Tristan and Jamelia have been gaining more and more fans each week, and we were delighted when some of those new supporters asked if Tristan would answer a few of their questions. Of course, he agreed! Enjoy this new Q and A that includes lots of information from Tristan about the Week 5 Dance Off, how he plans out rehearsals, his working relationship with Jamelia and some special moments from SCD 2015.
First of all, we hear from lots and lots of people that if they wanted to learn to dance, you would be the pro they want to teach them. You and Jamelia seem to have developed a nice rapport and we can see your patience and calm approach – at least in the VT! Is it always like that in your rehearsals and do you have a specific approach when you walk into the rehearsal room or do you see how it all plays out on a day to day basis? Are rehearsals as intense and focused as they look in the limited footage we see? How do you teach a full dance to Jamelia (or anyone else) and how do you determine what you work on each day so that you can get the 90-second dance ready?
Everything is a daily basis for me and certainly for us because you never know how your brain is going to work or how your body is going to feel day to day so you have to approach it day to day or hour by hour or however your schedule dictates. I’m calm and laid back and try to keep it that way. Some people work best under pressure. I can do it but I prefer not to. I think all the pros have their own way of working and they are all amazing and have to do what works best for them and their partners.
Our rehearsals are physically demanding and intense but it’s not enjoyable for me when it’s aggressive or shouting and what not. I treat people like adults and expect them to show me the same respect I show them. I never get mad unless I have a genuine reason - ha -and then I never hold back. The goal is for my partners to enjoy themselves as best they can but also to respect that whenever the show finishes for them they can go back to their jobs. This is mine! I find the best way we work now since week one is to not force overload. I teach the fundamentals that run through all dancing and then I teach the characteristics of whatever dance we have that week while I teach the first half of the routine. Then the next day I teach the second half so we can get full days of each half clear and then drill the full routine until we run out of time. Based on confidence or a particular week I will start with the hardest section so we have longer to get used to it but again confidence only comes from understanding so I make sure we understand what we are doing and why. Take the time and ring that through each week until something contradicts it.
You do a fabulous job of staying positive and being encouraging to your partner. What did you say to Jamelia before the Dance Off? (Other than what we heard on the show, if anything) We loved when you told her it was “easy easy easy.” We think she took it to heart because the second Foxtrot was a winner for sure. How was it different from the one we saw on Saturday?
I can't remember what I said exactly but people again put so much pressure on themselves before those dance offs - It's not the end of the bleeding world??! You only get eliminated from the competition not from life itself!! So what if you have to dance again? That’s why you are doing the show in the first place. There is that moment before everyone goes on stage and panics about forgetting this or forgetting that and even more so in the dance off. I told Jamelia we made one little mistake so just fix that - don't worry about every single step or question whether you done the rest right. Just relax, fix that mistake and enjoy because if it’s better than the first one you either go through or you go home with a better dance. I said the exact same to Ainsley. There were still stakes Sunday but confidence was higher, and it played out a lot calmer than Saturday.
Halloween Week is coming up – can you give us a hint of what’s ahead?
No! It’s Halloween so expect some camp 'scary' themed dances a bit of fun dress up, and a few fun songs that you have probably heard before - hahaha.
We have grown to have a lot of respect for Jamelia and what she brings to Strictly. If you had to describe her with just a few words (or if a few words won’t do, go with whatever works), what would you say?
Well, we get on with each other. I think she is a really nice person. She is a little like Nancy Grace I had in DWTS. She came into the show with a very strong personality that people either liked or didn't like which I think is a great way to be. That way you know where you stand with people . . . you like me - that’s cool, you don't like me – that’s cool too. I think she has won some people over and I think there are a lot of people who won't take to her regardless but I personally like her as a person. I like when people don't try and change or don't go out of their way to pretend to be someone so other people will like them. I’m sure I annoy her sometimes and she annoys me sometimes but so what??!! I know when she likes things and tries and I know when she doesn’t like things and doesn’t try but because we get each other, we call each other out on it. Always better to be a shepherd than a sheep.
Finally, what have been your best Tristan and Jamelia moments this series of Strictly? (show moments or rehearsal moments)
We laugh a lot - that’s cool. ITT is my favourite so I always like doing that but I think seeing Jamelia with her girls - them watching her dance and watching them practice together I think is a beautiful thing. The show always loves showing those moments but I think it’s enough to know it happens. Parents and their children playing together or working together or just spending time with each other is the best thing so seeing that they are all 'in' the show together is a great thing. I like that the show does that for families.