costume party, etc)
I’m not really a dress up person. I don’t know why I can never really get into that buzz but I dressed up as an ice cream for a costume party one time for no reason, and when I got there it turned out that it was a Disney themed party that people put a lot of time and effort into so that was awkward........for them not me. I had a great night – haha!
Let’s suppose the unthinkable happened and you had to teach a group lesson to a bunch of MacManiacs/MacLunatics. What would be the dance/song you would choose as you bravely took on this challenge?
I would have to let you all decide what you wanted to do and what you wanted to dance to- probably have to be a faster one. I’d imagine it would be like that scene from Wedding Crashers -SHOUT!!!
In the spirit of the MacManiac party we have going on for St. Patrick’s Day (yes, this is true), would you write us a short poem (rhyming or not) about Irish whiskey?
Whiskey Whiskey yum yum yum
Empty Empty done done done!
I miss you boo hoo hoo
Oh no wait bottle 2.
Now give us some of your favorites/least favorites:
Favorite song by the Beatles - George Harrison- “Here Comes The Sun” is perfect in my eyes
Favorite song by U2- “Desire”
Favorite song by the Rolling Stones -“Wild Horses”/ “Angie”/” Ruby Tuesday”
Favorite Irish musician -Luke Kelly (Raglan Road)
Favorite Movie – ever The Field/ Willow/ Labyrinth
Favorite beverage that doesn’t have Jameson, Whiskey, or Water in the name - Rob Roy
Favorite sport or sports teams other than football - Gaelic Football, Ireland Rugby team
Favorite sports memories - Italia '90 Wold Cup (Ireland penalty shoot out vs. Romania. Also, the year I moved to Boston the Celtics and Red Sox won championships- Boston went off that period - it was quality!!????
(Here is the link to the "Shout" scene from Wedding Crashers. Just imagine the possibilities...
You know what we mean. Those posed photos of the pros and celebrities that are supposed to generate excitement for the upcoming season of Dancing With the Stars. Each season we offer our enlightened commentary on these photos, and this time is no different. We really have no real interest in Season 18 since there was obviously a clerical error when the cast was announced and Tristan MacManus wasn't given a celebrity partner. In fact, most of us aren't even bothering to watch on a regular basis - if at all - but that won't stop us from speculating about the season. As we always do, we're speculating based solely on the team photos. No individual photos were looked at, talked about, or analyzed to death because we saw all we needed to with the images of the Season 18 pairs. This is what we found.
Mark and Candace – She looks beautiful, but since these are dance-related photos, she should be wearing dance-related shoes instead of something from Lord & Taylor. The dress is nice, but she won’t be dancing in that. Mark? His hair…what happened? We thought we must be watching the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air or maybe Mickey Mouse Club because he looks more goofy than edgy and Candace looks fun and flirty. We wouldn’t miss the spats if he lost those too. The best part of this photo is that the clothing choices actually seem to work together and when you look at some of the rest of the couples, you wonder if somebody forgot to do the laundry and grabbed something out of the hamper instead.
Mark likely isn’t the right partner for Candace; Tristan would be so much better and you wouldn’t be seeing “I’m Candace and I’m here and I’m Mark and I’m here” instead of “We’re a team to reckon with.” The other concern is that Mark has a tendency to go a little over the top on occasion with choreography, costumes, and props. We only hope he doesn’t go all Lady Gaga and have the costume department make a meat dress to go along with the spats Candace will likely get stuck with at least once this season.
Sharna and Charlie – We love that Sharna got a great partner, but we don’t love the Charlie/Meryl package deal that will most likely give package results in a predictable, packaged ending to the season. Anyway, we get the reason for the gold lame pants because we’re talking gold medal and all that, but we’ve already been there and done that with those pants, and it’s too soon to recycle them. Besides, if she’s in gold then why isn’t he? We’re not quite sure that these two costumes/outfits/ensembles go together because he looks like a carhop at Sonic who is about to serve a showgirl a chocolate shake. We were surprised at the awkwardness of this photo, and while we still think they are the team to beat, we’re going to have to see some chemistry that knocks our socks off to make them believable. His expression says, “I’m having fun with this thing wrapped around me but I’m not sure what to do with it.” And his feet. Awkward? We know that figure skaters don’t have to point those little toesies, but shouldn’t somebody have pointed that out? (No pun intended.)
Maks and Meryl – Um, individually they look fine but together they do not. And not to be picky but what’s that big hunk of shoe sticking out on her right foot? Couldn’t they find a pair that fits or is it supposed to be like that? Her pink and his maroon don’t work either. I get that they didn’t put him in pink (Thank you, ABC – fast forward to Tony and the hot pink not hot mess) so why not make her a little dark and intense too? We expect pink and perky from her and that’s what we got. Again. Predictable. Also that's a dress that’s a little too “figure-skatey” for us. Then we are wondering if Maks always looks like he wants to devour the camera? He’s supposed to be connecting with his partner not the camera. Those two look like they belong on different planets.
