Now that you have been a DWTS Australia judge for a couple of weeks, what would you say has been the most challenging part of the job so far?
I guess the most challenging part so far is just to be conscious of being helpful and empathetic towards each individual. Sometimes it’s more important (in my opinion) to be more conscious of someone’s emotions on screen than their ability. For the show and for some audience members and viewers, they want me to prove I know what I’m talking about in critique but if I feel like it might be too much to take for the celebs in relation to what they have heard from the other two, I’ll go with making them feel good and maybe have a word off camera a little later. I know a live performance can go either way, so it’s difficult in a way to give criticism that can be taken forward to the next week as opposed to just pointing out mistakes they made on something specific they will never do again. When they know they made them, why should three of us point it out if it makes them feel uncomfortable and self-conscious? The point is to make them fearless. I see that as my role.
Have there been any surprises with regard to your judging responsibilities?
I don’t know if there have been any surprises. I just say what I see. It’s always been my way. I’m not really a typical dancer’s dancer kind of thing—haha. Sometimes I know what they should be doing and I know why they do it that certain way, but I just never liked it so I don’t comment on it, if that makes sense. For example, like the whole top off thing. Why dance with no top on? Why run your hands through your hair? Why make the noises and faces when you dance? I get it but it’s just not my style, so I have to remember that just because I don’t like it it’s not wrong!! There seems to be a thing now in everything you see that instead of just being happy with what you think or what side you take, it’s not good enough unless you bag out the other side. If one thing is good, everything else has to be horrendous to prove the point. I’m glad that this makes me look at things from a different perspective. I’m a little surprised at how guilty I feel after an elimination even though it’s not down to us!!!
We all know Craig as a judge and entertainer and Sharna as a professional dancer, but what would you say are the strengths of Craig and Sharna as far as what they bring to the judging panel? What would you say is your strength as a judge? The 3 of you work well together and provide a nice balance.
Sharna and Craig have been fantastic and the fact that we genuinely get on is a major bonus. We all know what the show is about and we all know what each other’s personalities and, to a degree, points of view are so I think the strength is in the full picture and, like you mentioned, the balance. We listen to each other and either back each other up or plug the gaps that are left open. Myself and Sharna have known each other for so long and have traveled and worked together for many years before DWTS even, so we have banter and she has a great presence and knowledge. Craig is just funny and so helpful with his experience. From the off he has been a great springboard. He is hilarious. No malice and great tv.
You’ve been a professional dancer on both Dancing With the Stars (USA) and Strictly Come Dancing, but how is it different being on the other side of the table? How does DWTS Australia differ from the other two shows?
I can’t compare the shows as my role is completely different and I’m in a completely different phase of my life now. A lot of the problems I had on the other shows at times were down to how I was feeling myself and obviously sometimes down to certain people doing my head in—hahaha. My priorities were what they were and they had their own priorities. On reflection, I had a great time and I can appreciate that now. At this moment, I love the role I’m in here. I hope I get to do it a lot longer and I hope I’m up to the task.
Now that you know the DWTS Australia couples a little bit and see how they can express themselves through their performing, what are some songs that come to mind that you would love to see used on the show? (just general titles, not necessarily connected to a particular DWTS team, pro, or celebrity)
I have no idea to be honest. People will be more comfortable one week and the opposite the next. The thing with the songs is that if it’s one you like, you can relax a little more and enjoy it. If it’s one that you don’t like or care for, it can be a nightmare but again that could just be me?! I want them all to do well. There will no doubt be a week or memorable year and we can get to know them a little more and that’s the fun part. Seeing people grow and enjoy themselves is always great. There is a bubble they can get lost in while the show is on but that’s okay. At the end of the day, it is a reality show but the hard work is real and the effort and emotions are real, so you can forgive the ‘be all end all’ feeling and drama that you see which I guess I never did when I was on the other side!
What has been the most unusual thing that has happened so far on the show?
Nothing as yet. Everything is pretty smooth sailing—maybe my hairstyles—haha. I forgot that when you are on tv you have to brush your hair and my head doesn’t suit a brush, so one week I look like my grandad and the next I look like Johnny Cash. The other two look how they look all the time. I do not—haha. I don’t wear suits unless I’m there or in court and I don’t brush my hair. Actually, I don’t even look at my hair unless I have to—haha. There is nothing like being on television and being in the public eye to give you a complex.
What have been some of the most memorable moments in your career as a professional dancer?
I’ve had some fantastic memories. I’ve done things I never would have dreamed of. I just wish that I looked after myself better. I got unlucky with my knees and ankles early on, but I could have helped myself more with proper treatment and recovery but I was living the life of Riley. You live and learn. I look after myself so much better these days and I have regrets but I have been so lucky with my career and the paths it has taken me and the lessons I’ve learned. For every mistake I made, it got me to where I am now with my family. I wouldn’t dare change a thing because I’m being the best me I can.
What’s next after DWTS finishes in a few weeks? (Other than your growing family, of course!)
I’m learning to live in the moment now. I don’t know what comes next. I know now I’m focused on this and in less than two weeks I will have another baby so that’s my own priority at the minute. The rest will look after itself.
How does Echo feel about being a big sister soon?
Echo can’t wait for her brother to come. She is gonna be the best sister and she keeps picking things she is gonna let him play with and things they can do together. No doubt she will want all the cuddles when he does come, but she is full of love this one is, so she will be great.
Lightning round (the first thing that comes to mind)
The last sporting event you attended
The last sporting event was a triathlon here in Sydney—just as a spectator this time although I want to get back into them.
The last sporting event you watched on television
Football is on here at 2 a.m. so I was watching Leeds, but the UFC was on yesterday so I watched the Darren Till and Tyron Woodley fight.
Favorite show on Australian television (not including DWTS)
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Favorite U.S. city
Boston, although I’ve never been somewhere in the U.S. where I didn’t have a good time honestly.
The last book you read
I’m reading Positively Unstoppable at the minute by Diamond Dallas Page but I just finished Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins and Face the Music by Paul Stanley.
The best movie you’ve seen during the last few years
Green Book was pretty good and Bohemian Rhapsody
A book you want to read but haven’t yet
I like documentaries when I can or biographical books and movies although we don’t have much time or energy recently to watch any.
Favorite thing about Australia during this time of year
Just being here!!
Lots of people still ask us about your time on Dancing with the Stars and Strictly Come Dancing. What would you say was the most rewarding part of being on those shows?
On reflection, it was a wild ride being on the shows and overall, I had a good time. Obviously, there were many ups and downs along the way but I met some great people, made some good friends, learned a lot about myself and ultimately it put me in the place I needed to be to meet my wife and make my family. I came across some old emails the other day of before it started and how excited I was to come to America and then each time I learned of my new partners. I forgot how lucky I was to be able to go on a USO tour and what an amazing experience it was.
There was the time I wanted to try going to Strictly and see if I could enjoy myself again. I remember the times I nearly came back but I think overall my decisions were the right ones for me in the end. I look at the people I started out with and they are still smashing it and loving in but for me it just wasn’t me at the time or me now but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. You could be doing the best job in the world but if you aren’t happy in yourself or your surroundings you have to be brave enough to move on and then live with the decisions you made. I look back now and am genuinely happy with the good parts and made my peace with the bad.
