How to dance dirty dancing time of my life
The Story of... '(I've Had) The Time of My Life' from Dirty DancingThe Story of... '(I've Had) The Time of My Life' from Dirty Dancing - Smooth
21 February 2020, 15:32The famous Dirty Dancing lift. Picture: Vestron Pictures
By Tom Eames
It's one of the most famous movie songs of all time, helped by a certain dance routine by Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey.
'(I've Had) The Time of My Life' by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes was used in the 1987 movie Dirty Dancing, and has since become one of the world's most famous pop songs.
It's a song that is guaranteed to be heard at every wedding, birthday party and '80s cheese disco night.
But who wrote the song and what's the story behind it's creation? Here's all the fascinating facts you need:
Who wrote 'Time of My Life'?Franke Previte (right) with Frank DiCopoulis. Picture: Getty
Singer-songwriter Frank Previte was the lead singer of the band Franke and the Knockouts. He had some success with the song 'Sweetheart' in 1981, but by 1986 he was without a record deal.
In late 1986, producer and head of Millennium Records, Jimmy Ienner, asked Previte to write some music for "a little movie called Dirty Dancing".
At first, Previte turned the request down as he was still trying to get a record deal, but took on the project and ended up writing several songs for the film, including 'Hungry Eyes', later recorded by Eric Carmen.
Previte wrote the lyrics, and the music was written by John DeNicola and Don Markowitz.
Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey danced to Previte's demo version
Previte recorded a demo of the song, performing it himself, along with singer Rachele Cappelli.
The demo was a less polished version of the final track by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes, but because the track was not ready by the time the finale of the movie was filmed, Previte and Capelli's much lighter demo was used as a backing track, so that actors Swayze and Grey, and the other dancers, could have something to dance to.
On how he first saw the final scene, Previte said: "My feelings were over the top. What can I say? Chills."
Swayze later said it was his favourite version, and it was eventually included on the 1998 CD reissue of Previte's 1981 album Franke and the Knockouts.
Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes weren't the first choices
The song was initially meant for Donna Summer and Joe Esposito to record, but Summer turned it down as she didn't like the title of the movie.
Righteous Brothers star Bill Medley was approached by Jimmy Ienner many times over two months to record it, but he also turned it down as his daughter McKenna was due to be born.
After the birth of his daughter, Medley was asked again, as Jennifer Warnes said she would record the song if she could duet with Medley.
Warnes later said of the song: "I think it was an accident that just blossomed. Nobody thought it would be this huge. It was just a surprise.
"And we did our best, Bill and I. The movie was great - still popular and always will be. But I've thought about it and I wondered why the whole world loves it so much and I think the answer is because it's real joyful. If you take the joy out of that song, it's not a hit."
Lionel Richie was meant to record the finale songvia GIPHY
A song by Lionel Richie was initially planned to be used as the finale of Dirty Dancing.
However, choreographer Kenny Ortega and assistant Miranda Garrison (who also played Vivian in the film) selected 'The Time of My Life' instead.
It became a MASSIVE hit
In the United States, the single topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart in November 1987 for one week, and also reached number one on the Adult Contemporary for four weeks.
In the UK, it had two chart runs: in November 1987, the song peaked at number 6. In January 1991, after the film was shown on mainstream TV, the song climbed back up and reached number eight.
It won an Oscar, Golden Globe and Grammy in 1988.
Who has covered the song?
Among various cover versions include:
- Peter Andre and Katie Price recorded a cover for their 2006 album A Whole New World
- Barry Manilow covered the song on his 2008 album The Greatest Songs of the Eighties
- In 2010, The Black Eyed Peas sampled the chorus in their song, 'The Time (Dirty Bit)'
- In 2014, the song was covered by Kerry Ellis and Joe McElderry for Ellis' self-titled album.
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Professional choreographers Lauren Yalango-Grant and Christopher Grant deconstruct the final dance in Dirty Dancing. Original below. Nobody puts Patrick Swayze in the corner.
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"Dirty Dancing" - a masterpiece of feminism
"Dirty Dancing" - one of the main movie hits of the 1980s, a rare film that was ahead of its time and absolutely not outdated even now. To the news about the continuation of the cult film, we explain why it is impossible.
