“Dancing With The Stars” fans had heavy hearts when pro dancer Tristan MacManus made a pre-mature departure with his partner Dorthy Hamill this season. On week 5 Tristan made his return with Head Judge Len Goodman’s side – by – side challenge. The DWTS coveted pro talks about the side – by – side challenge, gives some words of wisdom for the remaining contestants, and even reveals what he would do if given a “Disney” theme week.
1. You had the opportunity to do two side by side routines on week 5. One with Chelsie, Sean and Peta and another one with Emma, Victor and Lindsey. What were your first thoughts of the challenge, and what was the rehearsal process like?
I enjoyed it. I was looking forward to helping out and working with other couples on the show. It’s always hard to still feel part of the season when you go so early. It was great to come back in a similar capacity. The rehearsal process wasn’t as rigorous for us joining couples as there was time restrictions put on what we could do. Each couple got four hours to work with the competing couples as well. It’s very easy to just come in and try take over, which I made sure I didn’t do. We watched, and then when we were asked we gave our input. I liked giving a guy’s perspective to the celebs to give them something else to relate to.
2. The competition is getting fierce now that we’ve passed the halfway point. What’s your advice to the couples there now? How can they cope with the even more difficult weeks ahead?
No advice really to be honest, just not to let it get to them too much. Remember why you are there and use that to keep you happy. I think everyone is doing great I don’t know how quickly each person picks things up, but if they can pick up the chore as quick as possible then its just repetition and do the best you can.
3. We love seeing you in the pro numbers and “dance assists” for the musical guests! If you had to bring on your dream musician/band to perform for a results show who would you bring?
I enjoy dancing to the muscial acts, but I can’t really say who I’d like to perform to. I love listening to them play when they come on, so thats what I prefer doing like when Kiss came on, and The script and groups like that. I’d love Mumford and Sons or The Lumineers to come on, but again I’d prefer to listen to them play rather then dance to them. I love the band Van Hoorn as well. They are cool. I’m biased, but I really like their music.
4. Is there any pro on the show with whom you haven’t danced with that you’d like to? If so what style of dance would you choose?
I think I’ve danced with everyone on the show at some stage. I couldn’t pick. Everyone is so unique in their ways. I enjoyed dancing with Emma and Witney last week, because I had never danced with them before. I’ve rehearsed with them before, but never performed with them so that was fun. They are both super girls and really fun to work with for the week. I’d like to do some ballroom with Anna. She is great to dance with.
5. DWTS has been known to have some awesome (and sometimes crazy) theme weeks. If DWTS did a Disney week, what Disney song would you choose to dance to?
Disney has so many classics, it’s hard to choose. I love the songs in “Aladdin” – “One Jump Ahead” and “Friend Like Me.” I think “Do Right” from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” is a classic as well. I wanted to dance to it with Pam (Anderson). I thought that character would have been great for her – Jessica Rabbit and the long red hair but it didn’t work out.
6. Has the show been too focused on making the numbers so epic in the production value that it’s lost a little bit of the focus on the actual dancing?
I don’t think the production takes away from the dancing, because we still do all the dancing while the number is going on. Maybe just sometimes the producers focus on something else during the taping. I like the bigger numbers and I like how different they can be. Sometimes everything gets a bit “samey,” so a change is needed and I think thats what they are trying to do. We as dancers can dance, but the reality is what they want to show is up to them.
7. If there was one word to describe your journey with Dorothy what would it be?
Short or disappointing (but in the sense that we had so much to give and it didnt work out).
8. Last time you were asked in an interview, you said your favorite dances were The Waltz and The Rumba? Would you still say those were your favorite Ballroom and Latin dance?
I don’t think anything has happened to change my mind. I still love both dances but I like all dances with stories, so it was just off the top of my head- I like the intimate emotional stories.
9. You pride yourself in teaching, and rightfully so. You’re a gifted teacher. Besides patience, what have you found to be some effective teaching tools/technique when it comes to dance?
Teaching I find to be an amazing thing. I like to pass on information, and I love opening my mind to new information. I think the common ground is relation, and how you relate one thing to another. If you know what points you want to get across, you need to know different ways to explain it and you need to listen to whoever you are teaching to decide how you want to teach. That’s the easiest way I find. I often used to just take literally everything I was told and if I liked it I’d never forget it, but if it didn’t interest me it was hard to keep in my brain. So, I started relating it to things I did like – maybe not the way I was taught it, but the way I would remember it. I think everyone is different but we all remember what we want to- otherwise you can just go read the book and be told what to do!!
Thank you Tristan for the interview! Always a pleasure, and hopefully we’ll continue to see you on S16.
Follow Tristan MacManus on Twitter: @TristanMacManus