In this brief interview before Tristan begins weeks of travel, performing, and Strictly Come Dancing, we talked about last weekend's Dizzy Feet Foundation's Celebration of Dance Gala. We also asked him about costumes, his upcoming travel schedule, the differences between certain dance styles, his "nevers" and lots more.
You were part of Nigel Lythgoe and Adam Shankman’s Dizzy Feet Foundation Gala last weekend. Would you tell us about how you got involved, your performance, and the event itself?
Yeah, we did the Dizzy Feet Gala downtown - it was great craic. I had heard of it before and had wanted to be a part of it last year but I was traveling so missed out. I had been teaching recently and somebody asked me about it and then Louis Van Amstel who is on the board asked me if I’d be free for it and if I knew anyone else who would be free for the 'Ballroom Extravaganza'!! I called a few and he called a few and then we all performed a rehash of a Samba routine Louis had choreographed for SYTYCD this season. I danced with Emma, Ryan and Ashleigh Di Lello danced, Chelsie danced with Trent Whiddon, and Anya Garnis danced with Jonathon Platero. It was great to be part of it for a great cause and I enjoyed meeting Nigel and Adam who I hadn't before and I got to catch up with Travis [Wall], Teddy [Forance] and Twitch and Allison and watch some amazing performances. I had a great night. That young kid from Australia came over to do his crazy routine that’s been floating round online. It was amazing.
We recently did a MacManiac trivia post and several told us things they have never tried, never eaten, or never visited. We’re curious. What are your “nevers”?
I've never been to South America (well, I was in Brazil for a few hours but that was it. Amazing, but because I didn't get to see anything there it felt like I wasn't there!) I’d love to go on a tour there and Africa is still on the bucket list. I’ve never skydived or scuba dived which I’d love to do. I never want to eat shellfish! I never had a pet but we got Pikey so I’m happy now. There is loads of stuff I haven't done but I’ve been lucky to do a lot of stuff that others haven't been able to as well so I'll keep trying to tick things off as much as I can. Where there is a will there is a way......
One of our website members asked if you could explain the differences (from a teaching standpoint) between dances such as the Jive, Lindy Hop and Jitterbug. How closely related are they to each other and to other dances like the Quickstep and Charleston? Among these dances do you have a favorite to teach and to perform?
I guess they all derive from each other so there is a lot in common for them all, style for a lot and timings for a lot just like triple time swing and single time swing. Lindy was the original Jive, I think, which all came from Charleston so they for sure all intertwine historically but are very different when it comes to how we use them on the show. This isn't the right way but I think of Lindy in terms of kicks are highest, jive in the middle and Charleston lowest or wildness same order. In terms of teaching it seems strange but you can teach anyone a step and say it’s a particular dance and you wouldn't know the difference but the style in which you do the steps or characters or rhythms will always let you know what you are doing so in that sense it never really matters what you are teaching more than how you are teaching it....for me!!! And there are arguments with these statements I have just made as well. Quickstep came about because the dances had stayed slow while the music got faster.
Is there any particular dance style that you have not yet learned to do?
Individually there are a lot I haven't learned to do. I’ve dabbled as they say with a lot but again in terms of the show you can learn what you need to know which is a big jump from knowing what you are doing. I never teach anything I don't understand myself. I would love to go to Argentina and learn Argentine Tango and I’d love to go to Brazil and learn Samba and I’d love to go to Cuba and learn Rumba and Cha Cha but instead I stay where I am and learn syllabus to compete, you know what I mean??!!! It’s madness - haha - but that's what we do. We all travel around and learn how to do and what to do instead of why to do, so that’s something I’d like to do more of in the future.
You have had good luck in the costume choices for the most part, but what costumes or accessories do you hope you never have to wear? (or never have to wear again)
Well, I’m still waiting to see what’s in store during Strictly. I don't like wearing sparkles and stuff but I feel I might have to compromise somewhere down the line although I'll fight it all the way – haha. The wardrobe department have been great with me over the last few years and they help me out whenever they can. They know what I don't like and they know how to butter me up. At the end of the day if you are in charge you make the decisions, and if you aren't you follow them so I’ll just keep my fingers crossed and keep on trying to convince people I shouldn't be wearing them – haha.
Are you going to have any free time at all in between the cruises, Dance Temptation, and Strictly Come Dancing?
No, ha! I leave in a few days to do the cruises and then I get home for a day or two to rehearse and re-pack for Dance Temptation and from Toronto I fly to London. I land, I move in, and then I go and play catch up for whatever I have missed in the first few days while I was in Toronto. It’s tiresome but I have had a lot of time where I couldn't pay someone to give me work so I’m not complaining! I’ll get a rest when I get booted off the show – haha - hopefully it won't be a while yet though. You can't really afford to rest these days especially with the talent that is around and coming through. It’s the same as everything in life in that there is always somebody who is just waiting for their chance to work as hard as you are complaining about.
Finally, as you know we reached 500,000 forum views recently and we had a contest for the last few weeks where the site members guessed the date and time we hit 500,000. Our winner, Anne, made her guess in June and guessed it within 37 minutes. We are doing something special for her and thought you might want to make her day (and ours).
Anne, I don't know how you did it. To be honest I didn't ever think there would come a time when people would check to see what I was doing 500,000 times....well maybe my Ma.....but bar that I don't know so fair play to ya for even coming remotely close to picking the time and if you were even checking in just once of those 500,000 times I appreciate it as much as all 499,999 more. Hopefully I can keep you entertained and hopefully I can make you all as happy as you make me. Go raibh maith agat!!!!