Admit it: You’ve probably seen Dirty Dancing more times than you can count. From its irresistible soundtrack to the dance-musical-romance’s sensual choreography and chemistry, Dirty Dancing is an ’80s classic that’s loved by many.
“It’s a classic, feel-good movie … and how many times do you see people try to reenact that iconic “lift” scene?!” says Rockette Kim. “Dance for me is therapy and Dirty Dancing is all about that—no matter what they’re going through, dancing helped them overcome many obstacles.”
From Frances “Baby” Houseman (Jennifer Grey) carrying watermelon to the staff’s after-hours dance party, to heartthrob Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze) teaching Baby how to move her body in ways she didn’t think were possible, here are our favorite scenes that’ll have you wanting to break out your dancing shoes:
Baby Carrying a Watermelon
While vacationing with her wealthy family at an upper-class resort in New York’s Catskill Mountains, Baby develops a crush on the resort’s dance instructor, Johnny. While she’s wandering the resort’s grounds, she befriends Billy, Johnny’s cousin, and helps him carry watermelon (yes, watermelon!) to the staff quarters. Upon entering, Baby witnesses the staff’s after-hours dance parties where they engage in “dirty dancing” and that’s when Johnny starts to give her a taste of the new dance rage.
The Lake Scene
When Johnny’s dance partner Peggy falls ill, Baby, who has very little dance experience, volunteers herself to take her place for the “end of the summer” performance at the Sheldrake Hotel—a nearby resort where Johnny and Penny perform annually. After an intense and exhausting rehearsal, Baby makes a mistake and Johnny tells her that the competition is only two weeks away and he still hasn’t shown her the “lift” part of the routine. That’s when he takes her to a nearby meadow where he shows her the importance of balance and stability while they dance on a tree trunk. And who can forget the iconic lake scene where they practice the lift … love is in the air!
Performance At the Sheldrake Hotel
When it comes time to performing at the Sheldrake Hotel, Johnny and Baby choose to mambo to “De Todo Un Poco” (Michael Lloyd and Le Disc). While the dance went smoothly—except for some wrong turns and stumbles—Baby was so nervous she aborted the dance’s climactic lift. But despite not doing the lift, Johnny was proud of Baby and praised her for working hard.
“Come Here, Lover Boy…”
After a steamy night in Johnny’s cabin, the dancing duo get back to business rehearsing a cha-cha in the dance studio while other guests enjoy lawn dancing and a volleyball game. But they can’t seem to keep their minds on the dance. Instead, they lip sync “Love Is Strange” (Mickey & Sylvia)—particularly the “How do you call your lover boy? Come here, lover boy …” Fun fact: This scene was all improv—Jennifer and Patrick were just warming up and goofing around before filming. However, the director liked it so much, he put it in the film.
Hands down one of the most iconic scenes in movie history! After getting fired from the resort for having relations with a guest (aka Baby), Johnny returns to the final night talent show to find her. Uttering the oh-so-famous line, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner,” he escorts Baby on stage where the two perform a perfect routine set to “(I’ve Had) the Time of My Life” (Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes). The scene ends, of course, with Baby running into Johnny’s arms and nailing the “lift” as the crowd cheers. Fun fact: Jennifer confessed that she had never done the lift or even rehearsed it. She was so terrified, the only time she ever did it was when the cameras were rolling.