We've also posted this on Tristan's Facebook Fan Page but we thought we would give you an opportunity to leave your good wishes here as well. We will keep this going as long as you keep posting - hopefully for many, many weeks.
Best wishes, Tristan and Jennifer!
Tristan took time today to take more of your questions. Enjoy!
We loved your interview on “Freshly Squeezed” on East Coast FM from Bray on Tuesday and thanks for the updates. You mentioned that Jennifer is away and that you will begin rehearsing together on Monday. Do you know your first dance yet and are you getting any time this week to enjoy a bit more of London?
Yeah, I know the first dance and have been trying to finalize how it’s going to go, but again a lot will depend on when we start and also there is a much tighter 'what you can and can't do' in terms of concepts and things here. That’s been a little tricky so far so a lot of compromising will be done I reckon before we get where we want to be.
I’m seeing a lot here for sure, yes but that’s mainly to give my head a break from all the planning and of course to have family time. Rehearsals will start after the weekend and that’s always an unknown as to how it’s gonna go and how much time you spend there but it’s exciting and I’m really enjoying my time here. It’s nice going to work with a smile.
Your partner, Jennifer Gibney, seems like the perfect celebrity for you for many reasons – the sense of humor and the fact that she really wants to learn among those reasons. You have had a bit of time to get to know each other already through group rehearsals, so what are your impressions of her so far?
Yeah, we got to talk to each other a fair bit since the unveiling and then the launch show but honestly I didn't talk once about dancing or the show or what the plans are. We just talked about our families and getting to know each other. Jennifer is a gem. I already have a lot of time for her and her values and I’ve no doubt I will enjoy our time together and our families. Jennifer knows exactly who she is which I think is very important and which sometimes is lost when people are chasing something. This is a major, major thing for me and one which excites me because when you know who you are there is no pretense. You know that you can laugh at yourself because you aren't afraid of what anyone else thinks. I love how her family works together and the balance of fun and work and perspective is what I like surrounding myself with.
What are your impressions of the cast? Did you get to know a lot of the celebrities during the early rehearsals?
The cast are super, yeah. Obviously some I talked to more than others which is always the case. Everyone was meeting each other for the first time, and it started with a group number so there was immediately a sense of togetherness that a team was working together. There are some great big personalities but also quieter people who can hold their own and are very interesting. The cast seem to cover all the bases of personalities and nobody seems to be defined by what they do. There is a lot of good dancing and a lot of very endearing characters so I hope the audience will really enjoy this season.
We once asked you about whom you thought was the funniest pro on DWTS and you didn’t hesitate in telling us it was Sasha Farber. This group on Strictly Come Dancing seems to love to have a great time, so which SCD pros get you laughing on a regular basis?
There are a few for different reasons I guess - I get good banter from Anton daily and Ali is a funny bloke a bit like Sash. Same humor so he is good craic to be around but the rest are all good company. Iveta is great fun. I’ve been around her for a while now with the Vegas show and the cruises so I have a lot of time for her and Aliona is married into Irish so she is a funny one.
Finally, you must be very proud of Tahyna’s film, OREN. We got a sneak preview of it in the trailer (nice to see you in that as well). As you watched that come together from Tahyna’s vision to a Kickstarter campaign into a finished film, what particularly impressed you about the project?
Yeah of course. It’s great to see the reaction being positive. I’m proud of the fact that she had an idea and worked her ass off to make it happen and that through difficult ups and downs and differences of opinions she stuck to it and stuck to her visions and convictions and made a film she wanted to make and how she brought a group of friends together and made it happen. The end product was most impressive, I think. I’m not too familiar with the usual process but for how it looked and how much impact it had to the audience, for the amount of time it took, for the amount of work that went in, for the amount of pride the actors felt, to the amount of satisfaction we got, for now the amount of festivals that are approaching her, that gives me great pride and I can't wait for the next project(s) to come out, which of course being Tahyna are already underway!!
Admin. Note: For more on Tahyna Tozzi-MacManus's film, OREN, go to our Special Feature page which includes our interviews with Tahyna, her blog posts, and photos. http://www.macmaniacs.org/special-feature.html
To view the OREN trailer:
This is a match made in Ireland – or in Strictly Come Dancing heaven, if you will. When the pros and celebrities were paired up on Sunday night's launch show, Tristan’s reaction and Jennifer’s reaction were even better than we could have hoped, and we are probably more excited than they are about what lies ahead, and there are plenty of reasons for that excitement. Read on....
1. Certainly it’s not the only reason to pair them up, and it’s not the biggest reason, but Tristan and Jennifer have a lot in common, a lot to talk about, and a potential long-term friendship in the works. He’s from Ireland, she’s from Ireland, and their respective senses of humor are going to make SCD wish they had thought of this years ago. It’s pure genius, we say.
