Patrick Swayze's unique last dance in ‘Dirty Dancing’ still charms people all over the world

Odette Odendaal
Oct 19, 2018
03:46 P.M.
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The movie ‘Dirty Dancing’ got released over 30 years ago, but still enchants people worldwide with its tale of forbidden love and of course, the dancing of Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray.


It has become somewhat of a classic and the iconic dance and lift of Johnny and Baby still re-enacted today, more often than not ending up in comical fail. The film grossed $150 million worldwide and many would be of the opinion that the last dance right at the end of the movie was to thank.

The song ‘I’ve Had The Time of my Life,’ to which the final dance scene was choreographed earned an Oscar for the best original song and made Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray an overnight sensation.


Swayze played roles in ‘The Outsiders’, ‘Red Dawn’ and ‘Youngblood’, but his role as Johnny Castle in the 1987 film ‘Dirty Dancing’ earned him full heartthrob status.

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The chemistry between Swayze and Grey was evident during casting for the movie which gave it a certain intensity making the movie unforgettable. The epic lift right at the end of the movie has inspired many to attempt a recreation, but none have executed it quite like Swayze and Grey.

Source: YouTube/ Sabi Eva


Grey was scared to practice the lift and her actual first attempt was on film and once told during an interview:

“The day you see me do it in the movie is the first time I do it.”

Today the song, ‘I’ve Had The Time Of My Life’ is synonymous with the movie, and the final dance, however, the soundtrack to the movie almost didn’t happen. Music supervisor Michael Lloyd and album executive producer Jimmy Ienner tried to find artists for the soundtrack, but the movie starred fairly unknown actors in the leading roles and was produced by a new company so major artists like Donna Summer, Lionel Richie, Daryl Hall, and Kim Carnes turned down the opportunity.


They approached Bill Medley, the surviving half of the Righteous Brothers, who initially also turned it down but eventually agreed. The single got scheduled for release shortly before the movie and when the movie got delayed for an extra month, the song didn’t take off until after the release of the movie as Jennifer Gray and Patrick Swayze danced their way into the hearts of moviegoers to the song.

Since Patrick Swayze’s death in 2009 his legacy will live on through the film as Johnny and Baby dance and fight for their forbidden love in the minds of everyone that has and still going to watch the movie for many years to come.


Patrick Swayze was multi-talented and athletic as he trained in Wushu, Taekwondo and Aikido and gymnastics. He played football in high school hoping for a scholarship but a bad knee ended both his sporting and dancing dreams after he studied dance at Harkness Ballet and Joffrey Ballet schools in New York.

Swayze met the love of his life in this mother’s dance studio when he was 18, Lisa Niemi was 14 at the time but they would marry later on June 12, 1975, remaining happily married for 34 years until his death from pancreatic cancer in 2009.