Speaking of Strictly, what are some of the special moments on the show (including the Christmas special, Children in Need, the tour, etc.)?
Yeah, Strictly was fun too. I loved It Takes Two that was always fun to do. We enjoyed living in London even though both my partners lived outside London so we traveled for rehearsals but we lived out Notting Hill way so we enjoyed the markets and the parks there. I enjoyed touring around and enjoyed seeing the country. Just again at the time it sometimes wasn’t enough to just like it. You had to love it and that was something I just couldn’t deal with. The show is very demanding physically for sure but time consuming too and for me I like spending the majority of my time with my family. That being said I loved spending time with Jenny and her family and the most important thing about that was that they, more than anyone, included my family in the whole experience so it was enjoyable for everyone similar to the way Nancy and Gladys would have. Strictly, I think, is better than ever now and they have cast well and the environment is probably a lot better for everyone so I have nothing but good wishes for them.
You had a lot of interesting times during your six seasons on DWTS, but is there one performance, moment, or anything else that stands out as a favorite?
I got to sing with Gladys and The Temptations in rehearsals on Motown week and go on tour with Gladys. That was amazing. I absolutely loved it. That season I got to meet Huey Lewis and Kiss as well so it was pretty cool. I loved the trio dances I got to be involved in with Mark, Derek and Maks. All are really good guys.
You did quite a bit of teaching when you were in the states and elsewhere. What did you enjoy most about that experience?
Teaching was always fun. I taught in a great studio in Boston for the guts of a year before I came to DWTS. It was called SuperShag and I had a blast. Granted I had a wild time there too but I just loved being in the studios and meeting everyone. Positivity is great to be around and I find that is the environment on most dance studios. People are there because they want to be not because they have to be. I had a blast in Akron too and got to throw the first pitch at a baseball game. That was pretty fun.
We have been hearing about the new production Motown With A Twist from Scott Stander and his team. Who are some of your favorite Motown artists and what are some of your favorite Motown songs? (Is there any chance you will be involved with this new show?)
I love Motown and I would love to do some of the shows with Scott. You know I love that company but at the moment there just isn’t anything on the calendar that I can make work as much as I’d love too. I love all the Motown groups. It was so cool and unreal voices and talent. At the time, I must have asked Gladys a million questions a day about it all. I think that’s why she got us thrown off the show - just to have a break from me and my questions. I loved the Chi-Lites, the Four Tops, the Temptations, Marvin Gaye and,Tammi Terrell I loved it all and obviously the Jacksons much later—such good music—The Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas, Gladys Knight and the Pips, The Commodores…
And now for a few random topics…
Your current favorite athlete
Katie Taylor is the best athlete I know of at this time and I have been reading a lot on Tyson Fury and Eamonn Coghlan.
Your all-time favorite athlete
All time, I don’t know. I’m getting into so many more sports these days.
Favorite sports memory
Ireland beating Romania in penalty shootout at Italia'90, Packie Bonner save, and Dave O'Leary scored the winner. This was one of my first and best memories.
Latest Echo milestone
Echo in full voice at the Women’s march in Sydney screaming for equality and an end to domestic abuse.
Based on Echo’s current personality, what do you think she will be when she grows up?
She will be whatever she wants to be and she will be the best at it based on her attitude!!! She listens to Nas' song :”I can” and smashes the chorus.
How are Echo’s dance skills? What about directing and producing? Bossing you and her mother around don’t count!
She loves dancing and singing. Yeah, good is a stretch at the minute but she loves it an she acts out all the Disney songs. She’s the best. We love watching her.
You’ve mentioned how much you enjoy hiking and spending time outdoors. Are you still enjoying the great outdoors?
Yeah, I love it. I run a lot these days so I’m outdoors a lot and it’s the middle of summer so we are swimming every day. I still can’t convince Tahyna to come camping although she is a lot more open to the idea last few times it’s been brought up. I did a marathon a few months back through the forest in The Shire where we live and it was unreal along the lakes and the barbecue and swim after were perfect.
And finally. Have you been back to Ireland lately? What do you miss most about living there?
We haven’t been back in a while, no, just close by when filming in Glasgow but we will for sure go back at some stage thus year with the family. My folks have been over for Christmas so I’ve seen my family. I just miss the friends and the proper Guinness. It’s not the same here!!
You mentioned last week that you were back at work on Mrs. Brown's Boys. Are you still involved in the production end of things and will you be doing any more acting?
We have literally just finished filming the Christmas specials in Glasgow and are switching gear now in preparing the 2019 touring show so we really are flat out. I’m still working and learning the production side of things here, yes, but I’m open and happy to be considered for some acting roles too. It’s just not something I’m actively putting myself out for. I don’t have an agent or manager like most do so I just really focus on what I’m doing at the time and then see what happens from there. I have always been that way inclined unless I’m unhappy in what I’m doing and then I go and find something else!!
Every production of Mrs. Brown’s Boys that you are involved with must mean different responsibilities. What are some of the specific things you are doing now, and what is your favorite part of the job?
Right now a lot of my work is in the scheduling and making sure the right information gets to the right people. I’m learning from some great people so I’m eager to sponge it all in. I’m trying to learn a bit of everything by helping in any department I can without getting in the way or slacking in my specific responsibility. I’m very aware that eagerness, as refreshing as it is, can sometimes also get in the way and too much help can become a hindrance. I’m a quiet worker, so basically I do exactly what I’m told to do as efficiently as I can. It’s not always interesting to hear about but I like it and generally the fun and exciting stuff is all secrets until it’s ready to reveal.
You have been working with Mrs. Brown’s Boys for a while now and have been part of several shows. Do you have a favorite production thus far?
Good Mourning Mrs. Brown was great craic and I’ll always love that but then again, I was acting in it so I’m a bit biased—ha. For every show I have done something different so I love them all for different reasons but I’m excited to see what the new tour is about and where I can weasel my way into it.
It was nice seeing you back in the states for Dance to the Movies andBallroom With A Twist 10th Anniversary Tour. Do you have any particular standout numbers that you consider as favorites from either show? Do you have a favorite number that you performed with Anna during this last round of shows?
It’s always great going back to that show, and it’s a broken record but the cast make the show and experience what it is for me as well as the audience. These last set of shows were great because Kiki was back and I hadn’t seen him in a long time. We used to live with each other when he came out to Hollywood first. Myself, Keeks, and Farber lived in a studio apartment together—haha. We had some times then—mental stuff!!!! I had to do a couple of numbers I hadn’t done before and had limited time to learn them so they were fun/stressful after the travelling but it went grand I suppose in the end and I didn’t get booed or anything so I suppose that’s a positive—haha.
You will be heading back to Australia soon, but do you have any future shows in the works?
Yeah, I’m sitting in the airport in Glasgow now waiting to get back home to the girls. I can’t wait. I have a whole bunch of stuff in the works but not too sure on time frames and when they will be ready to go or not. My attention is all over the place with all the travel. Tahyna is flat out with some exciting projects as well so we are trying to balance it all as a team and see how we go! Always working on things but priorities always determine how far they go with all the work and travel. As I mentioned, it’s more important for us to spend as much family time as we can together and make sure Echo is getting the parenting she needs and that our marriage gets the time it deserves.
