Several months we did a series of interviews with some of our favorite Tristan MacManus supporters, and we decided to bring it back. Special thanks to superfan, Andrea, who agreed to answer our questions. We hope you will enjoy this fun Q and A with a very special lady.
You've been a Tristan MacManus fan for a while. When did you first notice him and what drew your attention?
I have been a DWTS fan for a while now. I got into it big time in 2011, when I started participating in the voting process. That was when Tristan became a pro on the show. I liked his relationship with Nancy a lot. I loved his dancing. I loved seeing him in the troupe but now watching him as a teacher and advisor to Nancy got me totally hooked. I like his approach on it. No over the top fancy or crazy stuff which other pros do sometimes. Just clean dancing and teaching. I think he is a great dancer, a great teacher and a great guy.
Tell us a little about the DWTS: At Sea cruises.
I have been on one cruise actually - the one in January 2014, the champions cruise. I had never done a cruise before and hadn’t it been for the DWTS pros I would have never considered going on a cruise. The only reason I took the cruise was DWTS. It has been a wonderful vacation and I would do it again in the blink of an eye, with or without DWTS. It was wonderfully put together - so many fun activities. The dancers were out and around on the ship and one would run into them eventually. I saw Tristan a couple of times at the buffet. Actually I ran into him the very first evening. He came back from the gym and was all sweaty and still took time to talk to me. He remembered me from BWAT in 2013. I also saw him a couple of times at the night club where he was hanging with fellow dancers and friends. He was always very nice. Even though I did not want to bother him every single night, I talked to him a few times. He was not on the dance floor like some of the other pros. He was just sitting there, talking and having a good time. The performances were awesome. I was waiting in line for hours to get front row seats and so I saw them up close. When they did the Q&A I was sitting in the front row too and when Tristan was introduced he came in, sat down and saw me and waved at me. That was really cute and special. He also told me one time to “just raise my hand and participate in Q&A” and encouraged me to not be shy.
When he was judging he was funny and constructive. Being German I always have a real problem with his accent. I understand English really well, but when it comes to Tristan and his Irish accent it is really hard for me. So I didn’t understand some jokes or remarks he made while judging.
On the night of the big pro show we had really rough seas and I saw all the dancers struggle with that. Tristan did too and it was just cute to watch how he was trying to balance his dancing with all the ship movement. One funny and memorable scene was when he came out bare chested to give something to Carson and the audience was screaming. Yummy little treat in literally reachable distance.
Have you been able to keep up with Tristan's performances on Strictly Come Dancing? What are your thoughts on the show, the format, and the dances?
I am a fan of Strictly too and I try to catch it whenever possible. I started watching it a couple of years ago when Artem joined the show. There is a difference in between Strictly and DWTS but I don’t think it is such a big one. I always hear that it is totally different and classier in England. To a point yes – but Strictly also does dances outside of Ballroom, like the Charleston or the American Smooth or Jazz. They just don’t do crazy stuff and no contemporary. I am always stunned that Strictly allows more lifts than DWTS does. At least I think they do. I think Strictly is “produced” as well. They don’t play the love section as much as DWTS does (Maks & Meryl, Janel & Val….) but they create stories too.
Generally I think that Strictly is a bit more classy, more ballroom. They still do all the ballroom dances, which I sometimes miss on DWTS. The pros are good but some are not as good as the American ones and not as hot J (therefore it was a great choice to get Tristan). Usually I prefer the choreos on DWTS. But I truly enjoy both shows. Craig (one of the judges) is a must and I would love to see him on DWTS. That would be fun. I really enjoy the effort BBC puts into producing “It Takes Two” which just provides so much more information for fans. I would love something like this for DWTS. On both shows I just love the pro dances. They are always outstanding.
In your mind, what qualities make a great professional dancer?
Oh gosh, I have no dance experience whatever. I had more than 10 hip surgeries in my life, so I can only judge without ever having done it. As a viewer for me it is about the beauty of the movements. Getting lost in that dance. The wish to watch it over and over again. In a Waltz or a Quickstep where there are so many strict rules, it is to keep it fresh but I still want the traditional dance. In Latin it can go crazy for me. If there is a story it is nice, but if not and it is just fun I like it as much.
