Tristan took time from his very busy schedule to answer more of your questions. This time he talks about rehearsals, working with Jamelia, and most importantly, which cartoon characters he and Jamelia might portray best. Enjoy!
The question everyone is asking – how have rehearsals been going?
Rehearsals have been going well, yeah. We have had a lot of things we have been trying to work on and improve and it’s been a struggle at times but definitely moving in the right direction. We are having a good time and getting a lot of progress and enjoying each other’s company. Day to day, everything is improving and that’s what you want to see.
We got a laugh out of the clip where you told Jamelia that your first dance would involve breakdancing. How long did you string her along with that? And have you ever done a bit of breakdancing yourself?
No, that was was purely for a VT taping. She had an idea we would be doing a ballroom dance as opposed to a Latin dance. The waltz was the dance Jamelia was least looking forward to but she worked hard on it and now it’s out of the way so it’s onwards and upwards with a Cha Cha next week. I think I break the dancing I do now but never done any breakdancing, no. I couldn't think of anything I’d like to do any less.......well that’s over exaggerating.... ..but breakdancing is not for me.
When training for the first dance, you have more time than in later weeks so we are assuming that you have more time to put the dance together and schedule rehearsals. Have you and Jamelia been practicing both your Week 1 and Week 2 dances at each rehearsal or are you waiting until Week 1 is over to work on Week 2’s dance?
No, we just worked on week 1. I think you need to have your immediate focus on what you are doing now, not what you are going to do. I try and incorporate different rhythms and patterns for practice that cross over with different dances but certainly no choreography. For some celebs it can rush them too much and panic sets in. In the ideal world you want to have as less stress as possible going into each week – ha.
Assuming you and Jamelia will be dancing Week 3, how will things work? When do you first get the music? Do you work through it all in your head in advance, listen to the music, or consider possible choreography or do you wait until actual rehearsals and work it out then?
A bit of both. I have groups in my head but then you have to gauge how it looks on an individual. You always get ideas and a visual in your head of how you want it to go and how you want it to look but the reality is that it only works when you actually start moving in rehearsals. In your head everyone moves a lot better and faster – ha. We will probably start getting week 3 music in a few days time. Every department has an idea of what they want each celeb to do week to week and then when it’s all decided we try make that happen.
In the Radio Times interview, both you and Jamelia mentioned one of the “challenges” is her feet. How do you get that little problem worked out? Or is it ongoing?
I think everything is always ongoing. You will only improve by putting the work in but like everything you can always do better so in that sense its always ongoing. You have to look at the bigger picture and prioritize what you want to emphasize. When it comes to live shows sometimes everything you have worked on for weeks goes out the window. Sometimes it doesn’t so you just have to keep working and keep improving. You have to give yourself credit for improving stuff but you have to always at the same time keep working on it. Pros work on their own technique daily so it’s no different for newbies.
In your First Steps video, you and Jamelia were doing a lot of laughing. What was so funny?
I have no idea!! We have a good time. It was the first day so it may have been a mix of excitement and also defense mechanism for people when they are embarrassed about learning and not being confident yet! We are having a good time though all the videos focus on different things in rehearsals and sometimes - I'm not talking about this particular video - it’s not the reality of how the whole week went. It’s a small part of a long week.
We always ask this about your partners, and we can’t help but ask this time. What are Jamelia’s strengths?
Jamelia’s main strength is that she knows exactly who she is and she isn't trying to pretend she is anything else and I like that about her. I like that about anybody. Whether people like you or not you can't change to fit in. She is very aware that some people don't like her and she is fine with that. It might not seem like a strength for dancing but for me it is because you know where you stand and having that directness with her makes everything clearer. I don't have to worry about what I say and how I critique because it’s black and white - this is right or this is wrong and this is why. She is a performer and can grasp character and rhythms so I can always relate things to her career.
You mentioned in one of early interviews that you got to sing along with Gladys Knight during a rehearsal. Jamelia is also a singer. Are there any duets in the works?
No, not at all - haha. Jamelia sings a lot so I just listen. Sometimes I’m just in my own world and singing to myself but I’m not there to show what I can do - haha. Gladys was different gravy at that time. Everything was so surreal and you aren't gonna pass up singing with Gladys.
What is the most outrageous costume you have ever had to wear while performing?
In fairness when you are a Latin dancer you are gonna look a bit dodgy most the time.
Suppose you had to choose a Disney character or cartoon figure for both you and Jamelia to portray in a dance. Who would it be?
The Princess and the Frog....she would be the frog, haha. Ah, I don't know. The thing about Disney is it’s great but it’s been done so much. Everyone wants to do One Jump from Aladdin. I always loved that rooster from Robin Hood.
Since July, 2012, we have interviewed Tristan 74 times and each is posted here with the most recent first. All interviews are posted elsewhere on this website, including our forum.