Finally, here is the lightning round. Just give us the first thing that comes to mind.
Virgin always get me where I’m going and pleasantly.
Least favorite airline
I’m in a phase now where I’m working on the words I use to keep me sane, so only positive words or I keep quiet—haha. It’s been a trip but it’s making me happier!
Anna is great. Good things happen to good people—maybe not always when you want it to but it rings through for her .
If it helps you get what you want and you like it, then social media is for you.
I'm not big on it these days, but caramel honeycomb is always good though.
Sesame Street character
Elmo—I love Kevin Clash but anything Jim Henson
Moana.............Echo loves it!!
Ice cream toppings
Least favorite household chore
It doesn't help. I’ll still have to do it—haha.
Favorite dance that isn’t a rumba or waltz
Over the last year, you have been busy with lots of different projects including the rehearsals and tour with Kristina Rihanoff, trips back to the states for Dance To the Movies, and your production responsibilities with Mrs. Brown’s Boys. When you step away from dancing for a while to work on other projects, do you find it difficult to get back into the rigors of dance and performing?
To be honest—not really, but in saying that some would say that’s why I’m not very good at it— haha. I enjoy dancing but to enjoy it for me I need to get away from it when I can. Dancing is fun and stays that way because it’s a part of my life and not all of it. My competitive nature comes from doing things where there is no denying it’s not down to opinion. I either run faster and further or slower and not as far. Stage is great because I can be myself, I can talk to people how I talk to people, and—if allowed—I answer whatever they want to know. I deal with people every day, so it’s no different in my mind then when I'm on stage. I stay fit now because I enjoy running and training more. The breaks I take let me recover, so it makes such a difference to my life waking without the agony I used to be in. I have a new way of dealing with everything these days, and it works for me so long may that continue.
Have you been working with the cast and crew of Mrs. Brown’s Boys recently, and do you have more in the works? Are there tours coming up?
Yeah, we have been busy with the new shows. We have a UK tour coming up next year but before then we have the Christmas specials to record and also the new seasons of All Round to Mrs. Brown’s and For Facts Sake. I’m also putting some things together with a friend—like a passion project—so things are great work-wise, and, most importantly, great family-wise.
This question comes from Jessica who traveled to Boston to see you in Dance To the Movies. How does preparation for a show that uses a recorded track differ from one that uses a live orchestra like the Boston Pops? Are their differences with regard to rehearsal and performing?
Yeah, they can be quite different but only in terms of how it sounds and that we don't rehearse with the orchestra. Well, I didn't anyway as I only flew in the night before. The orchestra is unreal and I love it. Dancing to live music is always the best and, not that they do, but the live musicians can make mistakes as much as the dancers can. I guess when it comes to track you just have to hope it doesn’t skip—haha. I literally just watched something the other day of myself and Emma when our music stacked it and pretty much it was a sham from then on—unreal bad but we had a giggle on it!! The stage is a lot different with the orchestra as well seeing as they are so big. The dance space is a lot smaller so you modify. The show in Boston had Act 1 just orchestra and Act 2 was orchestra with us guys, so workload differs also for the dancers on a show like that. I love the live music and it adds another great element along with the dancing and obviously the singing that is there whether it is orchestra or track. Everything about that show was great for me the cast obviously are great as are the Boston Pops, I love dancing with Anna, and it was in Boston which is always my favourite place to go back to!
You have performed in venues all over the world, but is there anything in particular that stands out when you perform here in the states? In other words, is there something you especially enjoy about performing in America?
It’s a bit of everything really, but mostly now because I don't live there anymore and when I come back its always for fun now! I see my friends, I do fun shows, and I get to hang out with great people in great places. The Scott Stander group is so good to work for and they always have my back so it’s a pleasure to come back. I must say I’m very lucky with BOC Productions also in that they allow me to come back and dance as they are my bosses now..............bar my wife.........and child!! I also enjoy seeing the interest people have for DWTS and hearing how much they enjoy it. It kind of feels good to know that you played a part in it however small it may have been. At one point in time, it was the greatest job I had ever had and I was lucky that America embraced me.
You have danced with lots of pros in lots of shows, but who (other than probably Sasha) has the most wicked sense of humor? What about your celebrity partners on DWTS and SCD? Was there anyone in particular who was especially amusing or that you stay in frequent contact with?
Everyone has always been great to be fair pro-wise. I never met a pro I didn't get on with or, at least, I never met one I had a problem with—haha. It’s fascinating that you can spend so much time with the same people and not really get to know them that well. Maybe that was me at the time, maybe it was them, but there aren’t too many that I am still in contact with. Sasha will always be in my life. He’s a genuine guy with a great heart, I could hammer that guy every single day with some of the stuff he does, but it makes me laugh. I love him—haha. Emma, the exact same. She is a cracking girl and I’m delighted for them both. They deserve everything they get. Maks, Peta, and Kym are all great people who I love to see doing so well. Mark Ballas is pretty funny. I like him and he makes me laugh. Chelsea and Lacey are great. I just recently met Fabian. He is a really cool guy, and I have a lot of time for him. Celeb-wise, everyone was cool at the time. We just never really stuck it out. I still hear from Nancy and Gladys, and I see Jenny from Strictly most the time so I got lucky pro, celeb, fan of the show, on camera, off camera. It doesn’t matter what you do once you are a good person. We all have bad days and bad periods of our life so I wouldn't hold anything against anyone that happened back then, and I’d hope they would stay the same either way. I’m in a good place now and I like who I like.
We have missed your stories about Pike. Is he still living with your folks in Ireland?
Yeah, Pike hasn't a care in the world. He is golden. No doubt he has his feet up now somewhere clicking his paws and filling his boots.
Have you been teaching and/or do you have any plans in the immediate future to teach those of us with two left feet how to dance?
I haven't been doing much teaching, no, just helping a few friends out here and there with them getting married but that’s about it. I have no plans but I’ll be back in America in a couple of weeks so if anything comes up, we will see. We are all looking to actually just having a holiday together where we can shut the phone off and just spend time together.
Lightning Round (quick answers)
What is the first thing you think of when you hear these words or expressions?
Ballroom With A Twist— How much more do I need to learn?
Brendan O’Carroll— Legend. Absolutely love the man
Dancing With the Stars-- Hope Farbs wins this time!
Echo’s latest milestone— How did she get up there and what’s that smile for? (frantically look around for danger), swimming class
Airports— Rubber gloves!
The last movie you saw-- Mission Impossible
The last show or play you saw— Book of Mormon
The last book you read— Charlie Engle Running Man / Cody Garbrandt The Pact
The last time you danced— Echo’s dance class Thursday mornings
We hear that you will be back at Trundle’s ABBA Festival in May along with Alana Patience. Will you be dancing again this year?
Yes, I’ll be back in Trundle this year with Alana Patience for the ABBA festival. It was good craic in the end last year and looking forward to another positive experience this year. We also have an Elvis cruise coming up in Australia so that as well should be fun. These themed weekends and shows are always great because it’s everyone coming together to celebrate people who they love and appreciate and you can just swoop in and do a little gig, and no matter how good it was or bad it was it was just another element to the festivities. The whole thing is great. We stayed in an old bank that was converted into a house, so the bedroom is actually in the old vault which is really cool.
