In a recent interview with Nikki Lorenzo, we asked her this question: “If you could see Tristan as any particular character or type of character in a film or perhaps being involved in another aspect of the film (production, directing, choreographing, etc.) what would it be?”
Nikki said that from what she’s seen she is impressed with your acting, but based on your conversations, she could see you creating, choreographing, and hosting a dance related show. Which brings us to our question - If you had complete creative over a dance performance live show (in the style of BWAT, Burn the Floor, etc) and you had unlimited resources to create it, what type of show would you have and are there any particular dancers, choreographers, or other performers you would like to join you in this venture?
I have a lot of ideas for different shows that I would like to work on, yes, and I am currently working on a few where I have to be all of the above. I am taking this time to try out a few different things and see where I feel most comfortable. How big or small the projects I am not too sure, and I don’t have any deadlines or time frames to work under. I am just taking it all at my own pace and enjoying working with different writers and directors and producers - but not to the point where anything major is about to happen. I have kicked back a little for a few weeks to spend time with my wife which was long overdue and now teaching and travelling are back in the calendar for a few weeks. Acting is fun for me. I don’t mind doing little bits of this and that but I like doing things where I can just be myself.
Speaking of Nikki Lorenzo, tell us about the “Work That Charm” and “Be My Man” music video experiences?
Nikki is great craic and both videos have been fun to do. Marc Cleary who directs them always has great ideas, and he makes it super fun to do. I usually just rock up and hang out - throw my face on camera for a little and then go home - haha! It’s great to see the process of the 'making of'. For me, I enjoy seeing people at work and hearing the ideas and decisions being made and thrown around. I never do too much in the videos which suits me but if it helps at all I’m always happy to, and I learn more from watching them being put together so I have to thank Lorenzo for that one! The main difference though was the first video I had to pretend to drink and play cards and the second one I did drink but no cards!!
You once said that you love to dance but you love even more to entertain. What qualities do you think make someone a good entertainer?
I think the answer to that is quite broad because it’s all based on opinion and everyone gets entertained in different ways but I know for me as a viewer that I need to have an interest in what’s going on and then I like to feel comfortable and included maybe to a certain degree - so that’s what I try do when I’m hosting or dancing, I think. I try to relate to people and maybe talk to them and see what they are interested in and then give an opinion on that or an observation maybe more so than an opinion. I hate being told what to think or do so if someone is entertaining me then there has to be a degree of 'what do you like' or 'what do you think?' if that makes sense. I love when people are so dead set in their ways on something and then start a conversation where I can pretend I feel the complete opposite and see how that pans out – haha. I also enjoy mocking people and laughing at angry people.
Conversely, since everyone also has different ideas as to what makes someone a good dancer, what qualities do you think makes someone a good dancer?
What makes someone a good dancer to me is completely and only based on opinion. People say Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire or Michael Jackson or Usher or anyone is the greatest dancer ever but I just don’t understand how you can say that or even start that argument - it’s ridiculous!! What makes someone a good dancer to you is if you enjoy them dancing but more importantly what makes you a good dancer is if you enjoy doing it. That’s all that matters in my book! Good and bad are irrelevant.
You’ve hosted BWAT with several pros, and you do a great job. Our question is this: Does the dynamic ever change depending on which pro you are working with? Is there another pro that you are especially comfortable with as you interact with the audience in your Q and A segments?
I think the dynamic changes all the time, yes. even if it’s the same people. I find because certain people react differently when the crowd is different - sometimes they shout, sometimes they sit back, and sometimes they respond and sometimes they don’t. I guess there are a few 'points' or scripts you have to hit but I prefer to just see what comes out and react to that. I like when it’s just two hosting but sometimes there are more and then you end up talking over each other or what not but that’s just my opinion. When it’s quiet I just talk to whoever else is on stage or myself - whatever – haha! I like hosting with Annie. The first couple didn’t work as smoothly as it does now because we are quite different but the more we got used to each other the more it worked. Emma is funny to work with too but we are around each other every day so that’s fine for us. I need to do more with Farbs but then we would have to dance together and he isn’t a very attractive woman...
You have performed in BWAT in many different cities over the last year or so. Is there a particular place or venue that is especially memorable for you? (the building itself, the city, the audience’s reaction to the show, etc.)
I loved Cape Cod. Everything about the place was great. The cast of BWAT really makes the experience so enjoyable so we make it great craic wherever it is. I’d love to go to New Orleans with it. Unfortunately I’ve missed a few nice places but I remember things I loved seeing just not too much where they were - It’s weird!!
