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Top 5 Need to Know Facts About Dirty Dancing

VO: Emily Brayton
The movie may be almost 30 years old but it’s a true classic! There are some facts you may not know about the movie, including the fact that there’s an important word that is never said out loud throughout the film, that many real moments made it into the film, that it’s based on a true story and that the famous lift was never rehearsed!

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Top 5 Need to Know Facts About Dirty Dancing

Get ready for the time of your life. Welcome to MsMojo and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 5 Need to Know Facts About Dirty Dancing.
For this list, we’re looking at the most interesting facts that you may not know about 1987’s original Dirty Dancing film.

#5: The Real “Kellerman's” Does "Dirty Dancing" Weekends

For true fans that just can’t get enough, you’ll be happy to learn that you can live out the Dirty Dancing experience - at least for a weekend. While the fictional Kellerman’s was supposed to be in the Catskills region of New York, much of the filming actually took place in Pembroke, Virginia at the Mountain Lake Lodge. The Lodge offers “Dirty Dancing” packages several weekends a year, which include tours of filming locations, a movie screening, a watermelon toss and, of course, dance lessons. The most diehard fans can even spend the night in the Virginia cottage where Baby and her family stayed. Sign us up!

#4: There’s an Important Word That Is Never Said Out Loud

While the plot of the movie focuses on Baby learning to dance and the romance blossoming between her and Johnny, the subplot addresses the controversial issue of abortion. The film was released in 1987 when this was a far more taboo subject than it is today, and was set in the 1960s when such a thing was essentially unspeakable. All that likely explains why the word “abortion” is never actually spoken in the film. Instead, they simply describe the character of Penny as being “in trouble,” and while for older audiences it’s pretty obvious what’s going on, for younger viewers, this omission avoids drawing attention to the mature subplot.

#3: The Famous Lift Wasn't Rehearsed

Since the movie’s release, star Jennifer Grey has come out saying that she suffered a lot of anxiety and self-doubt during filming - just like her character. In fact, she was so nervous about shooting the lift scene at the end of the film that she refused to rehearse it. The shot you see in the movie... is allegedly the ONLY one they filmed. Grey has since stated that she was so self conscious of her dancing that for years after the movie’s release, she wouldn’t even dance at weddings for fear that people would be disappointed by her performance.

#2: It's Kind of Based on a True Story

The movie’s screenwriter, Eleanor Bergstein, has revealed that much of Dirty Dancing’s story was actually based on her own adolescence. Like Baby, she was from a Jewish family who would vacation at a Catskills resort in the summer. Her father was also a doctor. In fact, the nickname Baby was one that she used until adulthood. The major difference though is that Bergstein was actually quite a skilled dancer who worked at an Arthur Murray dance studio as an instructor. Hopefully her summer vacations weren’t quite as eventful as the ones portrayed in the film.

#1: Many Real Moments Made It into the Film

You may be surprised to find out that some of Dirty Dancing’s most iconic scenes were actually completely unscripted. The film’s director decided to let the cameras roll when the actors were goofing around and practicing and some of these moments actually made the final cut. Perhaps the most notable is the scene where Baby and Johnny are both crawling on the floor dramatically. The two were just being silly before actually filming, but the director liked it so much he kept it. Another example is the scene where Baby keeps laughing when Johnny runs his hands down her arms- her reaction was totally genuine and so was Patrick Swayze’s frustration!

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