It’s been a long time since you were on Strictly Come Dancing and even longer since Dancing With the Stars, but what are some of the special memories from those experiences?
Yeah, it’s been a while now since being on them but I still have some great memories. I don’t miss being on the show and I still have grievances about the way some things went, but at the same time when I reflect back I can see some things I would have done differently. Maybe that’s just since I’ve changed since becoming a dad. Also, maybe since now I’m producing I can see some things in a different light. One thing I know I did right on the show is how I treated people and that would not have changed for a second, and I never went against anyone for my own benefit. I never would have changed that. I more than likely would have focused more and treated my body better and not gotten as riled up with what was going on around me, but on the whole I’m glad I left when I did for the reasons that I did. I still keep in touch with the majority of my partners. I’ll always remember my first show as a troupe member. I remember the arguments with Nancy but also the great chats we had. I still remember how happy and excited Gladys was after the first dance we did. I’ll never forget that smile. I remember how emotional Valerie Harper made me feel and how proud I was of that experience. I remember first being told I wouldn’t be used and then me saying I won’t be back. I had good times/bad times with Jamelia. I looked after her but maybe not in the interests of the show, and then making a lifelong friend in Jenny who I now work with full time. I have great memories of both experiences and am glad I was lucky enough to live them and wish nothing but the best for those still involved.
Conversely, did you ever have one of those days on either show when everything seemed to go wrong?
Hahaha—oh yeah 100%. There were more than a few of those ones, but again different times and different attitudes change a lot of things. When I went to LA first it was all mental to me and I was very loose and wild at the time so that in itself helped and hindered. I was always conscious of the bubble of the tv world and sometimes I made more of that then I should have. I would exclude myself from things I probably should have gone to and then went to things that I shouldn’t have—things like that!! I would never go to events which would have helped me with the show and when it came to getting songs/themes etc. I wasn’t into, I’d just reject it instead of trying to resolve it. There was a time when I wanted full control over everything, and when I felt like I couldn’t then I’d shut down and just 'do my job’. That’s why everything turned sour for me. I felt like it was portraying that you had to be good or nobody was interested. Whether I was right or wrong at the time, I felt like only 'the good' dancers were getting the breaks and the good ideas—haha. I can’t help but get annoyed by how somebody like DL Hughley, Michael Bolton or Martina Navratilova felt. It wasn’t nice viewing. I just thought there was a nicer way to thank these guys for being part of the show as opposed to exploiting the gulf in abilities. Some days though, yeah, you just wanna throw some fingers up, crack some cans, and keep on truckin'—hahaaha.
You traveled a lot with Burn the Floor and performed in many other shows including Dirty Dancing The Musical, Ballroom With A Twist, Dance To the Movies, etc. What are some standout moments?
The stand out moments are always the same. It’s the crowds! You could be anywhere in the world but seeing smiles before during and after shows though trumps everything, although Boston is always special to me. I absolutely love it!! Yeah, the crowds and—luckily enough for me—the people I’ve been lucky enough to work with on a lot of these shows—Jaymz Tuaileva, Brent, Sasha, Iveta, Magda Jon, CJ, Tony—all these guys make the shows what they are, and those experiences stay with you for always. Magda, by the way, has it all. How she hasn’t been on these shows yet is beyond me. She should be on DWTS no doubt for her humor alone and ability. I loved Dirty Dancing also. I’d love to go back and do that again, especially with Swayze being a real idol of mine, but I really loved that show and it’s a shame it wasn’t longer.
You’ll be back in the states for Dance To the Movies in May. Will you have a chance to visit old friends or see familiar places during your visit? Do you have plans to teach or perform elsewhere when you’re here?
I’m not too sure about plans for America just yet. I’ll try to do as much as I can while there, but having travelled so much this year I would like to be able to get home and put my feet up for a little. I’m very fortunate with what I get to do but what’s the point if you don’t get to put your kids to bed every night and live wherever you have been lucky enough to work? I’ll catch up with friends for sure. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to Sasha and Emma’s wedding which killed me, but I will definitely see those guys. America may be a quick trip this time as we can’t keep taking Echo from kindy, and I won’t keep travelling away without them.
The last time we spoke you mentioned that you were still involved with Mrs. Brown’s Boys working on the production end. What type of work did you do and will you be working/performing in future productions?
Yes, I am working full time now for Mrs. Brown’s Boys as a producer so that is fun and it’s a great way for me to learn the industry from the other side. We work on the tv side and theatre/touring side so I would be responsible for setting up and running of the shows. We have a great team here who have all the experience and I am sponging all the info I can. While we are on the road, the production show we are working on determines whether I have an onstage role. If I’m not onstage or on screen, I will be on the set floor or in the production office. It’s all very interesting stuff and again it lets me learn, and I can see if there is a way to see if the things that irked me before can be done in a nicer way.....haha. I enjoy it and with Tahyna being a writer and director it helps. She teaches me things too and eventually we plan to work together where she can be the boss..........just like at home and at least I can get paid for being told what to do instead of doing it for free every day of my life. Hahahaha.
Finally, a fun “what’s the first thing you think of” exercise. In other words, just give your first response to the following:
Food you can’t stand
Food you love
Television show that makes you crazy
Worst movie ever
Stop remaking films!
The thing you dislike most about flying
Leaving the girls
An incredible professional dancer
An incredible actor
Current favorite musician
Funniest thing Echo has done/Most adorable thing Echo has done
Everything. She is hilarious but changes the subject if you ask her about her dirty nappy.
She kicks you in the face in her sleep, sleeps laying across my face and as soon as she wakes up she pulls my eyelids open and says, “Wakey wakey, I LOVE YOU DADA.”
First of all, congratulations on having a very successful tour with Kristina and Mark. It’s wonderful that so many of your supporters were able to see you perform on stage again and that you had the opportunity to put on the dancing shoes for a few weeks.
Now on to Mrs. Brown’s Boys. After a break of a few months, you’re back and performing close to home. How has this latest leg of the tour been going?
It has been great. We are in the midst of the final weekend which is immense in the 3Arena Dublin, and I’m loving it again. Finishing a tour in Dublin is amazing and especially in a venue so large and well-known at home is great. Last weekend was Belfast which may as well been the Siberia. It was that cold, but what a beautiful place. We were lucky enough that a few of us got to go into see the set of Game of Thrones and sit in the thrones and hold the swords. It was great craic!! The tour has been great but at the same time come Monday I’m flying home and can’t wait to get back to the girls. They came over for a month to break up this trip, but three months away from home has been a lot.
I would imagine that in a show like this hilarity reigns supreme and no two shows are the same, but are there any especially funny moments that stand out or something that makes you always expect the unexpected?
The show is great. I never get bored of it. We have had a cast re-giggle for a few shows now for different reasons so new faces always freshen the show up as well as all the gag changes! Agnes is going all out being in our home city, so you don’t know what to expect show to show. I’m still a Mormon and still trying my best to not crack when the script gets thrown out the window—haha. I love the Mormon scene. It’s still my favourite, but I love Conor Maloney who plays Father Quinn on this leg. He is hilarious so I watch his scenes every night.
You mentioned that you are now involved in the production side of the shows, so what do you do in that regard both prior to the shows and during them? Do you still have an acting role?
