Dancing His Way Into Your Heart
Tristan Ianiero has been dancing from the age of six and has reached new heights this year, competing on Dancing with the Stars: Juniors.
Written By Myles Shane
Interviewed By Victoria Scott
Never in his wildest dreams did Tristan Ianiero imagine he’d be dancing on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars: Juniors with Alana Thompson a.k.a. Honey Boo Boo as his partner in front of an international television audience. Ianiero, from Hollywood North (Toronto), was only 14 years old when he was asked to join the cast of DWTSJ. He had competed all over North America and won many awards and accolades, including two national titles, Mini Male Best Dancer in 2015 and Junior Male Best Dancer in 2017, but this was the big time.
“I was at a competition and my mom called me aside and said, ‘you got a call from a producer from Dancing with the Stars.’” He stared at his mother in disbelief. “They want you to fly to L.A. and do an audition.” On the outside Ianiero appeared calm but inside he was freaking out. A month later they were off to La La Land. “I performed my solo and I did some partnering ballroom work with other people that were called back.” One week later, back in Toronto, he received a call from the producers informing him he’d been picked for the show. As the only young professional from Canada, he says, “I was so excited.”
To make things even more exhilarating, when Ianiero arrived in L.A. to start shooting he found out his mentor was Artem Chigvintsev, a Russian-American professional dancer, and his partner was none other than the world-famous Honey Boo Boo. If you’ve never heard of Honey Boo Boo, she starred in the TLC reality hit show Here Comes Honey Boo Boo for five fun-filled, hilarious seasons. Ianiero recalls, “At first she didn’t know how to dance at all. It was a struggle, because she needed to learn how to move. She was hilarious. It was really fun working with her, but also very stressful because we had to perform in a couple of weeks.”
Dancing with the Stars: Juniors is a children’s dance competition television series which premiered on Oct. 7, 2018, on ABC. The show features celebrity children opposite skilled junior ballroom dancers. The couples compete with each other by performing choreographed dance routines in front of a panel of judges. Jordan Fisher and Frankie Muniz host the new series while a group of judges, including choreographer Mandy Moore, bestow their professional opinions — but the fans are the ones responsible for deciding who makes the cut each week.
Although Ianiero and Thompson were voted out of the show on Week 4 after their Ghostbusters jazz routine on Halloween week, they will not be deterred as they move forward. Ianiero states that one day he’d like to be a choreographer, but for the time being he’s taking life step by step. His inspiration for becoming a dancer is his cousin, Daniel Celebre, who was a backup dancer for “The King of Pop,” Michael Jackson. When asked if he has any advice for up-and-comers, Ianiero insists that anyone can accomplish anything as long as they work hard and listen to their mentors.