As a teacher on DWTS or Strictly: A male dancer should always put the lady front and center. She is the picture - he is the frame. And he should always choreograph to the lady’s strength. Derek does this on DWTS like no one else. And Tristan does it too. It’s not about props or themes or fancy stuff – it has to be to the lady’s strength. Sometimes simpler more basic choreo is more beautiful for me than over the top stuff which has never been done before.
For a teacher it is important to have lots and lots of patience. And he must be able to teach in different, individual ways. The same pattern does not work for everyone.
What I admire about dancers is their physical strength. To hold, lead, support and (in a way) shelter a woman. I love that and I see this in Tristan a lot.
If you were a guest judge on DWTS or SCD, what would it take for you to award a score of "10."
I would have to get lost in the beauty of the dance. I would have to be emotionally touched. No or little props, I am with Len on that. And it has to show the character of the dance. There would have to be contents that are traditional. Like in a Viennese Waltz I do not want to see a lot out of hold or in a weird “faked” hold. I want to see the Viennese Waltz. I like a lift now and then but go easy on that. And a great costume never hurts. If the whole package is there a little miss-step would not be a big deal for me.
If you could choose any song and/or dance style for Tristan to perform, what would it be?
I am a ballroom fan and Tristan does this so good. He did a phenomenal dance with Anna last year at BWAT. I think it was a waltz. I would tend to a Tango, Paso or Waltz. Maybe something by Queen, or “You raise me up”, or “Habanera” for a Paso. Or a Rhumba to “Gravity” or Aerosmith’s “I don’t want to miss a thing” in the Latin section. Lately I totally got into “Say you love me” by Jessie Ware. I am sure Tristan would do a beautiful choreo for that awesome song. Actually I love to see him in anything, but don’t we all.
You seem to travel a lot. What has been your favorite travel destination and is there someplace you've always wanted to go but never been?
I lived all my life in Germany and I always, always, always wanted to visit the US. I remember wanting to do this since I was a little kid. I have no idea why, but that’s what I wanted. I have been there many times and travelled 49 out of 50 states. Alaska is still missing. So that would be a goal to go there. My favorite destination would have to be LA because of all the friends I made there and all the beautiful and meaningful memories connected to that place. I go there every summer and meet with my friends and we have the best time. They travel to LA from all parts of the US, I come in from Germany and we spend a couple of fun filled days there.
I guess I have never seen a more beautiful state than Montana. Breathtaking! I love the South (Charleston, Savannah), love Texas and of course New York. In Europe it’s England and Greece I would want to go to again.
Australia is a place I have never been and that I would love to travel to. Maybe one day…
In today's interview, Tristan talks briefly about working with Rachel Stevens on the Christmas Special, the Lord of the Dance and "Danny Boy" performance, dancing at Blackpool, the Pro Challenge and football.
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A few weeks ago, you had the opportunity to dance at Blackpool on Strictly Come Dancing. Had you danced there previously? (when competing or any other time)
Yeah, I danced in Blackpool when I was a kid a few times but hadn't been back since, and to be honest I don't have too many memories of Blackpool. I know everyone loves it and all the craic but for me when we were kids I remember more just running amok in the place more than dancing in it. We used to get in fierce amounts of trouble for running around the casino while our partners were standing on the floor with their hands up (this is what people do when their partner isn't there yet so they don't miss the competition).
There was a lot of talk about the sprung floors at Blackpool. As a professional dancer, do you notice a significant difference in different types of floors and does it affect your performance in any way either when rehearsing or performing? Is there a surface that you prefer or that best suits you?
You feel a difference alright but the only floor that affects me really is a really hard one because after a few hours it hurts my knees so dancing or rehearsing on concrete floors or carpeted floor hurt more. Wooden floors depending can be slippery but usually dance comps might have a sprung floor and then with our stage shows and say Riverdance they would have a Harlequin floor which can be kind of like a vinyl or rubbered floor. Nothing really suits me more though I don't think bar a softer surface.
On one episode of Strictly you brought Tess a nice cup of tea, and your presentation was lovely. One of our members wants to know if you make a good cup of tea and what makes it so good.
I love tea and every Irish man knows how to make a good brew. The trick is the love and care you put into it – haha.
