Belfast Telegraph

Why we'll have the time of our lives at Dirty Dancing show

Six local women tell us what the 80s cult classic film still means to them

By Amanda Ferguson

The hit 80s movie Dirty Dancing holds a very special place in women's hearts the world over.

So as the record-breaking stage version of the classic romance prepares to open for a run at the Grand Opera House in Belfast tomorrow, excitement is building among fans of the story that made the late Patrick Swayze a star.

The screen version of the love story set in the 1960s – starring Jennifer Grey as daddy's girl Frances 'Baby' Houseman and Swayze as Johnny Castle, a dancer from the wrong side of the tracks – is a firm favourite among females.

Swayze's breakthrough role in the 1987 film made him one of the most loved romantic leading men in the history of cinema.

Meanwhile, the film has gone down as a cult classic and is still adored – and oft quoted – by millions of women.

As Dirty Dancing prepares for its Northern Ireland stage premiere, the Belfast Telegraph speaks to six Northern Ireland women about why they cannot wait to see it...

Author and playwright Leesa Harker: "I love the film Dirty Dancing and have done since I first saw it when I was about 10. The story line is something I think all women can identify with.

"The hot guy falling for the normal girl storyline has always been a winner.

"It's a coming-of-age film with some absolute cracker one-liners – 'Nobody puts baby in the corner'."

Model and health and fitness journalist Jenny Curran: "From the moment my baby-sitter illicitly snuck Dirty Dancing into my house in a Bambi video case, I was hooked.

"This film seemed dangerous, exciting and forbidden.

"That night, watching Patrick Swayze slide around the dance floor so effortlessly, I fell in love with him and the movie.

"Having firmly cemented my appreciation of The Swayze and the film in general I took to the task of memorising every word of the song She's Like the Wind."

Dress designer Mary Rose McGrath: "The summer of 87 was full of excitement.

"Patrick Swayze had burst on our local Downpatrick cinema screen, and all the teenage girls were hooked on the Dirty Dancing immediately.

"I even remember queueing outside that evening, there was a lot of bad 80s denim worn, myself included.

"For me, it was all about Patrick Swayze.

"A classically trained ballet dancer, he was just gorgeous to watch on the big screen, especially in those fantastically cut trousers and vest.

"We all wanted him to fling us around the dance floor, well, I did for one.

"Dirty Dancing is such a fantastic film, one that I have watched time and time again."

Miss Northern Ireland Rebekah Shirley: "Despite not actually being born when the classic Dirty Dancing was released in 1987, it is one of those timeless romcoms.

"I can probably speak on behalf of many women when I say that when I hear those dreamy 80s lyrics "Now I've had the time ... " something just happens.

"I love those 'against all the odds the girl and guy end up together' films, throw in an unbelievable 80s soundtrack and I am sold."

TV presenter Emma Louise Johnston: "While I did really like Dirty Dancing I was not obsessed with it like some of my friends were.

"There was also a whiff of scandal about the film and as a youngster I was not allowed to watch it, which obviously made me want to all the more."

Model and former Miss GB Gemma Garrett: "Dirty Dancing was my favourite film at the time because I was a dancer as a child.

"I competed in Latin dance for seven years.

"Dirty Dancing was the first movie of its kind and it was also quite naughty too.

"I was obsessed with the character Penny the dancer."


Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stage has been seen by millions across the globe. It tells the story of Baby and Johnny, two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds, who come together in what will be the most challenging summer of their lives. Featuring hit songs, including Hungry Eyes, Hey Baby, Do You Love Me? and (I've Had) The Time Of My Life, the record-breaking stage show runs at the Grand Opera House in Belfast from tomorrow to August 16.

Belfast Telegraph


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