'We caught up with Tristan again today, and he graciously agreed to answer more of your questions. He talks lots about Strictly Come Dancing, costumes, difficulties in matching music with dance styles, Jamelia and the Salsa, his early role in the film Ella Enchanted, and more.
I realize that you have very little control over the music and dance styles assigned to you on Strictly (or on DWTS for that matter) but do you ever get concerned about how you could possibly make it work? And how do you make it work when you think the song/dance style are mismatched?
Yeah, you really don't have much control over most things to be honest and less still here in the UK compared to the US but that’s the way it goes. I think a lot of the time there are cases where things don't match, be a song and dance or a concept and song whatever it may be. It does get concerning sometimes, yeah for sure, and quite stressful at times as well when you know it’s not right but that’s what you have to do. So I do the same as I always do - have a little moan and just get on it with it. I let it go a lot of the time now as you have to accept that’s why there are different departments that do different jobs and remember it’s my responsibility to teach.
You have said in the past that you let the costume department do their job and don’t get too involved in those decisions, but have there been cases when the costumes haven’t worked for the dance? (too much fabric that causes tripping, sleeves catching on something, too tight, too many sparkles that caused a glare, etc.)
Yeah. Again, it happens – a lot. I have huge respect for the costume departments on the shows, both of which are quite different but equally as talented and hard working. I think in US again it’s a little more 'what do you want we will find a compromise’ and in UK its 'this is what we want' and then you fight for a compromise but again that always comes from the top. The departments themselves are always very forthcoming and supportive of what we want but ultimately the decision comes from the top. That’s why it’s always best to be your own boss – haha. There is such a quick turn around for the costume guys to alter and repair mishaps. It probably happens more than you would think.
You seem to be able to ignore a lot of the extraneous nonsense going on in social media and focus on your teaching and your work. Do you deliberately avoid it all or do you just choose not to respond? These days it’s probably easier to laugh at 99% of it, but how do you handle it?
Half the time I don't read it to be honest. Unfortunately social media is becoming more and more important in everyday life and everyone feels the need to tell everyone absolutely everything they are doing – haha. It's just not for me. I just don’t respond most the time for different reasons. Some people only say stuff for a response so I’m not going to bite on stuff like that but to be honest more than anything else I think everyone has their own opinion and are entitled to it and just because I may not agree doesn’t mean that they are wrong. I just don't agree. Some people have blind faith in others as well and as admirable as that may be it often leads to remarks that aren't worth a jot....in my opinion – haha. I’d like to respond to everybody but the reality is that I don't spend much of my time on the Internet and I’m not one for rushing home to check how many people like me day by day or anything like that. Anyone can get attention. You just have to say some crazy stuff and you get what you want but I'm happy getting on with my own life. I can’t thank everyone enough for taking any time to reach out and I try my best to address everyone when I get a chance. I hope this doesn’t get misinterpreted the wrong way. I’m just talking about negativity more than anything else.
In past interviews you’ve said that anybody can dance (although some of us might have more left feet than others) and obviously some people take to it faster than others, but as a teacher, how do you get a new student to relax and trust you? You seem to have a gift for it.
I just think you have to be genuine. You can't force somebody to trust you and it’s very easy to be 'best friends' and 'family' for a few weeks until you get the boot. So I just take the time to get to know whoever it is that I’m teaching and I relate what I teach to what they do so that they know that even if they never dance with me again they can dance with somebody else. Some people wanna learn how to dance, not just learn how to do choreography - and you can't let winning a trophy justify you enjoying something.
Zoe Ball seems to be a fan of yours and you’ve mentioned previously that you have a lot of respect for what she does and that you have plenty of laughs when you're around her, but if you could turn the tables and ask her anything, what would it be?
Zoe is the best. I can't tell you half the stuff we talk about off camera – haha - but she is very funny and I enjoy spending time with her. The thing is you could actually ask Zoe anything and you would get an answer or a very funny reaction every time.
With Salsa coming up, what would you say is Jamelia’s strength in this dance? What is the most difficult part about learning this dance – for Jamelia or in general?
Hopefully Jamelia's natural rhythm is a plus. Salsa is a fun dance to do and real salsa is different to competitive dancing so it comes down to technique which shouldn't really have a place in salsa in my eyes. It's all about the music and rhythm. I'm just hoping Jamelia lets her hair down and enjoys it. I never dance for results so I'm just looking forward to this weekend.
Here is a blast from the past. You had an uncredited part in the dance scene in Ella Enchanted, and yes, we were able to spot you but it wasn’t easy! How long did it take to film that scene and how did it even come about?
I can't remember how it came about to be honest but the movie was actually made in my town so when all the dancers came they stayed in my house and the number was actually choreographed by Bruno - that's where I met him first and I'm pretty sure Aidan Turner (The Hobbit) was in that with us. Most of us Irish dancers at the time were in it and then a bunch of contemporary dancers from the UK came over as well. I loved making the film because Cary Elwes was in it and I love that guy. I had a scene where I danced with Vivica Fox as well in the wedding castle but it never made the film in the end. Me and my buddy Marc kept jumping in the back of scenes in case they made the outtakes - hahaha. That was back when I loved attention - haha.
Finally, we’re going to be having a huge celebration in a few months (or weeks depending on how chatty we get) when the website forum reaches 1,000,000 views and we’re thinking we might need to put together a little song and dance in your honor. (Probably not but it seems like a good idea in theory). What song and dance should we use, oh Wise One?
Hahaha - that’s unreal - the amount of views and support - you guys are the best, thank you. I guess you can pick the song and style and words and costumes and names and whatever else needs deciding on. I’m not gonna get ahead of myself and start making my own decisions......I wouldn't know where to start - haha.