You’ll be teaching at Fred Astaire Willoughby, Ohio this week. Do you have any other studio teaching dates scheduled before you pick up with BWAT again in April or any other schedule additions you can share with us?
At the minute I will just be doing a few days in Ohio and then I go to Pensacola/Ft.Walton for a few days and then it's BWAT. At the minute that’s it but I’m still looking to find more studios to go to.
Your radio interview with Andy Steinhauser of LA Talk Radio was an excellent one, and the casual format suits you well. You’ve said you love to talk, and you seemingly can talk to anyone but has there ever been a radio or television interview in which you felt at a loss for words or uncomfortable with the structure?
Yeah, Andy is great and I like his format. He asks you questions and you answer as you please which becomes more of a conversation than an interview. I have had a few times, yeah, where it’s a bit awkward on tv and radio stations. TV can be a hassle sometimes because some people have things they want you to say and then a certain way they want you to say it which does my head in. Or when you get fed directions before an interview or whatever - that’s a fist clencher. I know it’s not a major issue – don’t get me wrong - but if you ask a question let me answer it otherwise just answer it for me. That happens, and I won’t name anything but sometimes people want you to read an answer instead of giving an answer. I’m never at a loss for words though – haha!
Now on to the fun stuff:
Your costumes for “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” Jive and “Disturbia” Team Tango Halloween night of Season 13 were pretty outrageous. What’s the wildest costume you’ve ever worn? (for Halloween, an event, costume party, etc)
I’m not really a dress up person. I don’t know why. I can never really get into that buzz but I dressed up as an ice cream for a costume party one time for no reason, and when I got there it turned out that it was a Disney themed party that people put a lot of time and effort into so that was awkward........for them not me. I had a great night – haha!
Let’s suppose the unthinkable happened and you had to teach a group lesson to a bunch of MacManiacs/MacLunatics. What would be the dance/song you would choose as you bravely took on this challenge?
I would have to let you all decide what you wanted to do and what you wanted to dance to - probably have to be a faster one. I’d imagine it would be like that scene from Wedding Crashers -SHOUT!!!
In the spirit of the MacManiac party we have going on for St. Patrick’s Day (yes, this is true), would you write us a short poem (rhyming or not) about Irish whiskey?
Whiskey Whiskey yum yum yum
Empty Empty done done done!
I miss you boo hoo hoo
Oh no wait bottle 2
Now give us some of your favorites:
Favorite song by the Beatles - George Harrison- “Here Comes The Sun” is perfect in my eyes
Favorite song by U2- “Desire”
Favorite song by the Rolling Stones - “Wild Horses”/ “Angie”/” Ruby Tuesday”
Favorite Irish musician - Luke Kelly (Raglan Road)
Favorite Movie – ever The Field/ Willow/ Labyrinth
Favorite beverage that doesn’t have Jameson, Whiskey, or Water in the name - Rob Roy
Favorite sport other than football - Gaelic Football, Ireland Rugby team
Favorite sports memories - Italia '90 Wold Cup (Ireland penalty shoot out vs. Romania. Also, the year I moved to Boston the Celtics and Red Sox won championships - Boston went off that period - it was quality!!????
If you've never seen it, here is the "Shout" scene from Wedding Crashers. LOL. Tristan has the right idea...
This interview was posted just prior to the cast reveal for Season 18 of Dancing With the Stars.
Ever since Season 17 ended, the Season 18 rumors have been all over the place. Do you ever pay attention to any of that or do you even hear them?
No, I don’t pay any attention to rumors - good or bad - to be honest. Whatever happens happens. One day you are up and the next you are down, sometimes by your own hand, but most of the time it’s out of your control so what’s the point? Rumors are a great way to build interest, but it’s tomorrow's fish and chip paper!
During the BWAT shows in Bismarck and Sioux Falls you danced with both Emma and Cheryl. For those of us not lucky enough to be there, would you tell us about those dances?
Yeah, we danced in Dakota. I always love dancing with Ems, and we did a Cha-Cha and a Tango, and I danced a Viennese Waltz with Cheryl. At the end of the show, I danced Foxtrot to “Fever” with Ems, and Derek danced Swing with Cher, and then we all had a Jive with the full cast to finish up!
In your career as a dancer, is there any particular person that you have encountered that you would especially like to dance with? (pro, celebrity, fan, etc.)
No, I never really have anyone I’d like to dance with (bar the ones I do actually dance with - safety first!!). I think some of the greatest dancers there are people we never even heard of, but I enjoy watching great dancers as much as everyone else and I’m very lucky to know an awful lot of them. I much prefer watching them then actually doing them.
There is lots of talk on various sites about how people really hope you get a “contender” for Season 18, but from your perspective, what qualities would make the ideal partner?
