As he has done so many times before, Tristan took time to answer your questions. Enjoy the latest in our series of interviews with our favorite professional dancer and all-around good guy.
So, first question. What are you up to these days?
Still doing pro numbers but mainly resting, physio, spending time with the wife and walking the dog. We haven't had much time for a few months now with all the work we have both being doing so we are enjoying time to ourselves now and getting a chance to see where we have moved to.
In our last interview, you indicated that you and Jennifer would be going to Glasgow, Scotland to train and that it would be your first trip there. Did you get some time to look around? Any favorite places during your brief time there?
Yeah, Glasgow is beautiful. I still can't believe I’d never been to Scotland before, but we got in a few hours before Jen so we went strolling round Buchanan Street and Glasgow Green, botanical gardens, all that lark. It was beautiful. I’d love to go back with a bit more time - maybe next month for the Euro qualifiers!! We didn't get too much time there. It was really three days but most time was spent in the studio and nice family dinners.
We are thoroughly enjoying all of your pro dances on Strictly. Do you have a favorite? Is it correct that you will be appearing most weeks in pro dances through the rest of the series?
The pro numbers have been fun here for sure. There is a refresher each week on a Monday morning for that weekend’s dance which is great so a lot of time goes into the numbers but the final product is usually pretty decent. A lot of people have been commenting on the pro numbers, and they are great to be part of. Working with all the different choreographers each week is a great experience in seeing how different people work. I’m sure there will be the odd week where I might not be dancing but the producers have been pretty cool with me and want to have me in as much as possible which is great.
Since the SCD dynamic is different from that of DWTS, we’re curious as to how you like the speedy voting process followed by immediate taping of the results show which airs the following night.
It's different for sure. I like doing the results show straight away but the voting is all a bit rushed I think which makes it difficult for the people who dance quite early - especially at the beginning if you happen to be one of the couples who people don't particularly sway either way. It can be difficult I think being up early because you are forgotten by the time the other 13/15 couples dance. In this case I think it’s more beneficial to be as close to the end as possible as you stay fresh in the mind, but again the argument is if it's good enough people won't forget. There will always be an argument about it. I like getting the show done and then your celebrity doesn’t have to stew for the night waiting - especially if they haven't done as well as they would have liked. Whatever people wanna see, that’s the best way to do it.
Of the 3 dances you performed with Jennifer, did you have a favorite? In all 3, you looked like you were both having a lot of fun.
I think maybe the “Mamma Mia” number purely because Jen enjoyed that one the most. I can't stand ABBA - it really annoys me hearing them – hahaha! I don't know why but I was dreading that week as soon as we got the music and I was trying to change it all week but I think Jen was most relaxed that week so it made it my favorite. When you finish the show you wanna say 'I had a great time and I’m proud of what I did' not 'I done really well but it wasn't that much fun'. Comments really make a difference for people out of their comfort zone so for me it was taking back our enthusiasm and reason for doing the show and that’s why we can go home with a smile and no tears.
One of our website members asked if the format of Strictly is mostly the same as DWTS with regard to music, choreography, costumes, etc. In other words, are you given the music and dance style and then choreograph accordingly? Is there choreographic assistance or do you handle that all yourself? Do you have input into costumes, props, music, etc.
You have influence to a degree but not as much as in America. A wardrobe department comes up with your costume and you are given your music although you are asked to suggest music and concepts when you get partnered up. The balance is decided by production as to concept and dance. The show tries to work here two weeks in advance of itself so for us it’s about taking it one week at a time and then trying to make some amendments when the time comes. There is a team who are available for help when it comes to the less familiar dances - Charleston, Salsa, Argentine Tango although not everyone uses them. We are expected, and rightly so, to do our own work for Ballroom and Latin as that is what we train in and are paid to teach but there is always help available if needed although all teaching is done by us, the professional, just like America.
How do you like the It Takes Two format? It seems like a great way for the fans to get to know the dancers a little better, but we’re curious as to your thoughts.
I love It Takes Two. I think the team there are great and I like Zoe Ball a lot. She is really cool. It gives us a chance to be ourselves a lot more than the show, I guess. You can answer everything in your own words and how you like as it’s all live whereas the rehearsal videos and interviews are pre-taped and follow a story line of the week. I’m looking forward to doing different things on ITT now the appearances with Jen are no longer a weekly thing, so I'll be chancing my arm with suggesting ideas on that. I usually prefer talking more on there than dancing. The pro challenges aren't really for me but I’ll talk for days - haha!
In addition to Strictly pro dances, do you have some other projects in the works? (even if you can’t share specifics) Of course, if you want to share details, we won’t complain.
Yes, yes I do............haha
You got to see Jennifer and Brendan in action on Mrs. Brown’s Boys. Did you get to watch any of the filming or production and meet the cast? Have you had a chance to watch any of the episodes yet?
Yes, I met the whole family. They are very tight knit and I have a lot of time for all of them – really, really friendly genuine people who took myself and Tahyna in as one of their own. We would often have dinner and talks and laughs together which was the best part of the whole experience and hopefully we will be in contact for a long time yet. I’m a big fan of the show so it was great to see it being put together and to be reassured that good people get their rewards for hard work and belief in what you are doing regardless of who else believes in it.
Speaking of television, have you been catching any of the British tv shows? Any football?
I haven't had anytime for tele to be honest but we have been catching some shows after rehearsals, and date night we might go catch a film and dinner. I keep the football updates on during the show day but free time goes to my wife and dog now not football. Maybe now I’ve more time off I may sneak in some matches during the week.
A few silly and “speed round” questions:
If Pike hadn’t been named Pike, what was choice number 2?
I wanted to call him Seamus but that got vetoed - Seamus-Pike but he got Pikey.
Favorite thing you have done in London so far
We walk the dog in Kensington Park most days and that’s beautiful. Also Portobello Market.
The Strictly celebrity (other than Jennifer) that has surprised you the most
Nobody really surprised me to be honest as I didn't know anyone before but I like Simon a lot and I love seeing Sunetra getting more confidence in herself. Thom is a nice guy and I have a lot of time for Steve and Tim.
The Strictly celebrity (other than Jennifer) that you have gotten to know the best (or who makes you laugh the most)
Alison is great fun. She is pretty funny and Judy, I like her. haven't spent too much time with the other celebs really but in passing and the odd conversation you have with each of them are fun.
Len is funny as always I have a lot of time for Lenny.
The Strictly pro that has made you laugh the most
Anton - We get on well and we do have good banter. Aljaz is a funny bloke as well but we used to room together so I already knew that.
Any new tattoos planned?
Yeah, I’m sure I’ll get another piece done. It’s just trying to find the time. Tahyna tells me to do what I want but I think she is happy with where I am now - ha ha.
Finally, we have been fortunate to find two special people in the UK (Claire and Arabella) who have graciously been supplying us with screencaps and video clips of all of your performances and interviews (Claire) as well as links to interviews, articles, etc. (Arabella) so that we have everything quickly for the Facebook Fan Page and the website. Thanks to them, your USA supporters (and fans all over the world!) get to enjoy the Strictly experience.
I’m hearing all the help and work Claire and Arabella are doing, so thanks very much for all your time and keeping up with everything.
Now you all know how my ma feels when I'm away she doesn’t hear a thing from me – haha!
Thanks, Tristan! Feel free to leave your comments for him below.