5 Things You Never Knew About ‘Dirty Dancing’ In Honor Of Its 30th Anniversary


It’s been 30 years since “Dirty Dancing” jumped its way into our open arms. Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze made us swoon and sigh when they danced onto the screen in 1987.

Today, the movie is a firmly entrenched classic in our film canon that most people can quote fluently (“Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”).

If you’re still in love with Baby and Johnny, check out these five facts you might not know about the movie, in honor of its 30th anniversary.

1. You can actually stay in the “Dirty Dancing” hotel.

The resort where Baby spends her eventful summer is a real place, called Mountain Lake Lodge. Located in the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains, the resort was renovated in 2012 and now offers offers Dirty Dancing-themed weekends. You can take a guided walking tour, dancing lessons, compete in a watermelon toss and even stay in the same cabin where Baby and her family stayed.

Mountain Lake Lodge

RELATED: This ‘Uptown Funk’ Mashup With Famous Movie Dance Scenes Will Make You Smile

2. The movie was very scandalous in 1987.

Even in 1987, much was made about a certain “Dirty Dancing” background dancer, wearing a polka-dot dress and doing that leg-up step. According to screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein, the movie’s editor said, “How can you have respect for a girl who dances this way?” Well, apparently, the leg-up step was known as “Eleanor’s step,” and in real life won Bergstein “champagne contests” (in which her parents scored a bottle) when she was still a preteen, thanks to her mamba and cha-cha skills. Needless to say, Bergstein won out over the editor and the leg-up step stayed.


3. The soundtrack was almost too expensive for the movie.

The studio told Bergstein the classic songs she wanted in the movie were too expensive. Eventually, they made a deal: 10 master tracks, and 10 “sound-alikes,” which cost less. If Bergstein could correctly identify six of the original songs from their fake versions, they could keep the originals in the movie, despite the cost.

“I nailed all 10, and we got to keep the originals,” Bergstein told TODAY. “The music meant everything for me.”

The soundtrack has since sold more than 32 million copies worldwide and gone platinum 11 times in the U.S. alone.


4. Patrick Swayze was the only man for Johnny.

There could never have been another actor to play Johnny, Bergstein says—the part was only ever offered to Swayze.

“Out of the woodwork actors come out now and say they turned it down, but that’s not true,” she told TODAY. “I told (Swayze), ‘If you decide not to do this, I don’t think I can make this movie.'”


5. The movie is based on screenwriter Bergstein’s experiences.

According to the writer, “dirty dancing” was what all the young, hip kids were doing in the mid-1950s when she was growing up. Bergstein first started dirty dancing herself while she was living in Brooklyn… and then eventually in the Catskills, like someone else we know.

“I was a dirty dancing queen,” Bergstein told TODAY. “A teenage mambo queen. And I had all kinds of trophies. In Brooklyn there were competitions in basements, just a couple of kids in basements. My signature step was my leg would go up around the neck of my partner.”


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About the Author
Jessica Suss
Current high-school English teacher, native Chicagoan, and nut butter enthusiast moonlighting as a writer.

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