2. Tristan has always told us that his ideal partner would be someone who wants to learn. He has that. Jennifer said herself that she is embracing every single part of the Strictly Come Dancing experience – the training, the clothes, the makeup, the laughter, the tears….and Tristan’s experience with a very diverse group of celebrity entertainers during his seasons on Dancing With the Stars makes it brilliant because he always makes sure the celebrity enjoys the experience every step of the way. Like we usually do, we drew upon our many interviews with Tristan to explain. He might have been talking DWTS when he said this but it applies nonetheless in this case. “Any given season is that person’s only experience of the show outside of being a viewer and fan, so I want to make it as enjoyable as possible.”
3. Jennifer said that her goal in the SCD experience was to have fun. Oh man, she has the right partner for that. First of all, the DWTS pros said that Tristan MacManus was the funniest pro on the show. Add that to the fact that his past partners loved him because he made things about them and not about himself or overdancing or anything else. We asked him if he had to choose between a celebrity partner who already has quite a bit of dance training and/or experience or a celebrity partner who has little or no dance training and/or experience, his response was what you would expect from him. “If I could choose a partner, anything dance would be the last thing that came into it. If they had a lifetime of ballroom dance experience, and I didn’t like them, I couldn’t think of anyone worse to spend all that time with. I would choose someone with little to none but with a brain of their own and a personality of their own every day of the week – breakfast, lunch and dinner!!”
4. The obvious. Jennifer already has a little endorsement, or at least a recognition of something unique. On the launch show, Darcey was asked about posture and which celebrity she thought might potentially have what it takes to dance beautifully. It was Jennifer. Darcey said that Jennifer has "great poise, a lovely long back so she can really show it off." That’s a great start, and Tristan is the perfect pro to take that advantage and make sure it stands out in their routines.
5. Tristan can laugh at himself and has said to us many times that he loves to laugh. Considering Jenny’s chosen profession, we suspect the same holds true for her. A great sense of humor and the ability to laugh at oneself are, in our opinion, the best catalysts for a successful partnership, and we imagine we will hear great stories. One of our favorite Tristan anecdotes involved his embarrassing moments as a professional dancer. He had previously told us about split pants while dancing and the “Farmer MacManus” story which involved Sasha Farber and Damian Whitewood tucking his socks into his trousers during a Burn the Floor performances, and we were hungry for more. Here is what he said:
“I did a show before - Emma [Slater] was in it as well at the time, and all the lads had a dance with a bunch of half mannequins. The top half was a mannequin and bottom half was like a stand on wheels so we would dance around with these dolls all side by side, but we were all dossing around a bit before we had to go on, so the first lad missed the music cue so we all had to rush on and my mannequin popped off the stand just as I got on stage, so I had to do the whole dance carrying half a mannequin and instead of rolling it between partners, we had to throw the feckin’ thing from partner to partner. It was like a Monty Python sketch.”
This is just the tip of the iceberg – he always has great stories and we always get lots of laughs from them, and when you put him in the rehearsal studio with Jennifer, we might have enough material to write a book.
6. Speaking of laughing, we asked Tristan about what type of film or television show he would most be interested in appearing on if given the opportunity, and his immediate answer was “comedy – always.” Another thing in common...
7. Tristan will appreciate that Jennifer took the leap of faith and decided to embrace the SCD experience. She has already said everything Tristan says below, just using different words.
“Don’t be afraid to try something new because it’s the people who aren’t afraid to try that get the rewards or sometimes it just inspires others to.”
8. He will do everything he can to not only teach but he will make Jennifer’s experience as enjoyable as possible. He has a plan that works.
“Getting to know them [the celebrity partners] is the only way. Production and competition cause things to wander in a certain way, and you potentially end up doing things to win or to get an upper hand. I like to know my partners and try to relate everything to them as opposed to relating it to dancing and techniques and what not. I want them to get better, but I want them to get better by understanding what they are doing - why I like to dance and not about what 'makes me a dancer'. I never concentrated on technique when I went back to dancing. I know it’s very important, but at the same time if I know what I am doing storywise is right or wrong, I will always lean that way before technical.”
9. Tristan always creates a story for every performance, and his system will create some storyline magic on this SCD journey. Jennifer has acting skills to make the story work, and Tristan will make sure it works to their advantage. “I never come up with a concept before I meet my partner. I always have ideas and songs that I want to use, but if they don’t suit our partnership then it’s hard to make them happen! I get to know my partner, and once I hear the song, I either relate it to them or I will come up with an idea that I think they can relate to or can imagine. I try to use word association at certain times to remind steps and feelings. I think when you know your story or know your character then if you forget stepwise what you are doing you won’t lose the character. Some find that comforting; some just forget that too. Haha!”
