In our latest Q and A, Tristan talks about Burn the Floor, Ballroom With A Twist, the challenges of his travel schedule, and lots more. Enjoy!
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You have traveled from Australia to the states a few times recently. How do you pass the time on those long flights?
Yeah, those long flights can be a bit of a mare sometimes but they are necessary when you decide to live on the other side of the world!!! I always think I’m going to sleep for the flight because the kids aren’t there, but I’ve always had trouble with my neck on flights so best I can hope for is an hour or two sleep if I’m lucky. I sometimes read, watch some movies, try and make some plans, and assess everything. Sometimes it’s hard to do that when you can’t find downtime. Most recently I started writing out almost like a TED talk of sort just following what I’ve been through and how I got there and how I found myself here now. I’ve always felt like I’m a people person so I talk to people on flights too—not everyone, just the people who seem pleasant and engaging!
You were teaching again recently in Florida and that is something you have always told us that you enjoy doing. Is there a particular dance or dance style that you especially enjoy teaching?
Yeah, teaching is cool and the style never really bothers me. I try to approach teaching on a personal level too. I think students and teachers day-to-day can work tirelessly on their technique, so I try to start by asking what they are having trouble with or what they want to understand differently. Sometimes you just need a different voice and new words to hear what you don’t realize you have been listening to already!! It’s easy to forget why you started dancing when all you are concerned about is validation from others. I try to bring some fun and perspective back into it whilst hopefully teaching some performance and understanding.
Has there been any word on whether or not Dancing With the Stars Australia will be returning in 2020? If so, will you be judging again?
No official announcements just yet, no, but to be honest I wouldn’t be able to say even if I did know. I do know that I loved it last year and am hoping there is another season. I think we would all be a lot more comfortable now with a run behind us! It’s a fun show again. Having taken a break from it and working in production more, I have a different understanding about it all and how it runs so now I can enjoy it for what it is. Reflection and taking responsibility for everything that has happened good or bad has really been key for me.
Many of us have seen Burn the Floor at some point or another, and you were not only a dancer in the show for several years, but you had the opportunity to host the Burn the Floor Gala in Sydney earlier this year. The show has obviously evolved over the years, but were any of the numbers similar to those that were in the show when you were a BTF performer? Did you already know many of the dancers?
This Burn The Floor was amazing but also it was more a gala so it featured dances from all the shows over the years. As host, I guess my role was talking about my experiences in the show and how it affected me and molded me to a degree. The first number was "Proud Mary" which generally was our last number when I was a cast member. I love it as much now as I did then! I wish my body could do the things my head wanted it to. It’s such an inspiring show and sad at the same time to know physically I can’t do what I used to. I knew most of the cast from DWTS in Oz and then a few I have known since we were kids. Victoria Martin is the one I’ve know the longest. Vic used to be the girl I always wanted to dance with and she is still as amazing as ever and smashing the show every night!!
What did you enjoy most about being back with Burn the Floor – even if it was just for one night?
It surprised me how much I missed it, and just the nostalgia I had talking about my experiences was quite emotional for me. Maybe I’ve just got softer since the kids came— haha—but honestly I saw the love and dedication that the cast has and the ethic they have that I could mirror when I joined the show first. It’s literally the best environment to be in as a performer and always a student. It’s like getting into the college you always wanted and learning from your idols and then actually being around nice people who care about more than themselves! Everyone in that show only strives to improve themselves and those around them and the collective is what I missed most. I left Burn The Floor for DWTS but I never forget how important that time was for me and hopefully I get to work with the show in some capacity again.
You have performed off and on with Ballroom With A Twist for years. How has that show changed? We see lots of familiar faces time and time again and yet the show always seems fresh and new. What do you think makes it so successful?
Ballroom With A Twist again is another great show that I love being part of. Generally I get to dance with Anna most the time and I always have a blast with her and have over time gotten to know her so much more than I ever did while we did DWTS together. The cast is always great. There is always a tweak in the cast for whatever reason in different venues but there is always a new energy to feed off. The cast love each other and that shows. Nobody gets bored doing the same numbers because they realize who they are doing those numbers with. I have been very, very lucky in the shows that I have been part of over my career.
If you had the chance to host any show on television (Australia, Ireland, America, or anywhere else), which show would that be?
I’d love to host a show that made people feel good and happy about themselves, I can appreciate competitive shows but I’d love a show where at the end you could tell someone how amazing they are and those reasons being genuine and important. I love those shows where they build a house and give it to a family or finding jobs for people down on their luck. Mostly if it was in the realm of a DWTS show then I’d love to do a show where the pros dance with people of their community—people who may want to be nurses or teachers, doctors, care workers, whatever it may be but can’t afford tuitions and the prize may be their education paid for whatever it may be. Maybe homeless people down on their luck get some weeks of a wage and shelter while getting themselves feeling good about themselves and realizing their worth again. I don’t know just something feel good!!
Finally, if you were inclined to write a book or screenplay, what would it be about?
Yeah, a memoir would be fun but I don’t know if anyone would be keen on reading that—hahaha. I like self-help books and people’s stories but sometimes you need a book to inspire you, not necessarily tell you what to do. I’m also good at telling lies and making up stories so maybe that could work too—hahahaha.