Tristan's schedule the last few weeks has been almost non-stop. After 4 weeks of DWTS: At Sea cruises on Holland America, he then did the performances with Gladys Knight at the Hollywood Bowl before going to Canada for 12 shows in 8 days in Dance Temptation. From there, he flew to London where he is now catching up with pro rehearsals for Strictly Come Dancing. Tristan took time on Saturday, August 30 to answer a few questions for us, and we can't thank him enough.
You’ve been rehearsing with the rest of the Strictly Come Dancing pros for about a week. How is that going?
It’s been super - really, really fun - full on for sure. Myself and Trent had a lot to catch up on but everyone has been spot on with us. I couldn't have been helped any more to get settled. The pros are solid. I have been really made feel at home straight away, and the pros I never met before have treated me like I’ve known them for years so I’m really happy to be here and already feel very much at home with the cast. It’s just a very positive environment to be in, and everyone is very genuine and excited about the new season.
You’ve danced before with many of the SCD pros. How has it been catching up with them and since we love a good story, have there been any funny moments so far that you can share? If not a funny story, any story will do – we aren’t particular.
Yeah, I have worked with the majority of the dancers before so we have been catching up on old times and what not. There hasn't been too much messing around just yet to be honest. We had a lot to learn this week so everyone has been making sure we get our melons around that first but it’s a good bunch with a great sense of humor so I can see us having the craic once we get going. Myself and Trent people keep mixing up so I reckon if I get in any trouble I’ll be using that name a lot more than my own!
Obviously it’s a new experience, but after six seasons on Dancing With the Stars and now on to Strictly Come Dancing is there anything that stands out for you as being particularly different, challenging or unusual or is it just business as usual?
Well, so far it’s all been new, yeah. I’ve made a conscious decision to make sure I'm not comparing anything because it’s all very different and the circumstances don't match up so it’s no use. It’s very much about the celebs here so far which is the way it should be. We all learn a routine together before the pairs are even announced so it’s great to get to meet everyone at the get go, and there is no motive of grabbing the one you want - haha. There are some great personalities here this year. I can't compare with any previous seasons but everything is very positive and there is no competitiveness just yet which is refreshing. I'm sure it may change next week - haha - but at the minute it’s actually just nice to sit in a room and not 'talk shop'.
You probably haven’t had much free time, but have you had a chance to reacquaint yourself with London at all? You always have good Pike stories – how is he liking London?
No, not just yet. It’s pretty much been studio and bed. It’s difficult with the amount of hours I’m working at the minute so making sure I get family time each night and go do something together and get to play with Pikey as well has been all we have had time for. My sister came over for a few days now as well so not too much getting around at the minute. I was full of booze all the time I lived here last so it’s gonna be nice to take it all in this time round.
We record the launch show this week and then we should know the plan of what’s gonna happen and then we will make sure we make the most of our time here. Pikey loves it here though he won't leave us be. When I finally get home he sits on us all the time and just wants to be included in everything but he is walking up to make friends with any animal he sees which is a change because before now he has been scared of everything. We forget he is still a pup.
The launch show tapes this week and airs on Sunday, September 7, and that is when you will find out who your celebrity partner will be. Are you looking forward to this new format? (not just for the launch show necessarily but for the show overall)
Looking forward to the launch show, yeah. It’s different but I think it’s a great idea. We get to rehearse and hang around with everyone at the beginning which is nice because it may be the only time we can. In Hollywood we have the studios where four to five couples rehearse together daily or at least in the same building where as here it is pretty separate which isn't necessarily a bad thing but it’s just the first major difference so it’s nice I think for people at the start. As well with it being a launch 'show' and not just an unveiling it gives the celebs a look into how it will be once they actually start the show because they have worked with the pros together to learn a routine and see how the live show works and going from studio to live studio and having an audience before the 'competition' starts. We have met a few people from each department already as well so wardrobe and hair/make-up seem like a great bunch, and I love the banter and humor here. It’s a lot more relaxed and offensive here – hahaha! I love it!
We have interviewed Tristan more than 2 dozen times, but this one from November 30, 2013 was a little different – and started a trend. He probably regrets saying that we should send him ridiculous, silly, or funny questions, because that’s what we did, and we've been doing it off and on ever since. We had plenty of laughs, and this one is so good that we brought it back one more time. Over the next few weeks, we will be reposting many of our early interviews, and we think you will enjoy this chance to get to know Tristan a little better or to take a little stroll down memory lane. Enjoy!
What is the biggest practical joke you ever played on someone? What is the biggest practical joke played on you? Was Sasha Farber involved in either of these?