Patrick Swayze nine0003
Dirty Dancing is one of the most unexpected film successes of the 1980s. No one expected good things from a film with a budget of 6 million and a filming period of a rapid three months: the bosses of the Vestron Pictures studio, after looking at the footage, at first offered to burn it right away in order to recoup at least some insurance costs, and then insisted that the film should not dishonor the studio and went directly to the video store. And yet, it came out and in a few weeks grew into a giant hit: there was even a movement of viewers (to be fair, female viewers) who watched the film in cinemas a hundred times. nine0003
Those who attribute the film's success to erotic overtones have obviously never seen it - "dirty" in the context of these dances just means "wild", and in the only remotely erotic scene, the viewer is shown a Chinese red paper lamp. The film was not about dirt at all, and not even about dancing. He beckoned the viewer with a freedom that could not be repeated either before or later: that every girl can choose her fate and her sexuality for herself. And if you are seventeen years old and you really want to fuck this handsome instructor, then nothing should stop you. This freedom of Dirty Dancing was ignored yesterday, it is often turned a blind eye today, but this is the main thing in the film and not at all the secret reason for its incredible success. nine0003
The story of Dirty Dancing begins with screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein and producer Linda Gottlieb having a dinner together. “I have a good idea for a film,” Bergstein said. “It is based on my life. True, there will be a lot of mamba dancing in it. “Tell me about your life,” Gottlieb asked. Bergstein said: In the 1960s, America, tickets to Europe still cost a little less than planes, and wealthy Jewish families went on vacation to the boarding houses of the so-called Borscht Belt, nicknamed so for its exclusively Jewish population - in Catskill, a mountain range in the Appalachian belt, where, according to Washington Irving, according to legend, Rip van Winkle fell asleep for 20 years. It was here that the entertainment hotels were living their last days, where the rich from Brooklyn settled into expensive - very expensive - bungalows, and they were entertained nightly with dancers, magicians, comedians, musicians and artists. For many of these artists, performing on the "borscht stage" was the first step to a real career - for example, Woody Allen, Lenny Bruce and Jerry Lewis started here. But for decent Jewish girls, the hotels of the Borscht Belt were the only territory of freedom - many of them came here to part with their bored virginity or at least to dance passionately. So it was with Eleanor Bergstein, the daughter of a doctor whose family spent all summer at the Grossinger Hotel in Catskill. Here Eleanor learned to dance the mamba - so much so that she won several competitions - and secretly had an affair with the teacher. The film that Gottlieb and Bergstein came up with that evening was to be called I Was the Teenage Mamba Queen. We were lucky that in the end they decided to turn it into something more interesting: not just by chance, but into a fairy tale. nine0003
The main character of the film, seventeen-year-old Frances Houseman, nicknamed Baby, "baby", comes with her parents and her stupid older sister to relax for a week and immediately falls for the local dance instructor, a young boorish Irishman Johnny. While her parents watch performances and cut into bridge, she eats through the eyes of Johnny dancing with older women rich enough to let a fur coat casually fall from her shoulder to the floor. But then Baby gets a chance to prove herself - Johnny's dancing partner, Penny, flew into the air from one of the waiters who work part-time in a boarding house between studies at Yale. When Baby tries to withdraw money from the waiter for an abortion, he slips Ayn Rand's "Source" to her, saying that all means are good in achieving greatness. And, having borrowed money from dad "for a good cause", Baby goes to learn mamba from Johnny to perform on stage with him while Penny lies under the knife of a passing doctor. After the dance, and after having to once again call on dad to help the dying Penny, Baby will come to Johnny's room and make him dance with her again - her hand will stop on his ass as an unambiguous announcement of intent. It won't break for a long time. nine0003
