'Dancing With the Stars': Tristan MacManus on getting handcuffed to Mark Ballas, Katherine's pesky pant leg, Maks and Melissa's rehearsal drama
Ballroom dancing pro and amateur leprechaun Tristan MacManus will keep checking in with EW.com even after he and partner Gladys Knight were eliminated in their quest for the coveted mirrorball trophy.
Are you still handcuffed to Mark Ballas? We couldn’t get them off at the end, yeah! I actually cut my finger when I grabbed ’em. I didn’t realize until I looked up at the scores and realized me hand was covered in blood. I must’ve grabbed ’em too tight or something.
I got a message from Mark on Tuesday night and it said “You’re my pro.” Yeah, for sure, it was fun! It was very difficult. Sometimes it’s easier to choreograph when you have more people. Not in the sense that you can get more help, but certainly in the sense of symmetry and stuff. Like if you have four people, then you can always make it easier. With three, it’s quite difficult. It was a big test for the professionals to have to do that this week.
Tonight, with the dance trios, it was good for us [pros] to get a chance to come back, and I enjoyed getting a chance to watch their rehearsals all right, because I’m still new to this, know what I mean? It was nice to sit in with them, and they had a bit of a craic this week. So it was a good laugh. Craic means fun. Craic in Irish just means having a good time. We had a lot of laughs and jokes this week. That’s the thing that was good about it as well, getting the chance to kind of hang out. I haven’t done much of that this season, so it was nice for me to really get to know them a bit more, like sit down and actually talk to people at rehearsal as well. We all kind of sit around the kitchen and talk to each other, but it’s nice to talk to people while they’re learnin’. Just a chance to work closer with people is good.
And [Troupe members] Sasha and Henry got to step it up in the spotlight! Oh, yeah, especially Sasha because he’s been dying for it. But Henry’s great, he’s really, really good and he really killed that number. Hopefully they get a chance to get partners there pretty soon.
That was a pretty bad wardrobe malfunction in the cha cha. Were you dying to rip the rest of Katherine’s pant leg off? I was! You know what, as soon as it happened, I was looking for an opportunity to take it off. Sometimes when stuff like that happens, you think to yourself I need to get that off, I need to get that off, but trying to get it off would hurt your partner even more. You just try to take the attention off it. She actually did it herself, she handled it great. But if we had made a big issue of trying to swoop for it and pull it and yank it and this and that it probably would have put her off more. The main thing was trying to keep her nerves down and make sure she got on with the dance. There certainly was that moment there where me heart stopped! I said please don’t let it be the leg on my side!
That’s something that never happened in the dress rehearsal. It’s a one-piece suit, you know? So the stitching must’ve went or something because it didn’t come off at all. With the show costumes themselves — you only get to do the sound check in the morning time. So we only got to use that costume one time.
Nice shades tonight! Yeah, they always make you do those poses for the camera before the intros. I think I was making a silly face on the first one. The second one, I had a good straight face, when we posed like the Men in Black.
Tons of rehearsal studio drama this week. How easy is it to lose your temper during training? The thing is with the cameras, the cameras are there from the minute you walk into the studio ’til the minute you leave. People lose their rag sometimes. But the thing is, it’s entirely up to the producers what they want to use in the packages and how they want to tell the particular story of what goes on that week. I think that’s really clear with Melissa each week. She’s trying to point out all the time, “well this isn’t what Maks is like all the time.” Some people do get angry sometimes and start to scream and they probably go a bit overboard sometimes. But maybe in the package they might show something going wrong and the teacher starts screaming and saying this and that and that. But that particular scream — that might not have even been what they were screaming about, know what I mean? Reactions become reactions to dance steps that had nothing to do with the original scream in the first place.
But at the same time, like I said, as far as people are in rehearsals, you want to have respect all the time. No one needs to be shoutin’, that’s all, whether they’re 19 or they’re 50 or whatever they are, for whatever reason. No need to shout at people. You don’t need to demean people, and most people remember that. We don’t know the whole story, and I certainly don’t. I shouldn’t be saying what people should be doing because I don’t know what goes on in that room. I just see the packages just like everyone else.
You can lose your temper because you want someone to do well, you can lose your temper because someone isn’t doing well, and you can lose your temper — as stupid as it sounds — because sometimes people just don’t want to do well. In the sense that well, you’re screaming at me all day, I don’t care what happens. But I try not to scream at people. It is what it is.
As told to Annie Barrett. See Annie’s embarrassingly bad impression of Tristan here!
Dancing With the Stars