Tony and NeNe – She looks beautiful – that might be the best photo of a female celebrity because she’s glowing and beautiful and curvy. We think the dress might have had a huge impact had it been white but they didn’t ask us. We like that they played up her obvious sensuality but again, where are the dance shoes? Is this supposed to be Dancing With the Stars or What the Real Housewives Wear When Painting the Town Red? Not her fault, however. This was a bonehead ABC decision. The dress looks like it might be Argentine Tango appropriate though, which is a bonus. And then there’s Tony…..Dear, Dear Tony. Why do you insist on wearing bubblegum pink at least once a season? For a dark, passionate AT, the male lead doesn’t wear a frou-frou color that only Barbie should wear, particularly when it makes you look like you have a beer gut. Unless we’re talking Samba or Salsa, hot pink should be illegal for the men. And what’s with the Addams Family hair? This just doesn’t work. And now on to...
Val and Danica – She looks great – for perhaps a questionable profession. We don’t want to start the season with Val and Danica playing the sexy card, but unfortunately, it looks like it’s happening already. Here’s another example of the male Chmerkovskiy playing the intense leading man type while the female celebrity looks like she just heard a funny joke. At least she’s wearing dance shoes although that doesn’t work with the hot pants like one of us wore in the 70s. (Yes one of us did so don’t ridicule either one of us - at least the fabric wasn't pleather). We should also say that SWAT will be eternally bitter because Danica was her dream celebrity for Tristan, and the fact that she’s with Val makes our SWAT want to crawl into a cave and roll the stone shut. Now that the rant is done, but we need to talk why this couple isn’t going to work.
Danica was supposed to be Winnie Cooper – the girl next door. Just because she’s dancing with Val doesn’t mean that we need to be introduced to Stripper Winnie. She is a college graduate and math whiz and she can be sexy and smart without looking slutty. So why must we break out the pleather Daisy Dukes and crop top to make a point? Yes, it’s worth repeating. Hot pants, pleather Daisy Dukes – it’s all the same. T.R.A.S.H.Y. It’s way too soon for trashy. The very different looks on their faces is creepy. It's like the girl who is just happy to be at the prom even having made a misinformed dress/not dress choice not knowing that her date is going to turn into a werewolf once the full moon comes out.
Cheryl and Drew – Now this works. Enough said. There’s our Season 18 champion right there – we wish. Fun, some chemistry, and dance attire, kind of. Drew is one of those partners that they need more of on DWTS, and these two look like they are ready to have fun. Cheryl knows deep down they ain’t winning this thing so why not have a big old time? This is Season 18's version of Emma and Bill but even better. Drew does look great though. He's lost weight and looks like he's in good shape. Good for him. We believe that Cheryl has worn this dress about a billion times but with substantially more fabric on the hip; we’re a little scared of the potential wardrobe malfunction but we can’t see past the glasses to know for sure. Still, we likey. Humor is sexy and we can't wait to see where they go with this.
Derek and Amy - Can’t really comment because there’s no dance attire. We applaud her for going on this journey, but whatever they do on the dance floor, the judges have to judge it on the dance quality and if the dance deserves a 10, give it a 10, but if it deserves a 3, give it a 3. The only photos we have seen don’t show us much – chemistry or otherwise – and it seems like ABC could have managed a quickie photo shoot because, after all, they were already rehearsing as is evident in the photos. It seems weird that they didn’t have one. It also seems that ABC has been focusing all of the early attention on them (along with two other couples), and we think that every person dancing (and every pro – ahem) should get equal time. Sermon over. We don't have a clue on this one because there was no costume to criticize.
Witney and Cody – Sigh. Speaking of awkward. He looks like he’s prepping for a colonoscopy. She looks perky and pink, and we (or at least one of us) hate perky and pink. It’s all wrong for DWTS. We’re supposed to see fun and sexy, passionate and hot, and honestly that bubblegum pink/sometimes lavender look isn’t sexy, hot, or passionate, and it's only fun if the bubblegum doesn’t get stuck in your braces, and both of them look about that old. Anything sexy and attempted passionate is going to end badly. Oh yeah. Her dress isn’t dance worthy either. Make it real ABC because so far we’re not buying into any of it. Our reaction to this photo is a huge, unqualified “Ugh”. We think Lindsay would have been a better choice to be Cody's pro because she has more of the “girl next door” look instead of the “look how much I can mug for the camera” look. The photo pose is okay but we can visualize Witney trying to wrap her legs around Cody's neck in some weird-ass contorted contemporary that makes us cringe. Let’s just hope they do it when she’s not wearing that dress because we don’t need to see what might be revealed.
