And here we go again!
You’ve been doing the Ballroom With A Twist tour with Anna for several weeks , and we have been hearing great things about your comedy skills and your hosting skills. Do you enjoy that part of the show as much as it seems?
Yeah, I do. To be honest, I’m really liking the idea of hosting a lot more every time I do it, so I’m looking into doing some more research and maybe a course or something and try to follow up that way. I’ve asked Tom for some help, so he is going to point me in the right direction. Whose brain could be better to pick and learn from?
What do you like most about doing BWAT? Is there anything that is particularly challenging about doing a show like this?
The most difficult part to a degree I guess is like the dancing in a way and not just saying words for the sake of saying words. I don’t like scripts; I like to know what point I need to get across and then be left to do that however I want. Having a daily show that doesn’t change is a great platform for me because I feel like I have the responsibility to keep people motivated when they are tired of motivating themselves, and I look around and comment on what I see and feed off the audience – it’s fun - some get your humour, some don’t! Just like dancing.
Thinking ahead to the future, if you and your celebrity partner on DWTS ended up in the finals, what type of Freestyle do you think would be fun to choreograph and perform? Obviously a lot would depend on your partner, but is there a particular type of performance you’ve always wanted to create?
It’s hard to say. I really don’t know. I’d like to do something different of course to what has been done. Unfortunately, in our industry a great idea over the break from the season is the worst thing because a day or an hour where someone else is dancing can be the difference to it being new and being 'already done'. I have had ideas I have wanted to do one week but then you don’t get that dance or someone’s used the music you wanted or the costume idea you had! I will know the freestyle when I have to do the freestyle, but I’ll take suggestions, ha!
Several people have asked about the costumes you wear when performing. What is the most outrageous costume you’ve ever had to wear in a professional performance? Have you ever had a costume on DWTS (or anywhere else) that you just weren’t comfortable wearing?
To be honest, as well as the costumes are made, I don’t like the flamboyance of a lot of it, and that’s the only thing I don’t like. Every season I ask if I can wear jeans, 'normal clothes' that people wear when they dance – haha! I understand that it’s a package but I only worry about what my partner wants to wear and the dance we have. We have a costume department that knows what they are doing and should be allowed to showcase what they do, so I’m happy to let them work. They know that I don’t want sparkles and tassels or see-through silk and chaps but at the end of the day the producers have their jobs too, and they make final call on everything. I worry about dancing, but I will always make sure I’m comfortable and my partner is comfortable. My favourite costume was the Halloween costume with Nancy, and my least favourite was a performance where I had to wear somebody else’s waistcoast and shirt because mine ripped last minute or stained or something. It ended up being too small. I hated that.
What is the most unusual performance of your career? (unusual in the sense of staging, choreography, music, etc.)
I have done a few event-type of shows, and the stage has literally been the size of a kitchen table, and they wanted us to do some waltz on it. It was very random and weird. To be honest, there was nowhere to go and barely room to turn around. I don’t know how that worked!! I have had to dance in the street before and in supermarkets. It’s horrible. One time we danced to promote a show at a halftime of an American football game, but I can’t remember where that was. We were dancing in front of all these blokes with their faces painted and no tops on - all tanked up - there was something very ballroom competition about that moment. Hahaha!
You competed as a dancer when you were younger. Do you recall your first competition?
I have no idea - it was that long ago! It sounds weird, but I don’t remember many comps. I was a kid who just liked to hang out with other kids and the 'competitions' were just really an excuse to go hang out for the day, so I don’t remember. They used to have the kids comp during the day and the adults at night on a Sunday, so I would stay and watch my grandparents dance and chuck a sicky on the way home in the car to try ditch school on the Monday morning – haha - just look directly into the street lights on the way home and with my motion sickness I was set.
You were at Dance With Me Studios earlier this week. Would you tell us about that?
Yeah, I went to Dance With Me Studios in Long Island. We are here doing BWAT for the week, and Val asked me if I would like to teach for the day we had off. I had only seen their Soho studio in NY, so I said yes and went down. It’s beautiful; the staff are really cool. A lot of them I hadn’t met before and there is just a nice atmosphere in that place. Hopefully I can go back again. I have already told Maks and Val that I’ll need a job if this season doesn’t work out so they are making me send in a resume and we will see what happens. Haha!
You’ve told us previously how you go about teaching various dances. Now we’re curious about Samba. What challenges are there in teaching this dance?
The main characteristic is the bounce, and that has to be there, so I guess trying to have strength and control with speed. Strength is always confused with physicality so people begin to tighten up and push and get rough, but it should be strength through the ground and the power you release through momentum. Like an elastic band - pull it back and let it go - if it needs to go further and faster, pull it back further. So you have to control that momentum whilst incorporating the only important element of a samba - the bounce. It sounds complicated but it really isn’t. You explain everything through analogies that people understand individually.
The members of our website have great respect for all of the pros and troupe members, but we were wondering how you see the other pros in terms of their particular strengths or in terms of what makes them so good at what they do.
I haven’t seen too many of them teach to be honest, but I know their work ethics. You would have to ask their celebrities what they are like. I know they all have their own goals and ideals. A lot do things differently to me and to each other, but whatever their way is seems to work. Everyone has a different priority, I think, and everyone to a degree ‘plays the game’ so it’s best that you just enjoy what it is you enjoy about people. People who have been on the show a little longer know how it works and know what people like about them and know what they need to do to do their best. The best example was all star season and the celebrities - think of about how many of them changed your mind about how you felt about them. Some were themselves like always, and some forgot who they were first time round hahaha. Our cast is very, very talented and I love different things about each of them. I just wish there was a way to see everyone when it wasn’t 'showtime'. Some people’s main strengths are the personal traits; some are their professional traits.
Hope all is well, and thanks for the questions!
Since July, 2012, we have interviewed Tristan 75 times and each is posted here with the most recent first.