We have a lot going on at the moment in production, so it has been quite full on recently. Before the show, we set up the guest lists and seating plans along with helping the load ins which is essentially setting up the stage and helping with wardrobe departments, catering rooms, merchandise stands, production offices and anything else too. During the show, we set up for the following day and at the same time we are preparing visas, flights, hotels, and travel packs for the upcoming Australian/ New Zealand tour coming up in January. We also have an upcoming series of the tv show being made soon enough, so we are literally out the door and working long, long hours but I am learning a new skill and absolutely loving it. I’m still acting (if that’s what you can call it)—hahaha.
What are some of the challenges of doing a show like Mrs. Brown’s Boys? (either from a personal standpoint or just from observing the complexity of putting on a show like this)
The show is a complete beast and for sure it has a lot of challenges, but there is a great team in place. I would always imagine that going into anything that is so well-oiled and very much untouched for years and years that it would be hard to integrate into that. But they all made me feel so welcome so the difficulty is really just in learning how to do a particular job but more importantly how they do a particular job. It’s a process but one I’m loving! I just like learning, to be honest, so it’s all great for me. I’m learning a lot of roles at the same time so I couldn’t tell you the responsibilities of one particular role! The same as anything when you are trying to do something you never had before the hardest part is not losing confidence when you make mistakes. I used to find that difficult and would beat myself up for not knowing what I was doing and feeling insecure about it but I’m a lot more comfortable now with the fact that I shouldn’t know this because I’ve never had to know it and I’m learning as I go.
Mrs. Brown’s Boys starts up with a new show in Australia and New Zealand early in 2018. Will you be involved then as well? Have you done any rehearsals or preparations for that show.
Yeah, we have a new show in Australia/New Zealand about to start mid-January— 'For the Love Of Mrs. Brown'—that we are in the process of setting up but we won’t have rehearsals for that until the cast land in Oz. I haven’t actually seen that show yet or read the script but I’m making up the packs for the cast now with audio so I will know it pretty well pretty soon! I will be working in production on the show, but I won’t be acting in it this time—then again I may streak the stage for the craic!! The tour is a little shorter this time round—six weeks in Oz and two in New Zealand.
Is there a typical show day for Mrs. Brown’s Boys?
Not really. Like most shows, the general idea is once there are no hiccups your days are pretty set once the show is up and running, but again it all works show to show! The tv show is a different animal all together, but we will worry about that once this tour is shut.
And now for a few nosy questions...
If you could choose any place in the world other than Ireland or Australia to live, where would it be?
I’ve been lucky to live in a lot of great places. I miss Boston a lot. To be fair, it’s Baltic, but I could live there. There are still a lot of places I’d love to go but you have to make the best of wherever you are and right now I wouldn’t change a thing about where we live.
Last movie you saw
Last show or play you saw
I just went to see Columbia Mills in Dublin last month. That was a great night, but before that I think it may have been U2 in London. I have a big Wiggles show coming up with the girls when I get back to Sydney next week which should be loads of fun. You find yourself walking around singing the tunes to yourself.
Latest Echo milestone
Every day is a milestone to be fair she is great craic. She has the tune of ABC now. She is always singing but she doesn’t know all the letters just yet but she dances all the time and she sings a lot. She will be 2 before we know it. She is the best though—always laughing, always smiling and wants to do everything herself with no help and always has so much to get done that she doesn’t have time for us!!!
Are Tahyna and Echo able to travel with you these days? I know it’s a little more challenging when the baby becomes a toddler and is into everything.
They don’t get to travel all the time with me, so we break the trips up. I wouldn’t have been away for such a long stint, but we had the Christmas specials, then two legs of MBB tour and in between that was my dance tour with Kris, so it turned into a really long trip. They came out to Ireland for a month in between and we traveled the country. I can’t wait to get home to them now and have the month off, so it will be pure family time.
A couple of years ago, we asked you about Saturday Night Live as well as skits with Jimmy Fallon, Jonah Hill etc. We’ve been laughing lots lately on the website forum about James Corden and his Carpool Karaoke, Crosswalk the Musical, and just about anything else he does. Have you seen any of his nonsense? Otherwise, who is your favorite comic actor/host these days?
Yeah, I’ve seen some of it. I think it’s fun but not really my cup of tea. I still love Fallon. I think he is the best at what he does for those skits. Tom [Bergeron] is still the best 'host'. He is an all rounder now where he is so natural and like a classic host should be. You get the feeling with a lot of presenters now that anyone can do it, but there is a big, big difference in my eyes between a host and a presenter and Tom in my eyes is the best. I may be biased because I have seen Tom up close and firsthand but he is #1.
Do you have any plans to get back to the states? (That’s a question we get asked often)
I’ll be taking a trip back in March, but it’s been a long time since I’ve been in America so they may not let me back in!! There were a few times I was close to going back to the show, but for different reasons things didn’t work out but I’m happy with the direction my family is going in now so if we end up going back at some stage it would be great to catch up with our friends there.
Tristan graciously took your questions after the show on Friday, October 20. Enjoy!
We’ve heard glowing reports from those who have been fortunate enough to see An Evening with Kristina Rihanoff and Tristan MacManus during these first few days of the tour. For those of us who haven’t yet had the pleasure, would you tell us a bit about the show itself?
The shows have been going well. We are doing a mini-tour which was originally going to be a lot longer in the new year, but I will be back in Sydney and not interested in being away from my girls for such a long time. It’s basically a three-week tour—one week in England, a week in Scotland, and a week in Ireland— so I’m driving around the country and seeing a lot of new places I’ve never been to before. We are almost finished with the first week now, and the audiences have been great. It’s just a nice intimate show.
Do you have a favorite part of the show, and is there a dance you perform with Kristina that you especially enjoy?
Not really, I don’t have a favorite part. Usually the Q&A is fun because I get to answer questions the way I want to, and I guess that’s how I want to come across. Sometimes when you are on shows you have to say the right things and almost everything is p.c. so when it comes to these shows, it’s a bit like I used to do on It Takes Two—I can say whatever I want. I love dancing to "Wicked Game" in the show. it’s a song I have wanted to dance to for a long, long time but never got the chance. It’s a version by James VIncent McMorrow.
How did the show come together as far as rehearsals, choosing music, dances, etc. and was there a particular song/dance that you wanted included?
To be honest a lot of it was done without me. I was pretty easy when it came to whatever everyone wanted to do. There were some songs that I would have used if I was there from scratch but again Kristina would know the audience more than I would from doing her tours here before. I was happy to go along and just enjoy it. A lot of the songs I have always wanted to dance to in shows may only be songs I like, so it may not work like these do. Rehearsals were quite tough in a way. We didn’t have too much time together, but we did have some charity shows so we danced together a few months before the tour started. Any chance we got free time, we would put some routines together. When I came to Scotland for Mrs. Browns Boys, I’d travel down for the weekend to Kristina and try to piece some more together so it was very spread out but it seems to have worked so far and people have been quite receptive to it.
Strictly Theatre Co. has done a fantastic job of producing many types of shows. In what respect is this type of show different from others you have been involved with and what are your thoughts about the amazing work Strictly Theatre Co. is doing?
