I’ve tried with Dirty Dancing, and it’s not for me, but I appear to be in a male minority. Although actors often moan about being identified by just one role, Patrick Swayze found it impossible to top his performance as the dance instructor who sweeps Jennifer Grey’s “Baby” off her feet. It’s worth remembering that both stars were unknowns before 1987, and this low-budget period dance flick could have had no hopes of becoming a phenomenon. The story is simple enough – Romeo and Juliet with moves, as posh 17-year-old holidays with family at New York resort, falls for rough-house bluecoat-equivalent, and finds expression and independence through sexualised dance. The famous “lift” that Baby chickens out of during the pair’s first performance becomes a metaphor for all kinds of other elevation and perfectly fits the timeless power ballad The Time of My Life, whose success helped lift the film to box-office glory. OK, I’m going to give Dirty Dancing another chance. Maybe I’ll have the time of my life.
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