Five years ago today, MacManiacs.org was launched, and what a wild five years it has been.
This all happened just after Tristan and Nancy Grace finished their run on DWTS Season 13. We started off with a few pages that included some videos, photos, blog posts, and the forum. That forum, MacManiaLand, was and still is the cornerstone of the site and our busiest page. With currently nearly 1,310,000 views, it continues to evolve. We talk about anything and everything – except politics or controversial topics – and we have fun every single day. We’ve made friends, many of us have gone together to see Tristan in one show or another, and we’ve worked together on interviews, blog posts, and forum ideas. Several brave souls volunteer their time to monitor the forum for the occasional troll or naughty behavior. Others run various threads and keep conversation moving, and somehow it all works. Sadly, we have also lost a few of our members, but they are certainly not forgotten.
If I tried to tell you everything we’ve done here since the beginning, you would be reading for days, so I’ll give you the condensed version. Since July, 2012, we have interviewed Tristan a total of 62 times – yes, 62. As long as he is willing to answer our questions, we will keep sending them. We have also been fortunate enough to interview Tahyna MacManus, Oksana Dmytrenko Platero, Kristina Rihanoff, Emma Slater, Sasha Farber, Jasmine Takacs, Antonio Martinez, Jason Leppert, Nikki Lorenzo, Henry Byalikov, Andy Steinhauser, Fiona Whyte, Risa Kaplowitz, and Gina Carbone – and that’s not all.
Different pages come and go and we try to switch things up now and then. It’s the forum where things really happen and yes, we do talk about Tristan – a lot – but we do lots of other things as well. Much of that is completely random.
For example, we do trivia better than anybody. We have had more trivia threads than we can count on many different subjects that include movies, television, music, DWTS, SCD, Tristan, and even trivia about our forum.
We’ve talked about dances we loved and dances we hated. Most of us have an aversion to shirtless dancers, skimpy costumes, sheer anything, and costumes with yellow feathers, excessive sparkles, sequins, and rhinestones.
It’s safe to say that we use social media but the majority who took our poll don’t like it for the most part and don’t use it often or regularly.
Polls. You name it, we’ve done it. From the serious to the silly, here are just a few results.
*Props in dances – Most of us can’t stand them.
*Theme Weeks – a big no.
*Extra backing dancers in pro/celebrity dances – Hell no.
*Len Goodman is our favorite judge from either DWTS or SCD.
*Of all the songs Tristan has mentioned in our interviews, our forum members named “Hollywood Nights” as their favorite.
*Of the Charleston, Samba, Merengue, and Viennese Waltz (yes, we realize that is an odd combination), more of us feel we are least suited for the Viennese Waltz. (I guess the word elegant and ballroom-like isn’t in the dictionary definition of “MacManiac.”)
*We agreed with Rolling Stone’s 2011 #1 ballad all-time choice of “Stairway To Heaven” – even though our lists of top ballads didn’t match their list. We decided to play nice and vote based on their choices.
*Our forum members preferred Hairspray over Grease or Mamma Mia. (Another random poll)
*It’s a toss-up as to the favorite song by a girl group – “Alone” by Heart or “Eternal Flame” by the Bangles.
*We took five songs used for pro numbers on DWTS, and the one we most wanted to see Tristan dance to is “Rock This Town” as performed by the Brian Setzer Orchestra.
*We talk a lot about important things like ice cream and there was no definitive favorite although Double Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter and Chocolate pulled a couple more votes than the rest.
*We want to see Tristan dance a Samba with Oksana Platero or Karina Smirnoff, a Rumba with Oti Mabuse, Kristina Rihanoff, or Edyta Sliwinska, and an Argentine Tango with Cheryl Burke. In addition, we think Karina Smirnoff is the most entertaining female pro.
*The dance we most like seeing Tristan perform is the Jive.
*The ballroom dance we most like to see performed (by Tristan or anyone else) is the Foxtrot, and the chosen Latin dance is the Samba (followed closely by the Cha Cha and Jive).
*Our randomness continues with our favorite “school” song (song with the word “school” in the title) – “Be True To Your School” followed by “School’s Out” and “Rock N’ Roll High School.”
*Our forum members love NCIS, Sherlock, and Hawaii Five-0, snd only a few have seen Outlander. We also love sports.
*We even did a survey on ABBA songs (sorry, Tristan), and the winner was “Dancing Queen” by a large margin.
*From a list of five random pro dances Tristan was in on DWTS and SCD, we would most like to see “Dark Side/Stronger” again.
*As far as dances we think suit Tristan’s personality? We chose the Jive and Foxtrot.
*Our favorite songs by the Eagles are “Hotel California” and “Desperado.”