I think the ideal partner is someone who wants to improve and wants to learn I guess. Everyone is a contender if they are involved but in terms of the show itself you just want to meet someone you can have a good time with and who will make the experience as enjoyable as possible - maybe someone who you can make it enjoyable enough for them to still feel involved or want to get involved after the show is finished. Not too many people keep dancing after the show finishes and it’s a shame. It’s always nice to hear that someone has stuck to it afterwards whether people think they were "good" or "bad" - just someone who enjoys it.
You have told us in previous interviews that you had asked to change the music for a dance or two because you felt it just wouldn’t work. In cases like that, do you pick the alternate music? Could you share which songs you have been given that you changed because you felt they would not work with the dance style you were given?
Yeah, music is always a funny one because the department will always try and accommodate you but at the same time the show as a whole has to run smoothly. I always wanted to dance to Bob Dylan – “The Times Are A-changin” but that particular week it didn’t fit in with Gaga and Britney or whoever. I also wanted to dance to Emeli Sandé – “River” but got something else –but again different reasons. It didn’t work out - what can you do?!!
If you had to choose between teaching a celebrity (on DWTS) with no dance experience or one with years of dance experience, which would you choose?
It’s irrelevant to me to be honest. The particular style doesn’t suit some people whether they danced or not and for some it does. I’ve always just wanted to teach someone something not so much win something. It’s different for everyone. Some people feel the same, and some people are generally just competitive people so there is no right or wrong. Personally I think no matter what it is you do you don’t have to be the best or worst at it. Just do your best and respect whatever it is that you are doing. I think the show is all about journey for viewers......but sure what do I know!!
When you do performances like Ballroom With A Twist, there is a segment where people from the audience get the opportunity to ask the pros questions. What's the wildest (or strangest) question you have been asked?
Haha! I don’t know - people ask me why I didn’t dance with a certain person or why I changed hair styles or random stuff…usually where is Maks!! It’s always funny that part of the show. I like it a lot. We used to just ask each other questions and tell the audience the usual generic bull about whatever and then we started letting the audience ask. Sometimes they ask us the things that we used to tell them anyway – haha! I think it’s great when you can ask a question you actually want to know the answer to!!
We have enormous respect for Tom Bergeron, so let’s suppose you were interviewing him. What would you ask?
Tom is amazing. I don’t think there is anything he can’t do. On a show, though, it would be fun for Tom to be almost like a fourth judge as well. After he asks the judges what they thought he could say something too from his point of view - a great mix of funny and 'non-dancer' opinion! Then I’d ask him how many swear words he knows!
You mentioned in a previous interview that you have a bit of a temper. What is something that might make you lose that temper?
Lack of respect and perspective and loss of common courtesy
You have become increasingly well known in the last few years. Do you get hounded by the paparazzi and if so, does it bother you?
No I don’t get hounded by paparazzi. I keep to myself. You can’t pick and choose when you want attention; the show obviously puts you in the public eye but for me that’s usually as far as it goes. If someone wants to ask me questions or say hello or whatever surely there is nothing wrong with that but when you do stuff to get attention, well, you deserve to get hounded and to be honest its generally what you wanted to happen in the first place!
Now for more of the silly questions:
If you were in the supermarket with three items and the guy in front of you in the only open Express Lane had a cart full of stuff, would you stand there patiently or ask him to move to a regular lane?
It all depends on what mood I was in. If I was in a foul mood I’d say it to him and if he didn’t move I’d move him and his cart but generally I’d let it go. We all shop and we would all do it if we could!!
Let's say you go to the movies and the people around you are talking or texting and you are getting annoyed. What would you do?
I would probably find the guy with the cart and I would take all the stuff from the cart and smash the guy with the phone with every item from the cart - unless the movie was *^&%$. Haha!
Have the folks at DWTS ever asked you to wear a costume that scared you? And have you ever refused to wear a costume?
No, I’ve been lucky enough to a degree with costumes. I’ve been asked a few times to get the top off but they know by now that it’s not happening and the sequins thing always gets snuck in but at the end of the day it’s their show and they call the shots so you do what you do or they find someone who will do it. It’s the same in all walks of life I suppose!
In the last week, we have picked up several hundred more “likes” on the Facebook Fan Page. What we want to know is what you did in North and South Dakota to generate such a buzz?
I have no idea - they probably like the fact that I left!
Which of your DWTS partners has made you laugh the most?
They are all funny! Nancy’s anger made me laugh, Gladys’s laugh made me laugh and Valerie’s stories made me laugh. Nobody was a joke teller though maybe that’s Tom. He is a funny guy - I like his jokes!