10. Shallow reason – they are both gorgeous. Enough said.
These are just a few reasons why Tristan MacManus and Jennifer Gibney will work. They are already a team and no matter what name they come up with – Team Ireland, Team Irish, Team Jennistan, Team MacGibney, Team Craic, Team Irish Charm, Team Jennifer, Team Jennifer and Tristan, or a new favorite, Team Don'tMessWithTheIrish. Regardless of the name you give to this duo, they already have massive support pouring in, and we're a little giddy thinking about it all.
Wow! Talk about possibilities! Seven amazing female celebrities, and seven amazing potential partners for Tristan as he gets ready to dance on Strictly Come Dancing.
Honestly, we don’t care who he has because we know the journey will be about a person learning to dance properly, and our guess is that we will see the Dance Purist (thank you, Nancy Grace, for the term) at his finest.
The bottom line is that we want to see Tristan teach and we want to see him dance. It won’t get any better than that. So we are stripping things down to the basics and giving you our thoughts about these seven ladies who will be competing this year - only one of whom will be lucky enough to dance with Tristan.
Pixie Lott has the musical background and experience to go far in the competition, and she is one of the early favorites to win it all. She’s beautiful, talented, and will bring in a lot of viewers. What’s not to like? She is going to bring an incredible energy and theatrical presence - something that we love. Tristan loves to tell a story through dance so this is an intriguing possibility.
Judy Murray loves Strictly Come Dancing and has the energy, personality, and enthusiasm to make a long run into the competition. She is in incredible shape, and her cast photo was stunning. Her smile would light up any room and will light up the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom like none other. That smile + Tristan’s smile = a ratings bonanza.
Caroline Flack should do really well. She’s popular, she has loads of personality, and she has a nice background and she just might make a run to the finish. She has just the right blend of personality and talent to make it work and make the viewers vote for her. She will also likely spend a lot of time laughing if Tristan happens to be her teacher. That’s a given. Just imagine the rehearsal clips.
Sunetra Sarker has intrigued us ever since we heard her name announced, and her lack of dance experience is what we like the most. All the pros are great teachers and she will likely have a blast learning how to Foxtrot and Cha Cha. Tristan is a magnificent teacher and knows how to make the journey about his student and not about himself. Most importantly, Tristan has always said that his ideal partner is someone who wants to learn. And she wants to learn.
Frankie Bridge is another fascinating celebrity, and her music background is a huge plus. We’ve seen a couple of her music videos with The Saturdays, and we think she will move just fine, and with a strong teaching pro guiding her and fine tuning ballroom and Latin dance technique, she might very well be dancing into December. We’re still learning about all of these celebrities but we like her a lot and she has a very engaging smile and positive attitude that make a Tristan and Frankie team a winning combination.
Alison Hammond has just the personality we love – fun, fun, and more fun, and we know Tristan has a wicked sense of humor. (Don't believe us? Just check out one of our interviews with him. He's a natural comedian). Once we heard her laugh on the Red Carpet Launch, we were smitten. Her laughter and sense of humor could lead to some magnificent entertainment with the right partner. Is it Tristan? Could be. Those two could laugh their way right to the Glitterball, and we would be right beside them all the way.
Speaking of laughing, Jennifer Gibney and Tristan could be hilarious. A double dose of wicked Irish humor would create great rehearsal footage and who knows what else. With her background, the stories they could tell through dance would be huge and also believable. Maybe we could see a bit of Irish dancing along the way. Tristan cleverly threw in some of the signature Pips moves (as in Gladys Knight and the Pips) in his Cha Cha with Gladys Knight. Maybe we could see a Tango With A Twist or a Salsa/Irish Step Dance Fusion. Stranger things have happened in Glitterball Land.
Here’s the thing. We are happy that Tristan will be dancing and we will be happy no matter who he dances with on this Strictly journey. We’ve been reading comments over the last few days on our website forum and there hasn’t been a negative comment about any of the celebrities as potential partners for Tristan. Not one.
We’ve been posting there for nearly three years and the posts have been read 535,000 times. We’ve had some highs and lows like you wouldn’t believe, but we are also from the positivity and upbeat camp. Want to know what some of our website members have said the last few days? Here is a sample:
"I am happy that Tristan will be on Strictly and I'm happy with whoever his partner might be. It really doesn't matter to me."
"Tristan is amazing and will work his magic no matter who he's partnered with. I'm just ready for the show to start already! I need the MacManus Magic back in my life."
"I'm happy too that he is on Strictly. I'll be happy with any partner he has and I'll be very vocal about that anywhere and everywhere."
"It's really a privilege to back someone like Tristan. He deserves our ardent and boisterous support! Good thing we're pretty proficient at that."
"If he gets a celebrity who really wants to learn, they will be fine and we will see things we've never gotten to see."
"There is nobody more positive than Tristan and I think it's already showing on Strictly Come Dancing. His happiness radiates and that makes me smile too. SCD is the best thing in a long time."
Tristan is ready to dance, and the MacManiacs are ready to support him and his celebrity partner. We can't wait for another new adventure!
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