This is a woman's story, and not at all in the sense of the excessive romanticization that is usually considered feminine, although the kisses here are really tender. This is the story of a woman who herself wanted, chose, seduced, without limiting her sexual desires in any way. She, we recall, is 17, and she is a virgin. She not only chooses herself with whom and how she will lose this virginity, she also saves her chosen one twice, if not three times. The first time is when she dances with him instead of Penny. In the second, when she admits to the whole boarding house that she spent the night with him in order to clear charges of theft from him. And most importantly, when he convinces him that he is not just a boy to please customers, but an adult independent person. Unlike all romantic stories, which, as they say in large studios, women like, the woman here not only does not have a commercial relationship with a man, but also saves him from these commodity relations. It is for this rescue that she gets her name: if at the beginning of the film she was a Baby girl who was going to Harvard to learn how to help starving children in third countries, then at the end she becomes Francis (“in honor of the first woman in the office”), who proved to everyone and daddy, that she is no longer a baby. nine0003
Daddy there, by the way, is practically a metaphor for relations with society. At the beginning of the film, Frances says that she came to the boarding house without imagining that there is a man in the world equal to her father - so for her this is a story of getting rid of parental influence. And poor Johnny, who is very burdened by his social status and poverty and is ready to make a coherent speech only about her, literally raves about Dr. Houseman, he wants so much that he notices him and considers him his equal: he goes to talk with dad, tells the girl in bed, that he saw at night how her dad hugged him by the shoulder. In the finale, it was proved to dad, and this is perhaps the most important thing, because it is obvious to everyone that the love of heroes is one-time, like summer, time of my life happens only once in a lifetime and does not stretch for a lifetime. It is important to prove that you have a right to it. nine0003
So Dirty Dancing is also about acceptance. When, at the end, Johnny comes to the most boring of parties and pulls Francis onto the stage with the phrase "Nobody puts Baby in the corner" (Nobody puts Baby in the corner), which later became iconic (however, in this film everything is iconic), this is also about the soft power of women and other empowerment: she changed him, he supported her, also in the air, so much so that she didn’t crash. Unlike many who later tried to repeat this air support scene, how many of them ended up trying in the emergency room. nine0003
Another thing is that, discharging its feminist clip completely, the film does not solve the social conflict at its core. It is obvious to everyone that Johnny will continue to be a poor Irishman, and Baby, having enjoyed his embrace, will go to lead a rich life in the Ivy League. In numerous interviews, the screenwriter said that she specifically chose the summer of 1963, the last summer of liberalism - Martin Luther King had already said his famous speech, Kennedy had not yet been killed. Soon there will be Beatles, hippies, protests, changes that our hearts did not demand. Patrick Swayze, in a late interview, said a completely amazing thing: that for a long time he resisted saying the phrase about Baby and the corner, argued with the producers, and only when he grew up did he understand what it really means: Johnny continues to serve. Only earlier he served rich aunts for money, and now young maidens for human relations. If you think about it, that's the way most worldly philanthropy works. nine0003
It is much more offensive that of all the revolutionary ideas of Dirty Dancing, only the sexual “folk” dance invented by the choreographers, hip to hip, migrated to the people. However, the last dance of Frances and Johnny is still customarily repeated as the first dance of the newlyweds, and the song they dance to, written specifically for the film, (I've Had) The Time of My Life has become one of the three most popular in America funeral songs. We can say that the film is behind the times in only one thing: among the many couples on the dance floor, only one is racial and not a single same-sex. Or almost none: pay attention to how in the finale two respectable Jewish old women start dancing with each other and how people around are scandalized by this. nine0003
In "Dirty Dancing", of course, everything is a bit from the realm of fantasy, both love and dance. So, Patrick Swayze insisted on doing all the stunts on his own - and as a result, he fell from the very log on which he so easily balanced in the frame, and injured the very knee, due to the injury of which he had ten years before I had to leave my dancing career. And repeating the famous support in the final is completely dangerous for health. It is no less dangerous to repeat the actions of heroes: I would not advise an underage Jewish girl to try to explain to her doctor father that she does not want to go to Harvard, but wants to sleep with a poor Irish dance instructor. A modern person can have only one reaction to this: is this even legal? No insipid partisan film feminism of recent years can repeat the success of Dirty Dancing, because it requires acknowledging too many living human feelings - attraction, desire, pride. nine0003