Emma and Billy Dee – Oh man. This photo is not in our top 10. It’s awkward with a huge amount of disconnect thrown in and yet it could have been fun. Instead of making it interesting, creative, and even crazy, the ABC folks went with costume misses, zero chemistry, and no fun. While we am forever grateful that there is no pink, it just doesn’t work. They might as well be standing on opposite ends of the U.S. Remember when the judges said they didn’t want to see the sexy with Tristan and Nancy and then changed their mind when Tristan and Gladys danced? Trust us. We don’t want to see the sexy with this pair. 50 years is the age difference. They’d better make it fun or it will be a short run. The problem is that this photo isn’t fun. What is that thing wrapped around his neck and why is it there? There are other ways to make stylish and high-necked work but this is all wrong and you don’t have to be Vera Wang to see that. We see Emma being the frontrunner to replace Tristan (and to some extent Jonathan Roberts and Tony) as the pro who will get the celebrity most likely to not draw in the younger demographic. Emma has the happy smile on her face, but she doesn’t look as happy as she was in Season 17 with Bill Engvall. Not to mention that she's dressed in an outfit that has that skin toned latexy stuff that somehow makes her legs look five shades darker than the dress. BDW looks like he's ready to go up to the Lido Deck for the buffet. That doesn’t speak well for dancing prowess.
Peta and James – More pink. Gag. This photo shoot (not just James and Peta) has had so much pink that we have vowed to never again wear pink tutus or dress our kids in pink, and Shakes’ pink polka-dotted sweater just went into the garbage pile. James looks 15. He looks awkward, and the sexy business that we know will be attempted with Peta again this season just ain’t gonna work. He’s handsome, if you like your boyfriends to look 15. Which we don’t. We’re still not even sure why they are partners since they’ve been seen publicly for weeks – doesn’t seems right to us, which brings us to our next point. They keep giving her the young, preppy dudes who like to flash us the Zoolander face. James looks like Val gave him "scary sex stare" lessons, and Peta looks like she's ready to reprise her seasonal showmance. It's getting old. We do think he's dipping her too much though, her head is at a weird angle, and his shoulders and upper back just look weird. Are we picky? Yes we are. We’re still cranky that Tristan isn’t a Season 18 pro so we are entitled to spout off random stuff every now and then.
Diana and Henry – Wow. Diana looks great. But there’s a problem. Again no dance clothes or shoes which is all wrong for a dance photo shoot, and Henry looks downright pained. He looks 12 in the little blue short sleeved shirt. We keep thinking he’s on his way to the movies but dressed to impress the chicks, and he stopped by to get a photo with the famous Diana Nyad. Zero connection. She’s stiff, but that’s okay. They should have her in dance shoes/dance dress, etc. We’re not sure what impression we’re supposed to get here but it’s probably not what ABC had in mind. It pissed us off when they gave Valerie a MuMu last season for the promo pic, yet Diana has on a real dress. Granted she won’t be dancing in it but it’s still better than a tent. Anyway, Diana and Henry. We don’t really see a ballroom dance theme here. It looks like she's wearing something she might wear to a charity gala and Henry is one of the part-time waiters. What's with the 1950's waiter shirts on these men? The two outfits REALLY don’t go together. This would have been a good opportunity to put Henry in a simple white button up shirt and it would look a million times better. Mismatched costumes spell mismatched dancing.
Sean and Karina – After Drew and Cheryl, this is by far the best photo. It captures him, his personality, and Karina’s personality. Thank goodness he probably picked up the costume person who handed him a pink or turquoise shirt and tossed the poor person into the hockey rink because this look works. It’s a good one. Our final two are now set, and the picture is all the proof we need. He’s serious in this; she’s playful. Oddly enough, it works. The only problem is the pants; if the crotch was a few inches lower we might be talking some Hammer Time.
Drew and Cheryl for the win, Sean and Karina in second.
The events of the last week or so have put us all into a bit of a funk, but like Tristan, we shrugged it off and bounced back. Instead of griping and yelling 24/7, we decided to complain only for a little while every day and then put most of our efforts back into doing what we do best – talking about Tristan, promoting Tristan, and making sure the Tristan conversation just keeps going.
We thought long and hard about a topic for this blog, and it was a very easy choice. We are going with the obvious – some reasons why the DWTS viewers and ultimately ABC itself are going to really, really miss Mr. MacManus. As others have said, no current or returning pro can fill the void left with Tristan gone, and nobody else can bring to DWTS what Tristan has brought. ABC made a big mistake in not having him in the Season 18 cast, and here are some of the reasons why.