We have been really lucky with Strictly Theatre Co, and the work they do. It really is great, and that shows in the other productions they have. We are grateful to be working with the team. We have a small team on the road, but it is a really determined hard-working group that are great to be around. What I’ve picked up off the Mrs. Brown's Boy's tour is that a hug goes a long way, and we all support each other daily and keep spirits high and that makes it an enjoyable tour. I’d highly recommend this company and, who knows, we may end up working together again. When it comes to these shows it’s hard to say what is different, you know. Honestly, everyone is in a way doing the same thing in terms of dances and whatnot but it’s the individuals that makes the shows different. It’s a perspective from us and telling our stories and telling them how we want them to be heard. That’s all you can really do.
We are hearing that Mark Read is doing a fabulous job of hosting and performing as well. What can you tell us about Mark’s role and do you have a special favorite number that he sings in the show?
Mark has been such a great addition to the show, and he does everything. He isn’t just the host as he is so much more important. He has been so good at keeping the audience up, and his vocals have been on point from day one. I hadn’t met Mark before, although I was familiar with his band and didn’t really know what to expect. But from day one he was enthusiastic, accommodating, and professional, and—more important than anything—he is a genuine guy who wants to put on a great show just like Strictly Theatre Co. We couldn’t be happier to have him on board regardless of how short the tour is. I have never been able to suffer fools and sometimes you come across them in this game—haha. He has a great voice and is integral to the success of the show. I love "Take On Me"—hahaha—but I also love his "Wicked Game"and "My Way"versions.
Finally, is there anything you would like to share with the fans? (or just say to the somewhat giddy fans)
Again, just a big thank you. It’s been a while since I have given you guys anything and I appreciate the unfaltering support. Things are going really well at the moment. I am getting to do a little dancing and also working full-time behind the camera as a producer for Mrs. Browns Boys and my girls are great, so I couldn’t be happier and wish all the same to you guys.
Tristan is back in the UK for the next leg of the Good Mourning Mrs. Brown tour. We caught up with him on Wednesday, and he answered lots of your questions. Enjoy!
You have recently taken a break from dancing but will be performing again this fall. During your time off the dance floor, did you try anything new? (a sport, activity, travel somewhere new, etc.)
Yeah, I've been doing loads of new things since taking the break and, to be honest, it's been really good for me. I'm working as a project manager in Sydney building commercial properties so a fair bit different—ha—but again my head needed the break from what I was doing and not enjoying. I've also joined the RFS and I'm back playing football and, obviously, the best job of all is being a father. I always need to get away from things from time to time to reassess what I'm doing and find out whether I am happy enough doing it or not, so for that reason the break is great. I can try new things and appreciate the old things.
If you had the opportunity to sing with any band or solo artist (other than Gladys Knight), who would it be? Do you ever sing to Echo? What’s on the playlist?
I have no interests in singing with famous people, no—ha. I'm happy with the singsong at the house or at the pub. We sing all the time at home for Echo. She loves it.....well, she puts up with it more like, but Tahyna has a lovely voice and she has the talent with the instruments. I just close the eyes, throw the hand in the air, and smash out (perfectly) those Mariah Carey notes / every music is blasting there. Echo loves all sorts—generally an epic remix mashup of Peppa Pig and Giggle and Hoot.
Speaking of Echo, have you introduced her to football yet? How about dancing?
Echo watches the football with dad, yeah, and she will sit and watch the UFC but her mammy won't let her— hahaha. She is always dancing around though. Yeah, it's funny. She is gonna be a handful but is a hilarious little girl. She knows how to get what she wants.
What do you like most about being part of the Good Mourning, Mrs. Brown tour? Are you back touring with them in June/July?
We are back on tour with Mrs. Brown’s Boys now. The first show is tomorrow [Thursday, June 8], and I love it as always. I feel very comfortable when I'm with these guys. Everyone just supports each other here and appreciates each other's work and time. Everything is very transparent, and you always know where you stand. If something needs to be said about anything, you will be sure you will hear it firsthand and not through whispers. That's very important to me. It's a positive environment where backstage is equal to onstage, and I love the affection the venues and their staff have for the cast and crew and how much is it returned with no expectations. It's second nature to be kind and thoughtful, so you can't ask for more from your surroundings and the people closest to your family.
You were scheduled to dance at the ABBA Festival in May. How did that go? What dances did you do?
ABBA festival was a bit of craic—bizarre and mental but a bit of craic. I'd go back again. We did three dances—Samba, Cha Cha, and Rumba to some of ABBA's songs. I can't remember which ones. Basically, Trundle (the town) shuts down, and the whole place is taken over by ABBA enthusiasts. The people line the streets, and we danced in the middle of the town. The next town over has the biggest Elvis festival, and this was set up to rival it. There is a tribute band, fancy dress, and table quizzes—all that shebang. If you love ABBA, you will have a good time. It was a long, but enjoyable, road trip for the family up there.
We were delighted to hear that you will be touring with Kristina Rihanoff this fall. Do you have any details about the tour, when you will begin rehearsals, or any other information? Will you and Kristina be doing the choreography? Is there anything in particular that you are looking forward to with regard to this show? (a venue, the tour itself, the performing, etc.)
Yeah, I’m looking forward to this tour coming up. We will choreograph it and probably start putting ideas together over next few weeks while I'm in the U.K. Initially it will probably be for about three weeks—two in the U.K. and one in Ireland. Mark Read who was in A1 will be hosting and singing, so it should be good. I’m looking forward to doing the Irish shows. I’ve never really done any at home before so that will be special.
I don’t know everything about it yet, but I'm guessing it will be all ten dances with probably a few more thrown in, but we will be catching up soon and going through what the plan is.
You have a busy schedule coming up. Are you looking forward to getting back on the dance floor? (And do you have any plans to return to the U.S. anytime soon?)
Lucky enough. it’s going to be very busy for the rest of the year and hopefully some things coming up in the new year. I'd love to come back to the states and do some shows, but it's not that easy just saying “Yeah. I'll do it.” I kind of closed that door. It was making me too frustrated and most shows rightly so need to stay relevant and, in my opinion, need to use people more recent on the tv so who knows? I'll come back and teach for sure, and if timings work, I'd be happy to do some shows.
You’ve choreographed many dances and performed many more, but have you ever been tempted to try songwriting? If so, how did that go for you?
No, I don't do the songwriting. I used to be real smooth and have all the right things to say but had to stop that when I grew up—haha. I absolutely love lyrics and anyone who knows me knows I love doing an impromptu speech now and again, be it gibberish or banter, but the sensitive words are saved now for my girls at home.
You said these wise words in one of our interviews back in September, 2012: “Don’t fit in, stand out, be different. There is a place for everyone in everything.” How does that apply, in particular, to those in the entertainment industry?
The entertainment industry is its own beast. Most people think they are more important than they are, but it's also full of genuinely good people following their dreams so it's a fine split. I sometimes notice that people at times find what they like about other people and become that until the new flavor comes. You have to choose what it is you want. For instance, you have to decide what is success to you and appreciate what you do. Some people, as strange as it sounds, rely completely on acceptance of other people and never appreciate their own value. The biggest and most important thing I think you can have is knowing worth—value of worth in yourself, your talents, and the people around you and the people you let in your life. I can't comprehend spending your life trying to impress a bunch of assholes who don't care about what happens to you before or after they have got what they want from you! Do your best and know the value of hard work and achievement. The important thing is your opinion of worth, not someone else's.