One of the main myths of Dirty Dancing is that the actors really couldn't stand each other. Their dislike was obviously overblown: if it were so obvious, we would not have, for example, the famous scene where the characters crawl towards each other on the floor to the song Love is Strange Micky & Sylvia, one of several in the film shot without scenario, when the camera was rolling during the warm-up of the actors. In his autobiography, The Time of My Life, Swayze walked over Gray without malice, saying that she giggled a lot and sometimes fell into a stupid mood, because of which the scenes had to be re-shot several times. One of these giggles turned into another canon scene of the film - the director decided to include failed takes in the editing, where Jennifer cannot help laughing when Patrick runs his hand over her armpit. After Patrick's death, Jennifer Gray told The Hollywood Reporter: "He smelled so good, he had such soft skin, he was so strong, so caring. " It looks more like a hidden love than an obvious hatred. nine0003
But life, unfortunately, does not look like a feminist fairy tale. It rarely happens in it that a weak girl falls for a guy and drags him into her life by the ass with an unwavering hand. And it often happens that a young actress with a bright Jewish appearance does a nose job to adjust to Hollywood standards - and flies out of the film industry with a whistle, because no one needs her like that, with an ordinary nose - and the actor at this time with rides horses with his wife and earns millions on his Texas ranch. Both actors were not too lucky with their careers: Swayze was slowly forgotten after "Ghost", Gray was immediately forgotten after rhinoplasty. Both made an attempt to return to the 2000s - she participated in "Dancing with the Stars", he played his last, truly great role in the TV series "The Beast", filming 12 hours a day, despite the wild pains from an aggressive form of cancer, and almost literally died under the spotlight. nine0003
All his life, Patrick Swayze refused to take part in the remake of Dirty Dancing, no matter how much money he was offered for them. He believed that it was impossible to repeat their success, just as it was impossible to revive the chemical attraction between the characters. For a fee of four million dollars, he starred in the film Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights, playing a cameo role as a dance teacher, and clearly showed how he sees the fate of the dancer Johnny: a lonely dancer in a foreign land. Announced in 2020, plans for a sequel in which Jennifer Gray will co-star and produce are not needed for anything other than a last-ditch attempt to save her career. nine0003
But, for God's sake, don't improve and modernize Dirty Dancing. It is impossible to shoot anything more modern than them today - even in TV shows they are afraid to talk openly about abortion, show female sexual desire, give teenage girls the right to have sex with whom and how they want, so clearly expose the social system or demonstrate how rich mature women buy themselves for money young male flesh. Show us honestly at least a small part of this - and you have already made a revolution. Revisiting "Dirty Dancing" today, you clearly realize that the time has become not less, but more puritanical, and that much less can be said on the screen today. It is impossible to repeat them, but, thank God, you can revise as much as you like. nine0003
How "Dirty Dancing" was filmed - The Burning Hut
In 1987, the film "Dirty Dancing" was released. He gained cult status, brought fame to Patrick Swayze and firmly entrenched in pop culture. The final support is quoted in commercials, and Baby and Johnny are danced at weddings. The soundtrack has become perhaps more famous than the film itself. We tell you what difficulties its creators Linda Gottlieb and Eleanor Bergstein had to go through and how they filmed the most recognizable scenes of the film Dirty Dancing. nine0003
"Dirty Dancing is a million dollar title." How the idea for the film
came about It all started with dancing. Screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein in her youth disappeared in clubs where they loved dirty dancing - passionate, not like the popular mambo, pachanga or cha-cha-cha. In a Netflix documentary, she revealed that she first tried to bring sexy dancing to the big screen in 1980. It was a melodrama "Now it's my turn" with Michael Douglas and Jill Clayberg in the lead roles. In the script, Bergstein wrote a seductive dance scene, but the director cut it out and went straight to the main thing - sex. Then Eleanor Bergstein decided to come up with a plot from which dancing could not be removed. Thus was born the idea of a film about two sisters vacationing with their parents at an expensive resort. nine0003
Bergstein drew on her own childhood memories. She and her parents often spent summers at the Catskills resort and spent whole days in the dance studio. Everyone called her Baby, although her parents gave her the serious name Eleanor in honor of Eleanor Roosevelt. (The movie baby's real name is Frances, after Frances Perkins, the first woman in the US cabinet.)
"I took a lot of my life for the movie, but it's not the story of my life."