ABC and DWTS need Tristan in order to counterbalance the massive egos that sometimes take center stage on DWTS. Tristan is never about himself or satisfying his ego; as he has said over and over, he just wants to do a “bit of dancing.” He wants to teach his partner to be the best she can be. That is supposed to be what the show is all about.
Tristan was – and still is – a universally loved pro. You don’t have to be a hardcore MacManiac to love this man. No other pro has never received so much respect from other fan bases, and people just don’t say bad things about Tristan. That’s because he treats every pro, celebrity, or fan with respect. It goes both ways. Sasha Farber said it perfectly. “Everybody loves Tristan.”
Tristan never tries to over dance or outshine his celebrity partner. Ever. Conversely, all you have to do is watch a few DWTS You Tube videos to see the “watch me instead of my partner who still doesn’t get it” syndrome that happens A LOT during the Monday night performances. You’ll never see Tristan do that because it is always about making his partner better and never about making himself the star. He said it best in an interview with us - "I don't have to be a star. I just have to be a teacher."
We haven’t seen the best of Tristan yet. The common theme on social media is that people want Tristan as a pro, and they want him with a contender. If you look at message boards, forums, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and news from the moon, there is pretty much a consensus. Tristan has never had a chance to show his best stuff because he has never had a contender with the skill to let him really dance full out. For some pros, it happens almost every season. For other pros, it might be every other season, but it happens. For Tristan? It has never happened, and the irony is that after seasons full of ringers and the same pros getting those ringers, people don’t even care if Tristan gets a ringer. They just want to see him with someone who might actually have the potential to be a contender. What’s wrong with that? Oh wait. It’s not a fair world and not everyone receives the same treatment. Next.
Tristan always treats his partners well. We always find it incredibly uncomfortable to watch some of the pros becoming frustrated and impatient with their partners. It's a given that every season there are multiple pieces of rehearsal footage where we feel bad for the celebrity because their pro gives them an extra dose of what they consider tough love. Or maybe it’s more like “you already knew how to dance and you’re a ringer, so get with the program." The problem is that the celebrities – ringers or not – are not pros (at least they aren't hired as pros although some have a dance background so extensive that it borders on ridiculous), and the loss of patience and anger from the pro is never, ever justified. Sure, everybody has moments, but some pros have lot of those moments. You just don't see that with Tristan, and we love the rehearsal footage with Tristan and his celebrity because we know that he will do whatever it takes to keep his partner from feeling bad about herself. You just don’t ever see Tristan treat his partners with disrespect and unfortunately, you cannot say that about some of the other pros. I guess DWTS likes the controversy and drama more than good behavior. It’s too bad that controversy and drama aren’t going to help the ratings when people really like seeing role models.
We can't forget about that accent. Tristan isn't the only pro with an interesting accent, but his Irish brogue adds that extra spice that kicks it up a notch. Even listening to him say the simplest things just brings a smile to our faces. Remember "Welcome....come on into me world"? Yeah, we'll never forget it.
Because he is a great, great teacher. He was born to teach. He was born to dance. Put them together and you have a winning formula.
He gets as much inspiration from his celebrity partners as they get from him. With Tristan and his celebrity partners, it really is a give and take relationship. It's not just about showcasing his talents with others; it's about him giving the celebrity a wonderful life experience, and from that his own life is enriched, and he has made that clear over and over again. Who could forget him sitting and watching Valerie struggle with her footwork but at the same time his eyes brimming with tears because her determination really touched him? He sees and understands what is important in the student/ teacher relationship, and he takes it to heart.
His pro dances are pure magic. Sure we have seen many many pro dances over the years. Some are good, and some are downright forgettable. For some reason though, Tristan's pro dances are always something special. No matter what the dance,Tristan tells a story with his pro partner that is memorable, and he doesn't even go to the extreme with wackadoodle overdancing. Even his DaD Samba with Chelsea was smoking (literally and figuratively) and emotionally charged, but at the same time, it was a classic Samba without the excessive bells and whistles that would have made it a non-Samba or a Samba/somethingorother fusion. No crazy spasm dancing, no "what the hell style is that" choreography.
Because the other DWTS promo posters just haven’t had that same kind of pizzazz and wow factor that Seasons 13 and 14 had. Tristan and Kym’s promotional posters were hot enough to melt the polar ice caps. Since then those things haven't even hit lukewarm on the thermometer.
Because the fans want to see him on DWTS. They want to see him dancing every week, they want to see him dance with a contender, and they want him to be treated fairly. That’s not too much to ask, is it? On a show where we see favoritism, predictability, bad behavior, and more favoritism, it seems only fitting that Tristan should be treated with respect. In other words, ABC might want to reciprocate with some of that respect that Tristan has shown them.