All posts are copyright Barbara Rogers 2018. Please ask if you wish to share, and give attribution to the author.My ancestry and more personal notes are now at a revised version of "When I Was 75."

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Dirty Dancing

Also known as, "you can take the gal out of the years, and the teenage dancer is still alive."

I watched the 1987 movie again the other night.  I was struck by how timeless certain aspects of that movie are.

Socio-economic disparities, i.e. classism.

Music and dancing (especially by young people).

Sex and the pull of jealousy.

Abortions that aren't legal and can hurt young women.

Young adults when they learn the fallibility of their parents.

The horrible 1950s and early 1960s at summer family camps, (well, we hope those are all over now.)

Love in young people.

Music before Rock and Roll with some fabulous dance moves (which I never did!)

Censorship such that many times I've seen the movie on TV where all that had to do with the abortion was cut, so it made very little sense.

Young people who move with beauty and strength and don't have a clue how wonderful that is.

The forerunners musical youth movies, West Side Story (1961) and Grease, (1978) included teens singing and dancing.  By 1987 in Dirty Dancing the characters don't sing...just dance.  The YouTube link below is I Had The Time of My Life, that won an Emmy by Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes.  This was the beginning of Patrick Swayze's career also.

Here's the final 6:48 minutes of the film, the very best!  However it does leave out where Johnny said he'd learned a lot from his partner (Jennifer Grey!)  Go have a bit of The Time of My Life!

I remember how my life changed in the 60's with Rock and Roll, and how we danced somewhat like this.

Without a dance choreographer, our groups never danced in step, and being well before disco dancing in the 70s, a star couple didn't do the moves in front of everyone.   And none of the music in this movie was Rock!

But in my life our attitudes changed - suddenly the "proper" things we were raised with weren't as real as other aspects of life and love, and we got looser and more relaxed. Perhaps all teens have that sensation.

I also remember how I felt when I looked into another person's eyes and felt incredible emotions for the first time.

The movie jumps the 30 years between the cusp of the 50-60s and the late 80s.  When the movie came out, it already brought nostalgia for me because I (ahem) was in my 40s.

Now I'm in my 74th summer.  And I remember being 16 in 1958.  And I loved to dance to music like this.  But the music in the movie was pretty narrowly selected to avoid all Rock and Roll, while Elvis was actually part of the scene at that time.  And of course the big dance piece in the video above was written for the movie in 1987, so didn't exist for the times of the movie.

But I did have the time of my life!

I still can sway to the music.


  1. swaying is about all i do to the music now, ha, oh and sing along

    1. Linda, I have to hum along...don't remember most of the words!

  2. Barbara -- Do you find yourself singing and swaying when you hear a 50s or 60s song on the radio while driving? I find this music puts me in a great mood. You and I have something in common -- it is my 74th summer too. -- barbara

    1. Isn't it nice to have friends who have our name? Apparently my son's girlfriend is also a Barbara, so the name was popular for little girls for another 20 years after us...but not so much these days! It's great to have a summer being almost 74!

  3. Hmmm, I need to watch this movie again -- I don't remember anything about abortion. I just remember liking the dancing. I was always a klutz when it came to dancing but I can sway along too.

    1. I wonder if all the rentals were cut like the TV productions to leave out the "got her in trouble" girl, Penny. The movie apparently was the first million seller in video market.

  4. YES, you sure have seen societal changes.....

    1. Not much actually. I think it will take a few more generations for many important changes to happen!


Looking forward to hearing from you! Since I didn't know the 1000+ people who supposedly looked at my blog the other day, I'm back to moderating comments. If that doesn't help, I don't know why blogger doesn't have a filter that stops this hacking...