We understand that the Christmas Special has already been taped to air on Christmas Day, and our question has nothing to do with the results. What was Rachel Stevens like as a partner and what were her strengths? How much time did you end up rehearsing as a team for the show?
Rach was great. I really, really have a lot of time for her. She is just really talented and she was on the show before and was trained really well by Vincent Simone so it made it a lot easier even considering it had been six or seven years since she had been on. She’s just a really nice, sweet, beautiful girl. We got a dance that, to be honest, neither of us really wanted to do but she was great in it, and I loved working with her. We didn't get too much rehearsal time because her band SCLUB7 had just got back together and were rehearsing and also she is a judge on The Voice in Ireland of all places so she had been flying around the place but we got enough in to put our dance together and to get to know each other a little.
It was so nice to see the Lord of the Dance performance on Sunday as well as your “Danny Boy” number with Aliona, Pasha, Anton, Joanne, and Iveta, and we are sure it was a special evening for you. You mentioned on The Rosie Show back in Season 13 with Nancy Grace that you had taken Irish dance in school. How long did you study it and how proficient are you? Are we going to get to see you show off some of those skills on Strictly anytime soon?
Haha! It was compulsory for us to do it at primary school so I guess I did it for a few years but I’m no good at it unfortunately, and at the time because I was dancing outside of school I had no interest in dancing in school. I wasn't a lover of dance. It was just something that for some reason I did! All my mates from school remind me of how much better they were at it – haha. The intent was for me to learn the routine that LOTD did and jin in and I was really, really looking forward to it but in the end the producers said they ran out of time and ended up putting in “Danny Boy" at the beginning and I didn't get to do the number. But to be honest I love watching Irish dancing and me doing it on that stage may have just made a mockery of it so I’m glad that they all came on and smashed it themselves and I met Flatley so I was buzzing.
We’ve been enjoying the Pro Challenge on It Takes Two, and while your ‘New Yorker’ segment with Kristina hasn’t aired yet, we’re curious about something. Even though it’s all for fun and entertainment, how difficult is it to do so many of the same steps in rapid-fire succession and get the timing just right?
We haven't actually done ours yet. For some reason we ran out of time the day they were recording, and we were to do it at a later date but I haven't heard anything about it yet. It’s not really a genuine competition in fairness. I mean, grand it goes in the Guinness book of records but it’s not like there is any technique to it - haha. It’s just how fast we can move our feet so it is what it is. It’s a bit like tongue twisters though you know?! You can keep saying it again and again and as fast as you like and some of it will be clear which you count and some of it will be just gibberish.
Finally, with a subject near and dear to you - you’ve always loved football, but what position did you usually play?
I’ve played a few different positions - mainly as a striker and then as a winger because I used to be really fast until I hurt my knees but I used to like playing in defense. I was decent in the air and then I played a few games in midfield because I had a fair bit of stamina but I used to like scoring goals so mainly up front.
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Thanks, Tristan. Until next time....
"Three years - wow - Happy Birthday! I’m surprised people are still interested in what I do –hahaha! I can't think of anything I have viewed 600,000 times so this just blows my mind. Thanks for everything you all do for me and hopefully there are a couple more years left in the old dog’s knees yet. Right on Thanksgiving as well - it’s a sign! KEEP BEING HAPPY" --Tristan
Happy Birthday to Us!
MacManiacs.org launched November 29, 2011 and since that time there have been lots of changes. We have a constantly growing membership and the number of daily page views is astonishing. We decided that in honor of birthday number three we would pass along a few things that you may or may not know about this website.
1. Our forum reached 600,000 page views on the same day as our third birthday. Keep in mind that this is just forum page views. The website as a whole has page views ranging from around 500-4,500 per day.
2. When the website launched, we had pages with the administrators’ biographies, videos, a gallery, a forum, and that’s about it. Since then we have had pages come and go and currently we have the following in addition to the home page.
*Special Feature – Currently featured is the multi-talented Tahyna Tozzi-MacManus.
*Spotlight – This changes frequently, but currently the spotlight is on our very good friend (and amazing writer and photographer) Jason Leppert from Popular Cruising.
*Update – This page is changed often and includes our most recent interview (s) with Tristan, his schedule and changes to that schedule, news, special events, links, photos, and more.
