It’s the summer of 1963. Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze) is a Catskills summer camp dance teacher (moonlighting as a “dirty dancer” in sleazy bars) who takes on a willing pupil – seventeen-year-old Frances Houseman (Jennifer Grey), who is vacationing with her parents, and who everybody calls ‘Baby’.
When Johnny’s dance partner has to rest up – after an unwanted pregnancy (not Johnny’s fault) and a botched abortion – Baby offers to help him out, dance-wise, and the two get close – and steamy.
Their love affair seems doomed from the start, and Baby’s father gets Johnny fired. But the sweetness that carries the movie beyond the dance floor is the way Baby brings out the dignity and self-respect Johnny’s never had and Johnny brings out the womanly wisdom Baby’s never experienced.
In one of the corniest finales on film, even Baby’s square, uptight parents see the light and fall for “dirty dancing “.
For girls, this is a deeply romantic film. The most romantic moment is (apparently) when Johnny says to Baby, “Nobody puts Baby in the corner!” Then, if you’re a girl, you burst into tears . . .
Dirty Dancing‘s soundtrack really took off. (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life, Hungry Eyes, and She’s Like The Wind could be responsible for karaoke!
But how do you do ‘dirty dancing’? It’s a standard bumping-and-grinding arrangement with the emphasis on grinding. Basically just simulate sex on a dance floor in a vertical position. Wear deodorant.
Frances “Baby” Houseman
Dr Jake Houseman
Charles Honi Coles