Enjoy this fun Q and A, and for those of you who remember our “Tristan Answers Almost Anything” interview from a few weeks ago , we also sent him a few bonus questions.
What did you like most about Season 17? What did you like least about Season 17?
I loved meeting Valerie and I loved watching Emma and Sasha do so well on their first go round. I know how much they really wanted to get their chance and to see them both excel was a very proud moment for me so they were definitely a highlight. I don’t remember what I didn’t like about it to be honest - I know there were things but I can’t remember anymore!!
We’ve recently learned that Harold Wheeler and his orchestra as well as the singers will not return for Season 18. Do you have any special memories of working with them? What did you enjoy most? What will you miss the most?
Yeah, I just read that the other day, and I have reached out to a few of the singers who I really like. It’s such a shame and I’m disappointed but I don’t know the reasons behind it and won’t really have an opinion on the new structure until we see or hear how it’s gonna play out. I think the singers and band are as big a part of the show as the dancers and celebrities and I think it will be a huge loss but unfortunately, just like us, everyone and every idea is replaceable. I hope that everyone moves on to bigger and better things and maybe it’s a blessing in disguise for some. Time will tell, I guess.
Had you ever been to the Caribbean prior to the two January Holland America Dancing With the Stars: At Sea cruises, and did you get to see much of the area?
No, I had never been. It was always one of those places that people usually say they would love to go but I never knew half the names of the islands. I didn’t get to see too much to be honest. I had a lot to do on my off time but I for sure got a day or two off and saw some sights. The cruises are great and the cast on them make it so enjoyable.
Tell us about the DWTS: At Sea Champions Cruise. We have seen video of most of your performances, and we noticed a new Foxtrot with Sharna to “Fever.” How long did it take you and Sharna to put that together?
Myself and Shaz put that together in the early hours of the night before. It was a last minute inclusion to give us more to do and was great fun. I never saw the video - I hope it wasn’t the one where I fell on my arse. The boat decided to jump a bit and pulled a shifty on me!
What did you think of the competition on the Champions Cruise? How did you like being a judge?
I was surprised with the level of the dancers on the cruise - they were super good. There was a great Tango that I saw and a lot of other fun routines. The judging was great craic - the Cruise Director was funny also so I had a bit of banter with him.
Also, Holland America is now promoting six new DWTS cruises for later in 2014, and you, Kym, Carson, and Sabrina are listed as scheduled performers. Are you still planning to be on board these cruises?
Yeah, at the moment we are signed up for them so the plan is to do them for sure. Things change very quickly in this game so they may replace me by that time - who knows - but for sure I’d like to be involved.
In a recent Twitter Q and A, Val was asked which DWTS pro was the funniest off-camera. Guess who he said? (You!) So tell us. Who do you think is the funniest DWTS pro off-camera?
Sasha! I spend most of my time with him to be honest. Everyone has their funny moments though but consistently Sash is a funny fella and his sense of humour and personality keep me entertained mostly when I am just observing him! Hahaha!
You’ve seen lots of celebrities in your seasons on DWTS. Which one do you feel has been the most impressive – start to finish? (regardless if he or she won or not)
Not too sure - maybe Kellie Pickler. She was quality real sweet girl - funny and talented. I really liked Ricki Lake and Sherri Shepherd. Leah Remini is a great girl as well. Bar my own partners she was the most real and solid person I met. I’m sure I’ve missed a lot of people who I liked - I don’t remember the dancing.
If you could do any performance on DWTS that was choreographed by another pro, which pro's choreography would you choose, and why?
I don’t know to be honest. Choreographing for pros is a lot different than the show so with some I haven’t really seen much but they are all great so I’m sure none would let us down. A lot of people choreograph based on their own styles, I feel. Derek has such amazing ideas and they are always so diverse that you don’t usually look at it and say ‘that’s Derek’s’ if you know what I mean. He is someone I know could choreograph to anyone’s style and always pulls it out of the bag. Val is a great choreographer as well. Some people are great at doing competitive numbers, some are better at doing showcase numbers, and some are great at doing interpretive. It all depends on what you like to see.
Similarly, if you were choreographing a group dance on DWTS and could pick the pros for the performance who would you choose?
Ah, I don’t know it would all depend on the number but I’m sure Emma would be one of the first names on the list. I think she is unbelievable and so versatile.
Do you have a particular workout regimen during the DWTS off-season?
None. I usually take the break when I can and then cram at the last minute to get myself somewhat respectable. Everyone wants to be ripped and cut; I just want to do a bit of dancing.