*SCD 2014 – Accessed via the Update pulldown menu, this page is devoted exclusively to Strictly Come Dancing and contains links to Tristan’s performances on the show, news articles, and some photos (changed in and out regularly).
*MacManiaLand – That’s our wildly busy website forum. All of our interviews with Tristan are archived there. (More on the forum later)
*MacMusings – Our crazy blog (where you are now). Since launching in 2011, we have written about all kinds of things. Archived posts are available by clicking on the selected month (located at the upper right portion of this page). Currently the focus has been on our interviews (with Tristan and others) but soon we will have a new series of featured pieces.
*Galleries (all accessed through the Gallery pulldown menu)
Gallery – images of Tristan until August 16, 2013.
Gallery 2 – August 17, 2013 - August 21, 2014
Gallery 3 – August 22, 2014 - October 25, 2014
Gallery 4 – October 26, 2014 - Present
Special Gallery – Currently it is “Expressions” and focuses on Tristan’s different facial expressions but in the past it has been a special DWTS feature, Photo of the Day, Throwback Thursday, and more. We change it often to keep things fresh.
*More (all accessed through the More pulldown menu)
Peformance – links to videos of Tristan’s performances
Interviews – links to all kinds of interviews with Tristan (excluding those with this website which are archived on our forum)
Other Video – Links to non-performance video footage of Tristan
Articles – Lots of links to articles about our favorite professional dancer
Photos – Links to special photos – not all are in our gallery so there might be surprises!
DWTT/SU2C – a special feature on the extraordinary work of our friends Dancing With the Teachers – Stand Up To Cancer
Facts about MacManiacs.org:
*We have more than 500 members of the website forum but many, many more who have registered for the website alone.
*We’re an interesting group. We have members not only from almost all of the 50 U.S. states but also from Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Brazil, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Germany, Romania, France, Italy, and Finland. This is only the beginning.
*Our forum members have different tastes in user names; some prefer the basics like Linda, Sophia, Chelsea, Clara, Arabella, Susan, Elizabeth, Keira and Cait McIntosh. And then there are the creative ones like Not Jane Austen, Stirred Not Shaken, Love The Heartthrob, SCDAddict, Strictly a Ringer, Distracted, All Shook Up, Twinkle Toes, and Caribbean Cooler.
*Some of the occupations of our forum members: teachers, a pastry chef, a college professor, writers, students, and dancers.
*Since the website launched 3 years ago, we have interviewed Tristan 30 or so times. In addition, we have interviewed DWTS pros Sasha Farber, Emma Slater and Henry Byalikov as well as other notable personalities such as actress, writer, and producer Tahyna Tozzi-MacManus, the multi-faceted Andy Steinhauser, writer Gina Carbone from Wetpaint, Jason Leppert from Popular Cruising, singer/songwriter Nikki Lorenzo, former principal dancer with the Dayton Ballet and co-owner of Princeton Dance & Theatre Studio, Risa Kaplowitz, and many MacManiacs.
*We talk about lots of different things on the forum, and some threads are a little more unusual than others. Currently there are about 200 topics, but of course, we talk a lot about Tristan MacManus. We have Tristan Trivia, Tristan Word Association, and Tristan’s Schedule & Appearances. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We are a diverse group and discuss lots of things: music, movies, television, creative writing, and more. We also talk about Strictly Come Dancing, Dancing With the Stars, the Strictly Christmas Special and the Live Tour. We conduct polls all the time, and we laugh – a lot.
Launch – November 29, 2011
Our first interview with Tristan – July 27, 2012
200,000 forum views – August 21, 2012
Birthday 1 – November 29, 2012
Birthday 2 – November 29, 2013
500,000 forum views – July 20, 2014
Birthday 3 – November 29, 2014
600,000 forum views – November 29, 2014
If you’ve never explored MacManiacs.org, we hope that you will. Thanks to all who have supported us these last three years. We look forward to what lies ahead because our focus is 100% about supporting Tristan MacManus and we can’t wait for the Strictly Christmas Special where he will dance with Rachel Stevens and the Strictly Live Tour where Tristan’s partner will be the amazing Caroline Flack. Good times ahead!
Thank you to all who have helped us out by sending us links, photos, video, and articles. We appreciate every single person who has read our forum or posted and those of you who help us monitor the forum 24/7, 365 days a year. Well done everybody!