Tristan: "To be honest I’m not much of a prankster - I like funny things happening and I make fun of people in a nice way but I don’t set up pranks. I like to scare people so I hide a lot. I know it's childish but it’s very, very funny to me - haha!! I don’t scare Sasha much but we try to make each other laugh or feel uncomfortable at inappropriate times. That’s always fun to do."
Considering some of the interesting costumes you’ve worn on DWTS, if you were forced to wear the sailor suit or guyliner again, which would you choose as the lesser of two evils?
Tristan: "Tough one. I dislike both equally as much but it is what it is. Sometimes I actually don't mind wearing that gear - obviously not at the weekend - I mean at work!!! If it works for whatever I'm doing, but I don't go out of my way to ask for sailor suits and eye liner! I hate tight pants; it wrecks my head when it looks like I'm wearing children's clothes - Haha! Skinny jeans and all that garb suit some people, but I am not one of those people."
How does it feel to have a Twitter account that honors your hair? (In case you haven’t seen it, it’s hilarious and it is called @TristansBedhead.)
Tristan: "I think it’s very strange! Ha! More so considering how much I neglect it, it probably tweets just as much as I do!!!! I couldn’t imagine how that would work but if you have taken the time to set it up or participate in - whatever it does - thank you! It encourages me to continue to pay no attention to it - don’t get me wrong, the hair is very clean!!!"
On the off chance that we get to look inside your refrigerator, what fascinating things might we find?
Tristan: "Nothing strange - haha- but the house is always full of porridge and bread. I have this weird thing where I love making bread!! Haha! I also love emptying and finishing off packets of things so I generally try make a lot of things just to use up ingredients ."
We all love the bright blue shirt you’ve worn a couple of times for the bumpers on DWTS. Care to raffle it off to one lucky MacManiac? Or perhaps the suspenders from your Cha Cha with Nancy? Or a lock of your hair?
Tristan: "You can have whatever they will give you - the hair???!!! I always wondered what people do with locks of hair when they get them - Haha! I know people sometimes keep their child's first hair cut or something, but I don't know about adult hair collecting for pleasure...I hate getting haircuts, but I love getting it washed in the hairdressers (is that weird?)"
Let’s talk Karoake Bar. You’re there, you might have consumed a few beverages, you pick the song. What will it be?
Tristan: "Doesn't happen! I sing when nobody is listening, and then when people stop to listen I stop too! But I love "Walking in Memphis" and I love country music and "Piano Man" always gets lashed out of it in the house when the whiskey is flowing."
What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
Tristan: "It depends on what you think strange is - haha! I’ve laughed on stage a lot instead of what I’m supposed to do. I guess that’s strange or I have talked for so long I forgot what I was there to do."
What is the most trouble you got into when you were a kid, and if we asked your mother would she say the same thing?
Tristan: "I wouldn’t want to encourage anyone to do any of the things I did as a kid so I will keep them to myself - the people who know about it are the people who were there with me and the people who caught us. Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies!! Let’s say my ma knows what she knows and I know what I know. Haha!"
Tell the truth - have you ever danced the Macarena, the Funky Chicken, or anything Gangnam Style, and if so, is there a video and where can we get it?
Tristan: "I’m sure at some stage the Macarena was danced and the chicken thing as well. Certain things happen that sometimes require you to dance these things with the kids, but all that Gangnam is a horrible, horrible thing. I dislike it a lot - like the fox thing - it irritates me so I have never and will never do that, no."
Some people have elevated you to superhero status, so the next logical question is – Of all the superheroes, which one are you most like? (or which one would you most like to be like?) If superheroes aren’t your thing, what about a Disney or cartoon character?
Tristan: "Haha - I dont know about that. Thor was always my favourite as a kid but I think maybe The Hulk because of my temper when it goes off, but that’s very rare these days. Haha! I wish I could be Cu Chulainn though - best hero of them all. I do like superheroes."
What is your favorite “sing in the shower at the top of your lungs” song?
Tristan: "Faithfully by Journey - hahaha!"
On a scale of 1 to 10, how are your bartending skills?
Tristan: "Working it - 1. Keeping it busy - 10."
What is the strangest thing a fan has ever done? (other than ask you these questions, we mean)
Tristan: "Some have been very rude to my misses on occasion. To me that is very, very strange. I appreciate that people enjoy the work I do and think I am a nice person but I find it strange when with one look someone can praise me for being so nice to people and then in turn be so rude themselves to someone who makes my life so worthwhile. That’s a bit too serious as an answer maybe."
