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....