*And then there are the “crazy” songs…our favorites? “Crazy” by Patsy Cline, “Crazy On You” by Heart, and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen. For the “wild” songs, we chose “Wild Thing” by The Troggs, “Wild World” by Cat Stevens, and “Wild Horses” by the Rolling Stones.
*The madness continued. We loved songs with “eyes” in the title and the poll winner was “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison followed by “My Eyes Adored You” (Frankie Valli). “City” songs? “Philadelphia Freedom” was our choice. “Dreams”? That winner was “Dream A Little Dream Of Me” by the Mamas and the Papas.
*And when we asked the forum members that if Tristan actually was willing to do the MacManiac group dance to “Shout” from Wedding Crashers (he chose the song incidentally, not us) would they do it? You betcha. There was a 100% “yes indeedy” vote.
Like I said, we talk about almost everything and do polls and surveys just because we like to have something for everyone who comes to the forum. We never, ever run out of things to talk about. We do random better than anyone.
We talk about traveling and our travels, where we would like to go and where we have been. We have a thread dedicated to photos of Ireland and another for photos of other wonderful places on our planet. Yet another is devoted just to Oksana Platero and Judge Rinder on Strictly Come Dancing because they are just pure fun and make us smile, and everybody needs to smile a little more, right?
With more than 100 threads (and a large number have been deleted over the last few years just because we wanted to) topics are varied to include lots about Tristan but just as many about other pros, dancing, entertainment, and a subject near and dear to us – food. In other words, we have a good time, we don’t take ourselves too seriously, and we don’t let the trolls come in and ruin the fun.
We’re going to making a few changes to the website over the next few months and you might see some new pages and definitely some new forum threads. We all came together in our support for Tristan, and that is what we will keep on doing. It’s been so much fun these first five years, and huge thanks to all of you who have made it happen. Special hugs to those who have been with us since the early days and those who are giving us record views these days and everyone in between who stopped in for a quick peek at the site.
We hope you will all Cha Cha or Waltz over and say hello. Fun is never overrated.
In honor of the fifth anniversary of this website's launch (November 29, 2011), we asked three of the forum members who have been with us since the very beginning to come up with questions for Tristan for a new interview. As always, Tristan happily answered them and also sent along a very sweet message for all of you who have kept the site thriving for the last five years. Since our forum recently surpassed 1.3 million views, his messages are especially meaningful to us all. We will keep going as long as you keep showing up here! Thanks to Babs, Jamie, and Carol for the great questions, and thank you to everyone who supports Tristan and this website.
Message from Tristan
"I can't believe it's been five years this website has been running. You guys are unreal! Thank you so much for showing interest in something so uninteresting as my life - hahaha. All the best to you all and keep enjoying the show and focus on what makes you happy!
Congrats on keeping all your forums and stories so interesting and enjoyable for everyone - whether it's related to me or not. I'm glad you guys have found each other - 'keep her lit!' "
You and Tahyna were the hosts of Elena Samodanova’s Ballroom Superstars Dance Ball on October 22. Would you tell us a little bit about that and how it came together? Do you have plans to do future work with Elena?
Yeah, we did Elena’s show, and we had a blast. It just happened over dinner, to be honest. We were out with the kids, and Elena was talking about the show. We said we would help out however they needed us, and then she asked if we would host it which we were more than happy to do. We are glad we did. We met some great dancers there, and Elena and Alex had put together a great show so you never know - we may do more in the future. At the time, it was just a new show, so it’s always difficult to get going and there are a lot of costs involved. We were happy to help our friends out.
[Note: The following 2 questions regarding Shall We Dance on Ice and any additional time in the U.S. were asked and answered prior to Tristan having to withdraw from the show due to injury.]
You are listed as being one of the professional dancers in Shall We Dance on Ice in Las Vegas in December. That is another incredibly talented cast of performers in music, skating, and dance. Do you have any more details about this yet or do you know what type of rehearsal will be involved prior to the show?
I’m not too sure as yet – still waiting to hear what the plan is, but I’ll be dancing with Chelsie so I’d imagine I will come into town a few days in advance and put some things together and then when we get to Vegas, we will rehearse with the cast and learn the group numbers together. I know one or two of the skaters who I met while dancing with Dorothy but most of them I will be meeting for the first time as they did the show after I had left.
Do you have plans for other performances or teaching while in the states? Will you be staying for a while this time?
No plans, no. I don't think I will be doing any this time round.
First, it was wonderful getting to see you perform again in Dance To the Movies back in August. We loved the cast, concept, and show itself. What did you like about this show? What were the standout numbers for you?
Yes, Dance To the Movies was great. Just like BWAT, the cast are great and so down to earth. I always enjoy spending time with them and I hadn't seen Karina, Chelsie, or Jon for a long time so that was good to catch up. I loved the James Bond numbers because I love the music, but I know Kiki and Magda usually do the section I did and I miss seeing those guys and would have loved to see them do it. The cast had a few new guys I hadn't met before either, and that energy is always great when a new cast comes together.