What makes you squeal like a girl? (mice, spiders, stuff like that)
Tristan: "Football and people touching my arse. Hahahaha! I hate it!"
If you were to create a twerking instructional video, which of your fellow pros would you ask to assist you in this creative endeavor?
Tristan: "This is something that will never ever ever happen."
Which MacManiac do you fear the most?
Tristan: "It’s a toss up between the one who wanted the hair – hahaha - and the one in the tree outside."
If you could describe the MacManiacs with any five words, which words would you use?
Tristan: "Loyal, O-mazing, Vocal, Epic, Devoted"
Lots of you are leaving messages for Tristan on the Facebook Fan Page, but several people have asked if they could post here instead. Feel free to leave a message for Tristan in the comments section below or on the Facebook Page here: https://www.facebook.com/TristanMacManusFanPage
Thank you to our new website member, Emma, who kindly shared her Dance Temptation experience with us. What an amazing show! We think you will enjoy what she has to say.
I have watched Dancing With the Stars off and on for years, but I never invested much time or energy into following it. I watched for the people who interested me and avoided it if I was bored. I was aware of Tristan being on the show, and when he was dancing with Nancy Grace and Gladys Knight I always made sure to view the performances on You Tube, and I tried to watch all of his pro dances. I was especially touched by his weeks dancing with Valerie Harper, but honestly, DWTS never held a lot of appeal for me, and Tristan was about the only dancer that I wanted to see see week after week.
My husband and I planned a trip to Niagara Falls months ago and in the strangest of coincidences, we heard about Dance Temptation. I remembered Edyta Sliwinska and Alec Mazo from DWTS performances so I was all for seeing what they had created in this show, but when I heard Tristan would be dancing, I admit to becoming a little fangirly.
The show wasn’t overly long but it was long enough so that we could see a story unfold before our eyes. Most of Tristan's dances were with Peta, but he danced with another dancer as part of a group number, and I believe that was the Jive. His dances with Peta were the Paso, Rumba, Tango, and maybe Contemporary (with some other things I can’t recall), but the story flowed so beautifully that I was engrossed in the performances and didn't care too much about the style. They were that good. There is just something that happens when Tristan gets on the stage – some call it magic, I suppose. I call it having incredible talent and being a master of characterization. He becomes his character and there is nothing fake about it.
There were a lot of very well known dancers in this show and that is why it is a first-class production. I was also pleasantly surprised to see Tristan's fellow Strictly Come Dancing pro, Trent Whiddon, on stage. I can’t wait to see Tristan and Trent wow the Strictly Come Dancing audiences. It WILL happen.
David Hernandez and Holly Tucker brought a freshness and a new energy to Dance Temptation, and I think both of them have talents we have yet to see. I had seen them on American Idol and The Voice respectively but seeing them in person was a special experience.
But Dance Temptation is what made me go right to MacManiacs.org and join their fun. I spent the better part of Sunday reading what has besaid about Tristan MacManus, and apparently the talk has been going on almost 3 years! Clearly I’ve been missing out on something special. So as Tristan leaves to go to London for Strictly Come Dancing, I can only imagine the surprises in store for the viewers in the UK. Let’s just say that I am now a MacManiac and happy to be one. I will make sure all of my friends in the UK are watching and voting, and I’ll be right here in the USA supporting as loudly as I can.
Patty has been a member of MacManiacs.org for a long time and has traveled great distances to support Tristan and see him perform. She saw Dance Temptation at the Fallsview Casino Resort on August 16 and was kind enough to share that experience with us. Thank you, Patty!
It was a great show! I’ll try to give everyone a short recap. The theatre is quite nice. It is separate from the casino and holds a decent crowd but not too big. David Hernandez from American Idol narrated the show. It was loosely based on a story of star crossed lovers (Tristan and Peta) as they worked out their relationship. Tristan and Peta danced short versions of a Paso, Argentine Tango, Rumba, and something else.
Tristan danced with the entire corps in the first number of the night to “Proud Mary.” He just lit up the stage. Remember the bad boy in the Rumba with Nancy Grace? That was him.
There were an amazing number of dance numbers with various other dancers including one from SYTYCD. I apologize that I forgot his name but he did a lot of hip hop and had a great sense of humor. Peta was lovely and wore some gorgeous costumes.
All of the dancers were exceptional – they were all American or World Champions, and it showed. The show lasted a little over an hour and some of the dancers were on stage for a vast majority of the time. You have to have a lot of stamina for this type of show.