Eleanor Bergstein interviewed for Netflix documentary
Eleanor shared the idea for the film with producer Linda Gottlieb. Linda was not impressed by the story. She asked Eleanor to tell more about herself. “I grew up in Brooklyn, my father was a doctor, and I was one of those teenagers who danced dirty dances in the evenings,” Eleanor replied. Dirty Dancing is a million dollar title! Now we’ll make up a story,” Linda decided.
The script was completed in 1985. It turned out to be a complex, deep movie, in which, in addition to dancing, the problems of social inequality and clandestine abortions are raised. nine0003
“If you make a documentary about illegal abortions, only those who already agree with you will see it. But if you put this story into a musical full of romance and beautiful clothes, it will surprise people, make them think about things that they have not thought about before.”
Eleanor Bergstein in an interview with Gender Across Borders
Too girly movie. How Linda Gottlieb got 42 rejections from film studios
When the script was ready, Linda began to look for a company that would take on the filming. She was determined. I brought the script to large companies and smaller companies. In the Netflix documentary, the producer recalled receiving 42 rejections. At 19In 86, dynamic action movies were popular: Platoon, Highlander, Crocodile Dundee. Therefore, representatives of the studios did not see the potential of the script - "this is too girly movie."
Linda Gottlieb was ready to give up. But then she got a call from Vestron Video. The company was engaged in low-quality films that were not shown in cinemas and were released only on video cassettes. But big companies also started making cassettes for home viewing. In order to remain competitive, Vestron Video decided to produce its own big film for theatrical release. nine0003
The company was literally getting truckloads of rejected scripts from other studios. And in that pile, producer Mitchel Cannold found the script for Dirty Dancing. He, like screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein, spent his childhood in the Catskills resort. He liked the atmosphere of the script, he understood all the jokes and hidden meanings. And he was ready to start filming.
Emil Ardolino was invited as a director. He was an accomplished documentary filmmaker, winning an Oscar in 1984 for a film about child dancers, He Teaches Me to Feel the Dance. Ardolino never directed feature films. But he himself was a dancer and felt the mood of the film. nine0003
“I love dancing. I love music. In the film, it is the dance that moves the plot forward and reveals the characters.”
Emile Ardolino in an interview with The New York Times
Kenny Ortega became the main choreographer. Patrick Swayze, who played Johnny, wrote in his autobiography that Kenny charged everyone with his energy. “He always danced with a big smile on his face, and everyone around enjoyed rehearsing and filming despite being tired.” Ortega knew how to improvise, combined different directions: jazz, swing, salsa. And it was what you need for the filming of a film like Dirty Dancing. nine0003
"Wish me luck daddy." Finding the Perfect Baby and Johnny
It seems that Dirty Dancing's success was largely due to the chemistry between the main characters: Baby, played by Jennifer Gray, and Johnny, played by Patrick Swayze. It's hard to imagine, but the roles could have gone to other actors.
The trials were not easy. Eleanor Bergstein had a clear idea of what Baby should be. She was looking for a young, fragile girl with long wavy hair. For the role, for example, Winona Ryder and Sarah Jessica Parker auditioned. nine0003
Winona Ryder / Shutterstock / Featureflash Photo Agency
Sarah Jessica Parker / Shutterstock / Featureflash Photo Agency
But when Linda and Eleanor saw Jennifer Grey, all the other candidates were immediately eliminated. She was brought to audition by her father, actor Joel Grey. In an interview with Netflix, Linda and Eleanor revealed that Jennifer walked into the pavilion, turned to her father and said, "Wish me luck, daddy." And then they realized that in front of them was the real Baby. Prior to this, the actress played only supporting roles. She moved well, but did not dance professionally. nine0003
For the role of Johnny Castle, they were looking for an actor who looks good and dances really well. Billy Zane and Benicio Del Toro auditioned. But the film crew did not like something.
