Hello Friday! 7/14/2023 Dirty Dancing last dance scene – July #hellofriday #fridayfavorites

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I am the featured blogger on the first and second Wednesdays of each month on the Blogger platform for Western Fictioneers and Prairie Rose Publications. I will repost a truncated version of those articles for my Hello, Friday! and Friday Favorites posts on those two weeks with a link to the full article.


Prairie Rose Publications for July: 7th movie dance scene in historically-set movies in my year-long series is from Dirty Dancing

Movies to this point:

January – Cat Ballou
February – The King and I
March – Easy Virtue
April – Shakespeare in Love
May – Chocolat
June – Beauty and the Beast


Name of Movie: Dirty Dancing
Historical Time Period: 1963
Location: Catskills – Upstate New York, America
Occasion/Purpose: Culminating dance at the summer resort
Type of Dance: several dance types – not one particular dance

Wikipedia Fair Use License

Dirty Dancing is a 1987 romantic drama dance movie staring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. On a summer vacation in an upscale resort with her affluent family, Frances “Baby” Houseman experiences a different side of life and learns how ‘the other half lives’, when she wanders around the resort one night and stumbles upon a secret ‘dirty dancing’ party for the resort staff. This is when and where she meets Johnny Castle, the sexy dance instructor.

This dance scene is what I call a “Mary Poppins. It’s practically perfect in every way. Every thread in the movie ties together with this movie-ending dance scene, which gives us a sense of completeness. We can’t help tapping our toes and smiling all the way through it. The song (I’ve had) The Time of My Life and Baby and Johnny’s performance are inseparable. There can’t be one without the other.

During their dance, we smile when Baby doesn’t giggle as Johnny runs his fingers along her ribs. We’re satisfied, delighted, and a little goose bumpy when Baby and Johnny accomplish the difficult lift move. We see the love they have for each other. We get closure when Baby’s dad apologizes to Johnny for thinking ill of him where Penny was concerned.

This is a feel-good ending to Baby’s coming-of-age story and Johnny’s parallel journey toward his own maturity, which is, in large part, because of Baby’s influence in his life. The scene technically meets my criteria of ‘…important to the storyline and not just visual and auditory filler’.

However, this scene falls just a bit short of moving forward or enhancing Baby and Johnny’s relationship simply because it comes at the end of the movie. In the moments just before the actual dance, we see how far they’ve come in their relationship because of

1) Johnny’s noble statement to Baby’s father: “Nobody puts Baby in a corner”;
2) Johnny’s speech that that he always does the final number and he almost didn’t this year because someone told him not to and;
3) Johnny referring to Baby by her name, Frances, which is his way of telling everyone (her father) that he respects and admires her, and that she is a grown woman and not the little girl she was when the movie began.

Even when I put aside my arbitrary cut-off date of 1960…
Even admitting the scene is critical to the storyline…
Even seeing the love between Baby and Johnny during the dance…

…but it doesn’t show us what becomes of them.

It is left to our imagination if Baby and Johnny go their separate ways or become a couple when the music and dancing stop and the reality of ‘real life’ returns after the summer vacation, and that leaves me unsettled, because I am emotionally invested in them, and I don’t like open-ended endings.

Until next time,
Kaye Spencer
Lasterday Stories
writing through history one romance upon a time

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