Finally, a few random words or phrases. Just respond with the first thing that comes to mind.
Farbs and Emma
*a food you tried once but will never eat again
Oysters and shellfish
*a beverage you tried once but will never have again
That stuff that tastes like licorice
*Mrs. Brown’s Boys
Not for me but enjoyable when it's done right
Proper story telling
Love it. I just saw a few old dances with Kym recently, and I'd like to some dancing with Kym again. That was always fun.
Learning. I've met a lot of great people from teaching, and they inspire you and remind you to appreciate what you are lucky enough to do.
I love a cuppa tea.
*An Evening with Kristina Rihanoff and Tristan MacManus
Hopefully fresh, fun, honesty—haha
Thank you, Tristan! For information on both Good Mourning Mrs. Brown and An Evening With Kristina Rihanoff and Tristan MacManus, refer to the links below.
Good Mourning Mrs. Brown
Tickets for the UK dates:
Tickets for the Ireland dates:
An Evening With Kristina Rihanoff and Tristan MacManus
Tristan is part of the cast of Good Mourning Mrs. Brown and is currently on tour in the UK. He took time to catch up with us and has answered lots of the questions you have sent in for him. This is our 63rd interview with Tristan since July, 2012, and each one is more fun than the last!
Congratulations on being part of the cast of the Good Mourning, Mrs. Brown tour. Will you be doing the full tour and how do you like being on the road again?
Thank you, and it's great to hear from you. Things are great. Mrs. Brown’s Boys is amazing as always. I couldn't ask for a better bunch of friends and again, it's another amazing gift from the DWTS and Strictly experience. The tour is broken up into four/ five week stints so the touring isn't too bad, and I have the girls with me which makes it so much easier. Tahyna is writing on the road and producing from the road so we got lucky with timing, and obviously being close to Ireland we got to get home for Echo’s first birthday and christening.
You mentioned in the past how funny the entire cast can be and that there is always a lot of laughter when putting on the shows. Have there been any practical jokes backstage? (please share) What parts of the show itself are your favorites?
The best thing about Mrs. Brown’s Boys is that most of the practical jokes are all onstage so it's hard work in itself to keep the straight face especially when the changes in the script come about! Everyone in the cast at some stage tries to catch each other out. Offstage funny is just funny between the jokes and the tricks. Most definitely, it's the best kind of work you could be lucky enough to do!
It’s been a while since our last Q and A – in November, actually. How was your holiday season and how was your first Christmas as a dad? Now that Echo is a year old, have you been able to keep up with her and is she dancing a Foxtrot yet?
Being a dad is the best experience of my life and the proudest I have ever been. My girl is just the greatest little gem, and I couldn't be happier and prouder of her and obviously Tahyna for bringing her into our lives. Christmas was amazing and every day since has been the same. We couldn't believe it was her birthday already and we hadn't seen the guys here since the Oz tour last year when Tahyna was just about to pop so they have all been great with us. They were super excited to finally meet her, and we are definitely that annoying couple who always talks about their kid-—hahaha. She loves music so no doubt she will be dancing before long as she has just started walking.
It doesn’t take long for news to reach us...we read that you will be dancing with Alana Patience at the ABBA Festival in Australia in May. How did that happen? Any idea what tunes you’ll be dancing to?
I don't know too much about ABBA just yet. Alana is the best. I hadn't seen her in a long, long time. We caught up recently at a mutual friend’s wedding and said we should put some shows together and dust off the cobwebs so this was literally a few days later she asked if I was up for it. I haven't done any since Strictly and am now looking forward to it and who knows after that?!
Do you have any plans to come back over to the states? We are missing you over here.
Ah, who knows? Things change all the time. It wasn't too long that I said I wouldn't ever go back and then a few times over the last couple of years we came close to it, but we have been away for a bit now and concentrating on ourselves and Echo but we would like to come back and spend some time. It all depends on circumstances.
We saw that you were able to attend the semi-finals of DWTS Ireland. What are your thoughts on the show? Did you know most of the pro dancers?
I think it was great what they did with DWTS Ireland. There were a lot of talks and whispers about me doing it and then rumors about why I didn't do it and I heard that I didn't want anything to do with it. As a new show, I think they did great. I think it gives homegrown talent a chance to show what they can do as well as giving future professionals a goal. It doesn't have to be on par with America or the UK or whatever anyone else was expecting. I thought it was produced very well. I thought the pros smashed it, and I'm glad that now we have our own. I wish them all the success for the future.
Speaking of Ireland, did you get to spend some time with your family? How’s Pike doing?
We had a few days at home before the tour started yeah, so that was great. Pike is great—very happy and being well-spoiled and looked after. He didn't like the attention he was losing to Echo but sure, what can you do? Haha.
Now that you’re traveling again, things will probably be different but what are your favorite things to do for fun these days? Have you been doing a bit of dancing?
Yeah, everything has changed these days alright, but for the better. I think I still do most the same things just not as often and for not as long—ha. I haven't been doing any dancing, no, but like I said I needed the break from it and now I may come back into it a bit more with a new perspective again which always does me good every so often—freshens up your head and your attitude.
Now some just plain nosy questions from your fans:
You once said that you get bored just thinking about golf. What about pool? Have you ever tried billiards and are you any good?
Yeah, I used to love playing pool, but I wasn't consistently good, just consistently bad with a dash of amazing trick shots and lucky breaks—haha. Everyone I know seems to love golf, and now the Masters has started. It's all I'm hearing about, but I’m still no closer to getting on the green.
What’s the worst movie you’ve ever seen?
I have seen many, many movies I hope to never see again or wish nothing more than going back in time to erase it from my brain. I just don't want to mention any—hahaha.
Just for laughs, we started a topic on the forum where we ask people to tell us a song that they hope you never have to dance to…..do you have one to add to our growing list? (So far, "Gangnam Style," "Who Let the Dogs Out," "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)," and "Macarena" top the list)
“Whip/Nae Nae”—holy lord have mercy—never, ever, ever.
Is there any chance of you doing another triathlon?
I would like to do another, but to be honest, I still don't understand why once I did that last one, I lost complete motivation after it. I loved it, so I have no clue why. I think I was just drained from everything and that came at the end, but I'm back running now and in the water so who knows.
What is an activity or sport that you have never tried and don't really care to try?
Sumo. I don't like the thought of wearing diapers.
Along those same lines, what is something you have tried and don't want to try again? (could be a sport, food, etc.
Ahahaha! I had a night out with some friends from home a few days ago and when I came back to life the next day i swore I'd never do that again...................I'm an awful liar though.
Other than getting a spray tan, was there ever a time on DWTS or SCD when you thought to yourself “I’m never doing that again!”
At one stage, it was a weekly occurrence to be fair—ha. I said many times before that it really is wherever your head is or, for that matter, wherever my head was when things were suggested or decided that makes me go along with it or switch. Sometimes I have very clear intentions of how I want to do things or how I want to react to things and when I can't make those decisions for myself and I'm told how it's going to go, frustration is my biggest enemy. Sometimes again you need to take a step back and realize you are a piece of a puzzle and either accept it or not. At the time, the unfortunate thing is that it seems like the biggest issue in the world and it really isn't—perspective.