Both vocalists were quite good. The female was Holly Tucker who was on The Voice. Sorry but there was no program and I haven’t watched American television in a very long time so I’m a little fuzzy on the names.
There is at least one other dancer in the show who is on Strictly this coming season, so Tristan won't be the only one playing catch up. Tristan says they've been studying videos of the pro dances which the others have already started rehearsing. Apparently they are learning all of the pro dances first and then will just have to review them the week they will perform them. Makes sense to me. I wasn't able to meet Tristan that night [Saturday, August 16] but was fortunate enough to talk to him this morning [Sunday, August 17] and he seems to be pretty happy staying busy and gainfully employed through at least December. It truly is a joy to watch him on stage. I hope I will have the opportunity to watch Strictly via YouTube this season.
We loved all the photos coming our way of you doing a little dancing with Gladys at the Hollywood Bowl. Would you tell us about the performance and how the group of you, Sasha, Henry, and Artem came together for these shows? Did you fly back a couple of days early from the DWTS: At Sea cruise?
Yeah, it was wild - really fun. Gladys had contacted me a few weeks back to choreograph a few numbers which I was obviously delighted to do but I had very little time with my schedule to put much together for us so we just did a wee bit from our Cha-Cha and then Farbs put some moves together for the guys, and we got Artem and Henry involved. It was amazing. I had never been to the Bowl before so it was a perfect way to say goodbye to LA. We did the show Friday and Saturday and then I went again last night [Sunday, August 10] to watch Glen Hansard play so I spent my last three nights dancing and watching shows in the Hollywood Bowl.
17,500 people at the Hollywood Bowl and Kool And The Gang played as well so they were great nights, and a super band called The Head And The Heart played Sunday.
You’ve been on the DWTS At Sea cruises the last couple of weeks. Were there any changes in the show this time around? What numbers were you a part of?
The show was a wee bit longer this time because we had Emma and Kym onboard so for me it was just different partners for certain numbers. I danced to “Johnny B Goode” with Ems and Sabrina and then “Sing Sing Sing” and went back in the show with Sabrina (Paso, Cha Cha again), Foxtrot with Ems, “Vogue” with Carson - mostly the usual but I guess I did every second dance on this run so it kept me busy!!
Also, there are still 2 more cruises later this year and you are still listed as a performer. Since you will be on Strictly Come Dancing this fall, will you still be part of the cruises or is that tentative at this point?
I won't be a part of the cruises, no. We will still be recording Strictly, which is a shame but I think for longevity of the show it’s best that I don't do them all anyway. It’s great for me to be on it all the time, and the cast is the best. I love working with them all but I think when you want to keep a show running it needs either a shake up in the show run or a shake up in the cast so maybe in the future who knows, but not before the end of the year I wouldn't imagine but stranger things have happened - ha!
Emma Slater posted a short Instagram video of you back at the Lumberjack Show in Alaska. You mentioned in our last interview how much you enjoyed it. What is it that you like so much? (It seems like great fun)
I just do. It’s funny. The crowds love it and get really into it (well, at least me and Brent [Borbon] do!!). It’s just great. Like Medieval times you go hard or go home – haha. The challenges they do in it are very entertaining and I’d love to give it a go but it’s just entertaining - easy to watch, always have a laugh, and you can scream your lungs off for an hour and a half.
Well, the fan page hit 15,000 likes this week, and a lot of people are looking forward to your debut on Strictly Come Dancing. You’ll be jumping right in after Dance Temptation but it is an exciting time. How hard is it to “catch up” - in something like learning the group performances for Dance Temptation and in catching up on the SCD pro performances which begin rehearsals next week? We’re sure you’re used to it, but how do you go about getting caught up?
Things are hectic at the minute for sure. A lot is changing and there are a lot of things to organize with very little time so it’s been difficult playing catch up for the last few months but sure there were so many times when I had nothing to catch up on so I’ll kick on while it lasts. It’s difficult having five or six different shows running in your head and trying to remember the right one when you come in to a new cast already behind so it’s not ideal. But I’m very grateful to be getting offers right now that I have been working hard for. It will all come together and then when I finally get some down time I will take it. I’m in Niagara Falls now. I was in Alaska last week and then the Hollywood Bowl and next I’m going to London. Sure what do I have to be complaining about! There is no formula really to catch up. I’m trying to get some sleep for now – that’s the biggest thing. If I’m mentally tired I’m just not there. I can work through being physically tired to a point but when my mind shuts off I’m finished.
The cast of Dance Temptation is unreal so it’s great to try fit into something like that when everyone else is so on it.