Billy Zane / Shutterstock / Tinseltown
Benicio del Toro / Shutterstock / Everett Collection
As a result, the role went to the son of a cowboy and a ballerina, former professional dancer Patrick Swayze. During the audition, the actor doubted whether he should play in this film. Swayze ended his dancing career due to a serious knee injury and did not want to risk his leg for the film. Patrick's wife Lisa Niemi recalled that he also strongly disliked the title: "It's a movie about a stripper!". The script seemed to Swayze to be rustic, shallow, in need of improvement: “There is potential, but are the author and director ready to make changes?” nine0003
On the other hand, Patrick liked the role of Johnny Castle. Swayze grew up in a poor family. Dancing was an opportunity for him to escape into another world. And he understood and shared the feelings of Johnny, harsh on the outside, but vulnerable on the inside.
"I didn't play Johnny at the audition, I was him."
Patrick Swayze in his autobiography
Vestron Video had the last word. It was important that Baby and Johnny fit together. Two couples watched in the final: Billy Zane with Sarah Jessica Parker and Patrick Swayze with Jennifer Grey. Everything depended on these double trials. nine0003
In his autobiography, Swayze said that he and Jennifer had already starred together in 1984's Red Dawn. Their relationship didn't go well during those shoots. Perhaps that is why Jennifer was somewhat constrained on joint tests. Patrick wrote that he "wanted her to feel freer in the dance, dissolve in it and not feel awkward."
In the pair of Jennifer and Patrick, the authors of the film saw exactly what was needed: an experienced dancer and a young girl, gradually revealing her beauty and confidence. nine0003
The film crew was looking for actors the viewer would believe in a relationship between / Still from Dirty Dancing (1987)
“Real life caught on film”.As a documentary filmmaker, he decided to include recordings of rehearsals in the film
Filming began on September 5, 1986. To fit on a small budget, the film was filmed in two locations: at the Mountain Lake Lordge resort and at a Boy Scout camp in North Carolina. It was necessary to combine these places on the film somehow. And the decorators came up with the idea of installing small white lanterns in both locations. They tied the sets together and gave the impression that the film was filmed in one place. nine0003
White lanterns helped to tie the different sets together. A scene from the movie Dirty Dancing. 1987
Filming participants remember that there was a special atmosphere on the set. Swayze wrote in his memoirs that they worked hard, but it was a lot of fun. Especially when filming scenes with dirty dancing.
“It was like a party. It sounds like rock 'n' roll and everyone is sweating on the dance floor."
Patrick Swayze in his autobiography
Perhaps the film turned out so sincere because a lot of things really happened. Patrick Swayze taught Jennifer Gray how to dance. Something didn't work for her. He got angry. The actors quarreled. Documentary maker Emil Ardolino used such situations for the benefit of the film: he turned on the camera and recorded rehearsals. Some spontaneously filmed scenes ended up in the film. nine0003
Jennifer Gray said that one of her favorite moments is when Johnny teaches Baby a dance move and strokes her arm. The actors rehearsed this move over and over again, but Jennifer couldn't stop laughing. Patrick's disappointment in this scene is genuine. "This is one of the moments when real life got on film," Gray recalled.
One of the most famous moments was captured by accident during a rehearsal / Still from Dirty Dancing (1987)
"No one pushes Baby into a corner." How the film suddenly came to success
Oddly enough, the finished film initially showed poor results. The closed screening of the rough cut in front of the producers of the film company failed. Someone even advised director Emil Ardolino to burn the film in order to at least get insurance.
The film company spent a lot of money on filming and was not going to refuse the project so easily. Despite the producer's bad reviews, they organized a test screening for 1000 spectators. And they were delighted! nine0003
The film was promoted as a teenage film, but adults also came to the cinema halls. For nineteen consecutive weekends, Dirty Dancing remained the leader of the box office. Sold 270,000 soundtrack records. With a budget of about six million dollars, the film grossed $214 million worldwide. And continues to bring money to this day.
Johnny's final line "Nobody pushes Baby into a corner" (which, by the way, Patrick did not like and seemed banal) became the most famous quote from the film. She was included in the 100 Greatest Movie Quotes by the American Film Institute. nine0003
A musical based on the film. Filmed a remake of Dirty Dancing. Havana Nights. And the final dance with support at the end has become one of the most recognizable episodes of the cinema of the twentieth century. And this incredible success story began with an idea from Eleanor Bergstein.
“I didn't have much hope that anyone would watch this film, and even less that it would change anyone. But I put everything that was important to me into it.