You do a lot of traveling. Do you ever find it difficult adjusting to the schedules and the time changes?
No. Time schedules are grand but you get sick of moving sometimes. It’s like you can’t sit down for a second. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a great problem to have but sometimes you want your own bed and be able to make plans with your friends and actually be around to see what’s going on! I don’t like not having time to see where I am. You get to travel a lot but sometimes you are just in a building all day long and then do one show so you could really be anywhere - that’s why it’s frustrating sometimes. Everyone we meet is always so nice but you fly, you go indoors, then you fly again.
There have been reports of Len and possibly Bruno leaving DWTS at some point due to the difficult travel each week during the fall season. What would you think about an eliminated pro returning each week to take over one of the judging spots? Which pro or pros do you think would be the best judges? Do you think the pros can be objective when judging teams from a season in which he or she competed?
You would have to ask the pros that. I’m sure everyone would say yes but when it hits the fan you might see something different. I don’t mind the idea but I also like the idea of someone with no dance experience giving a different opinion on what they see. Sometimes people just want to talk about how knowledgeable they are and sometimes you just want a straight opinion – I liked it because of this or I didn’t like it as much as that because it didn’t make me smile not because your legs weren’t straight and your arms didn’t dislocate because you didn’t stretch enough! You can be objective if you don’t take it so serious or personal for sure.
You were Dance Captain for Dirty Dancing. That must have a been a lot of responsibility and likely gave you a broader perspective as to what overall production entails. Would you tell us what that job was like and what responsibilities you had?
Dirty Dancing was great craic. I was the Ballroom Dance Captain so I was supposed to be teaching the ensemble and actors how to do the ballroom. I got to help some but not as much as I would have liked and I wasn’t allowed to make any changes (which annoyed me) to choreography. Some of the actors had been in the show a few years so they did what they did and left it at that. I would have liked to re-choreograph it to suit everyone in it better. Dirty Dancing The Musical is the same as the movie; you don’t change lines and you don’t change anything....at all haha. The cast were the best people I ever met. We honestly all got on great with each other so I miss it a lot sometimes and I’m am still in touch with the majority of them. I was more responsible for the morale in the end – haha. Seriously though I had to clean numbers and if someone was sick I had to make sure the swings (covers) knew where to be and what to do.
In one of your venues for Ballroom With a Twist last summer you performed on a circular stage. How did you have to adapt the dancing for that?
Yeah. It was tough enough but great though. I like having everyone all around but you always have your back to somebody. It was tough because it was so dark and there was only one ramp exit off the stage so when you have been spinning and turning to keep everyone involved for the whole dance finding the way off in the dark was very amusing. We tried to catch each other out and send someone off to the far end until the lights came back on. Haha!
Speaking of Ballroom With A Twist, we understand you will be in Fort Collins, Colorado (February 6-8), Bismarck, North Dakota (February 17) and Sioux Falls, South Dakota (February 18). Are there any we are missing?
No, that’s it at the moment.
Finally, there have been many wonderful dance films made. Which, in your opinion, is particularly brilliant?
I don’t actually like dance films but Anchors Aweigh is probably my favourite. I’ve never seen Singing In The Rain - I never hear the end of that!! The dancing is always good in the movies but usually the story is always the same. Good luck to the people in them - I just don’t really watch them. I’m sure there are good ones out there but I just don’t have an interest in seeing them.
Now for the fun "bonus" questions...
If you could sit down to dinner with any 5 people throughout history, who would it be?
Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole, Oliver Reed, Richard Burton, James Dean. That would be a great night out.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what would be the five things (not including the bare essentials such as food, shelter, water, etc) that you would like to have with you?
The wife, the whiskey, music, hammock, sunscreen
In our last interview, you told us your favorite foods, but there has to be something you despise. What is it?
Tuna, Coriander, Oysters
If you could create a cocktail that featured Jameson whiskey, what would you put in it and what would you call it?
Just ice -if anything - and call it “The Good Stuff”
If you were offered a lead in a major film, but you would be required to cut off all your hair, would you do it?
Yes, but it depends on the purpose of cutting my hair off - not that I wouldn’t do it but I’d look weird I’d say with no hair, but sure I’d give it a bash. It would always grow back........I hope.
Finally, since it’s an Olympic year, if you could participate in any winter Olympic event, what would it be?
I’d be a great snowball thrower! Cool Runnings has won me over. I’d be on the Irish bobsled team and we would get everyone those t shirts and make them all kiss the egg.
Tristan Answers Our Strange Questions
Since July, 2012, we have interviewed Tristan 75 times and each is posted here with the most recent first. All interviews are posted elsewhere on this website, including our forum.