A few favorites/quick answers
Funniest thing that happened this summer on DWTS: At Sea
What happens at sea stays at sea – haha! We always have great fun on the cruise. Like I said, the cast is amazing, everyone is genuinely sound, and I get on with every one of them which is rare in a company so I couldn't speak any more highly of the cruise. We laughed every day so I couldn't pick.
Favorite city you’ve visited this year
For sure, Sydney. I just got married there 7 months ago now so nothing is beating that although I can't wait to finally get back to Dublin. I can't wait for Christmas at home!
Favorite place in London
I don't really have a favorite place to be honest but I love going to Shakespeare’s Globe. I just love that place and London Tower I guess is pretty cool - Covent Garden and Notting Hill. I’m planning on seeing a lot more of it this time round. Last time I was there was pretty much bars, pubs and bed – haha. Tahyna has only been there for a couple of days when I danced with Katherine Jenkins so now we can go see the place together but for sure I’ll be making a few trips up to Elland Road to watch Leeds.
A five word description of Gladys Knight
'Mary' is amazing. I have a lot of time for her. She is funny - very funny and caring and genuinely interested and supportive of what I do and how my family are. She really has a 'family' who she tours with and every single one of her band and management and security and actual family members really accept myself, my wife, and my friends into theirs which says an awful lot about Gladys. I couldn't do her justice in five words! She always introduces me as her partner- haha - and I love it. She calls and leaves voicemails that crack me up and is always concerned about me. I am very lucky to call her my friend.
How excited are you about started on Strictly Come Dancing? (Your fans and supporters are at about 563 on a scale of 1-10.)
I can't wait to get started. I don't really know what to expect but I’m excited and I like that feeling of a fresh start. I needed a change and I think a lot of change is going to be happening over the next few months and getting to experience what I know the Strictly dancers love and appreciate is something to be excited about. Just got to take it all in and get to explore a new country again.
Until next time, Tristan!
Tahyna Tozzi-MacManus is the writer and director of the new film OREN. In March, 2014 she spoke with us on several occasions about this project, and today she kindly gave us an update. (For links to the earlier interviews and blog posts, see the end of this post).
Update from Tahyna Tozzi-MacManus
Thank you for everyone’s continued support and interest in OREN. Here is a brief update.
We almost have a finished film! We have done it in lightning bolt speed. Many people outside the film world have a hard time processing that because it can take months or even years for a film to be “complete," however, OREN is almost there.
We were fortunate enough to showcase it to cast and crew just over the weekend and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Next step is packaging for festivals. Public viewing of the film is often prohibited until the festival run is over. I guess that is a good thing, right - the idea of premiering your film at a major festival!
I really want to share it with all the Kickstarter supporters, but I know they want what is best for the film so I am hoping to do an LA screening as soon as it has done all it can do! Kickstarter incentives have been sent so keep an eye out in the mail. Share, tweet, Instagram – we really love hearing from people who generally are happy and supportive of what we do!
OREN will be launching a website soon with more pictures and information. As soon as the site is up and running I’ll be happy to share it along! Again, thank you for the continued support.
I have a few other films up my sleeve now which I am working on and that is keeping me very busy. All my crew and team are also working on projects (obviously because they are all incredible). We have lots in the pipeline so we are very happy you could come on the ride with us.
For our earlier features on Tahyna and OREN:
On August 8-9, 2014, Gladys Knight performed at the Hollywood Bowl, and for us it was even more special because she danced not only with Tristan (her Season 14 partner on DWTS), but also with Tristan’s fellow pro dancers Sasha Farber, Artem Chigvintsev and Henry Byalikov. We wondered how it all came together, especially since Tristan was away on Holland America’s Dancing With the Stars: At Sea for most of the week! We discovered that Sasha was the choreographer behind the performance, and he told us a little about it today.
Sasha: "I had a meeting with Gladys Knight while I was on my own tour which worked out great because we were in the same city at the same time. She told me exactly what she wanted and three days later I stared working with her and teaching her all that she needed to learn. I would work with her for two hours before the rest of the boys [Artem and Henry] would come in, every day for five days. Gladys is so much fun to work with and such an amazing woman - she never wants to stop and have breaks. Tristan was on the cruise ship so I emailed him the video footage so he could learn it. Tristan arrived the day before the show.
It was such an incredible moment being on stage with Gladys at the Hollywood Bowl with an audience of 17,400 people. It’s one of those days I’ll never forget. And to get to choreograph it was just a dream come true!"
Video from the Hollywood Bowl: https://www.youtube.com/watchv=CkKRujItMc0&feature=youtu.be