Finally, you’re going to be very busy off and on for the next several months with the tour, but will you getting back to Australia for extended periods of time?
Yes, we will be going back to Sydney and wherever else we need to go between the blocks of weeks where we will tour. I may have a few more shows happening in the UK. and maybe the states over the next while so we will just have to wait and see how it all pans out.
You and Tahyna were the hosts of Elena Samodanova’s Ballroom Superstars Dance Ball on October 22. Would you tell us a little bit about that and how it came together? Do you have plans to do future work with Elena?
Yeah, we did Elena’s show, and we had a blast. It just happened over dinner, to be honest. We were out with the kids, and Elena was talking about the show. We said we would help out however they needed us, and then she asked if we would host it which we were more than happy to do. We are glad we did. We met some great dancers there, and Elena and Alex had put together a great show so you never know - we may do more in the future. At the time, it was just a new show, so it’s always difficult to get going and there are a lot of costs involved. We were happy to help our friends out.
[Note: The following 2 questions regarding Shall We Dance on Ice and any additional time in the U.S. were asked and answered prior to Tristan having to withdraw from the show due to injury.]
You are listed as being one of the professional dancers in Shall We Dance on Ice in Las Vegas in December. That is another incredibly talented cast of performers in music, skating, and dance. Do you have any more details about this yet or do you know what type of rehearsal will be involved prior to the show?
I’m not too sure as yet – still waiting to hear what the plan is, but I’ll be dancing with Chelsie so I’d imagine I will come into town a few days in advance and put some things together and then when we get to Vegas, we will rehearse with the cast and learn the group numbers together. I know one or two of the skaters who I met while dancing with Dorothy but most of them I will be meeting for the first time as they did the show after I had left.
Do you have plans for other performances or teaching while in the states? Will you be staying for a while this time?
No plans, no. I don't think I will be doing any this time round.
First, it was wonderful getting to see you perform again in Dance To the Movies back in August. We loved the cast, concept, and show itself. What did you like about this show? What were the standout numbers for you?
Yes, Dance To the Movies was great. Just like BWAT, the cast are great and so down to earth. I always enjoy spending time with them and I hadn't seen Karina, Chelsie, or Jon for a long time so that was good to catch up. I loved the James Bond numbers because I love the music, but I know Kiki and Magda usually do the section I did and I miss seeing those guys and would have loved to see them do it. The cast had a few new guys I hadn't met before either, and that energy is always great when a new cast comes together.
Do you have any plans to return to the U.S. for the spring tour of Dance To the Movies or are your plans still up in the air at this point? Do you have other things in the works right now?
You never know what’s going to happen, but I have chronic knee pain and slipped discs in my back and neck that flare up so much that the thought of it isn't that appealing to me. I have a job in Sydney I really enjoy so that’s what I am concentrating on at the minute.
A lot of people have asked us about Dancing with the Stars Ireland. Have you been approached about being involved or do you know anything about the structure and similarities/differences to DWTS US and SCD? Would you like to be involved in some way?
Yeah, it’s good that they are finally doing one in Ireland. I was surprised when it was announced as I hadn't heard anything about it until I got messages from Ireland asking about it, and I had been contacted about it later on to be involved but again I have a job that I enjoy here that I had committed to. It would mean leaving that and moving my family again for three months or whatever it is. It’s been a long time since we could actually get settled somewhere, and I absolutely love Sydney. I always wanted to be a part of a show in Ireland but everything has to be right for all parties to make that work. I think the show will do very well, and I'm glad it’s happening and I'm glad it’s giving Irish professionals a platform to show our talent. It really is about time, so I’ll be happy to help out which they know but not in a full time capacity at this stage for that amount of time.
Have you followed what’s going on with the pros and celebrities on DWTS and SCD this year or is it a case of out of sight, out of mind?
I haven't seen too much to be honest, but I’m still in touch with most of the crew on Strictly, and Oti and I talk a lot. I had to reach out to Laura being a Bray head, then obviously with DWTS I talk to Farbs and Emma so I’m delighted he is doing so well but no, I don't watch the show. Tahyna loves it though. I’m sure I never watched it when I was in it myself. HAHAHA
You occasionally performed non-Latin and non-Ballroom dance styles on DWTS/SCD. Have you ever trained in any of these other areas or did you just learn it as you went along?
No, I never trained in any other style. I’m actually surprised you had to ask that – haha! I learned them when I had to, but all these styles I prefer to watch. I don't feel comfortable doing them or really enjoy it too much, but I appreciate people who do and I love to watch anyone do a style they love. The only other style I ever had an interest in really was tap. I never did it, but I love it. The rest I can enjoy as a spectator. I have never had a critical eye, so I can enjoy shows and numbers for what they are. There is nothing worse than people picking out things wrong with something you are enjoying watching. Competition I get is different, but I’m talking generally.
Now for some other general stuff -
If someone knew very little about Irish music/musicians, which artists would you put at the top of your recommended list?
Fiachra Treacy (Columbia Mills)
Not in that order but you should listen to all these guys.
What do you like most about living in Australia?
Everything - the weather, the mentality, my surroundings, my family - I just love it here.
When you haven’t performed or danced for a while, do you miss it and have any desire to get back on stage?
No, I don't - I have had a great time doing what I did, but I don't like to dwell on things. I had a good time at the time, but my knees hate me now, and I’m happy with what is going on. I’ll look back on a lot of it and smile, but I’ll remember it how I do.
You once said that after you do some dances you forget about them and move on. If you had to name 10 performances from DWTS, could you do it?
I’m sure I could remember some numbers but not the actual dances start to finish. Again, it’s one of those things that you remember weird things about them. I would remember moments when Nancy would be looking for a fight - haha - or rightly so proud of herself or when Gladys laughed and cheered me up. I’d remember just sitting and watching Valerie go through everything or Pam deciding what she wanted to do or talking about life, just weird things, certain things we may have talked about - conversations or comments and reactions immediately after each dance or the next day but not so much of the dance itself.
And from a standpoint of pure fun and having a great time, which show (DWTS, SCD, Ballroom With A Twist, Burn the Floor, etc.) best fits that description for you?
Probably little bits of each. They were all at different times in my life. I loved and hated them all at different times for different reasons but I'm glad I experienced them all - certain characters can depend on the day - haha.
You told us a couple of months ago that Echo loves Elmo and Winnie the Pooh. When you were a little guy growing up, did you have any favorite toys?
As a kid, I just loved football. Thats all I remember - playing football and having muck ball fights. I’m sure I had toys that I loved, but I just remember sports.
Now to the most important question of all. You’ve been all over the world and have probably visited lots of Irish pubs. Where were the best ones? (including Ireland)
The best Irish pubs are the ones I was in on that particular night.
Is Pike still living the good life in Ireland?
Pike is the most spoiled animal on the face of the planet - of course he is loving every second of it!
Finally, how’s the family and how much are you enjoying seeing your daughter change every single day?
Being a dad is, to any man, the luckiest and most amazing thing that could ever happen to anyone and to be the father of this particular child and husband to this woman makes me the luckiest of them all.
Since July, 2012, we have interviewed Tristan 71 times and each is posted here with the most recent first. All interviews are posted elsewhere on this website, including our forum.