Do you have any plans to return to the U.S. for the spring tour of Dance To the Movies or are your plans still up in the air at this point? Do you have other things in the works right now?
You never know what’s going to happen, but I have chronic knee pain and slipped discs in my back and neck that flare up so much that the thought of it isn't that appealing to me. I have a job in Sydney I really enjoy so that’s what I am concentrating on at the minute.
A lot of people have asked us about Dancing with the Stars Ireland. Have you been approached about being involved or do you know anything about the structure and similarities/differences to DWTS US and SCD? Would you like to be involved in some way?
Yeah, it’s good that they are finally doing one in Ireland. I was surprised when it was announced as I hadn't heard anything about it until I got messages from Ireland asking about it, and I had been contacted about it later on to be involved but again I have a job that I enjoy here that I had committed to. It would mean leaving that and moving my family again for three months or whatever it is. It’s been a long time since we could actually get settled somewhere, and I absolutely love Sydney. I always wanted to be a part of a show in Ireland but everything has to be right for all parties to make that work. I think the show will do very well, and I'm glad it’s happening and I'm glad it’s giving Irish professionals a platform to show our talent. It really is about time, so I’ll be happy to help out which they know but not in a full time capacity at this stage for that amount of time.
Have you followed what’s going on with the pros and celebrities on DWTS and SCD this year or is it a case of out of sight, out of mind?
I haven't seen too much to be honest, but I’m still in touch with most of the crew on Strictly, and Oti and I talk a lot. I had to reach out to Laura being a Bray head, then obviously with DWTS I talk to Farbs and Emma so I’m delighted he is doing so well but no, I don't watch the show. Tahyna loves it though. I’m sure I never watched it when I was in it myself. HAHAHA
You occasionally performed non-Latin and non-Ballroom dance styles on DWTS/SCD. Have you ever trained in any of these other areas or did you just learn it as you went along?
No, I never trained in any other style. I’m actually surprised you had to ask that – haha! I learned them when I had to, but all these styles I prefer to watch. I don't feel comfortable doing them or really enjoy it too much, but I appreciate people who do and I love to watch anyone do a style they love. The only other style I ever had an interest in really was tap. I never did it, but I love it. The rest I can enjoy as a spectator. I have never had a critical eye, so I can enjoy shows and numbers for what they are. There is nothing worse than people picking out things wrong with something you are enjoying watching. Competition I get is different, but I’m talking generally.
Now for some other general stuff -
If someone knew very little about Irish music/musicians, which artists would you put at the top of your recommended list?
Fiachra Treacy (Columbia Mills)
Not in that order but you should listen to all these guys.
What do you like most about living in Australia?
Everything - the weather, the mentality, my surroundings, my family - I just love it here.
When you haven’t performed or danced for a while, do you miss it and have any desire to get back on stage?
No, I don't - I have had a great time doing what I did, but I don't like to dwell on things. I had a good time at the time, but my knees hate me now, and I’m happy with what is going on. I’ll look back on a lot of it and smile, but I’ll remember it how I do.
You once said that after you do some dances you forget about them and move on. If you had to name 10 performances from DWTS, could you do it?
I’m sure I could remember some numbers but not the actual dances start to finish. Again, it’s one of those things that you remember weird things about them. I would remember moments when Nancy would be looking for a fight - haha - or rightly so proud of herself or when Gladys laughed and cheered me up. I’d remember just sitting and watching Valerie go through everything or Pam deciding what she wanted to do or talking about life, just weird things, certain things we may have talked about - conversations or comments and reactions immediately after each dance or the next day but not so much of the dance itself.
And from a standpoint of pure fun and having a great time, which show (DWTS, SCD, Ballroom With A Twist, Burn the Floor, etc.) best fits that description for you?
Probably little bits of each. They were all at different times in my life. I loved and hated them all at different times for different reasons but I'm glad I experienced them all - certain characters can depend on the day - haha.
You told us a couple of months ago that Echo loves Elmo and Winnie the Pooh. When you were a little guy growing up, did you have any favorite toys?
As a kid, I just loved football. Thats all I remember - playing football and having muck ball fights. I’m sure I had toys that I loved, but I just remember sports.
Now to the most important question of all. You’ve been all over the world and have probably visited lots of Irish pubs. Where were the best ones? (including Ireland)
The best Irish pubs are the ones I was in on that particular night.
Is Pike still living the good life in Ireland?
Pike is the most spoiled animal on the face of the planet - of course he is loving every second of it!
Finally, how’s the family and how much are you enjoying seeing your daughter change every single day?
Being a dad is, to any man, the luckiest and most amazing thing that could ever happen to anyone and to be the father of this particular child and husband to this woman makes me the luckiest of them all.