Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Jennifer Grey Reveals She and Patrick Swayze Never Rehearsed Iconic ‘Dirty Dancing’ Scene

Jennifer Grey Reveals She and Patrick Swayze Never Rehearsed Iconic ‘Dirty Dancing’ Scene

Jennifer Grey probably has been asked too many times to count about being lifted up by Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing. For those who have seen the movie, you know that Grey and Swayze have incredible chemistry. The dance scenes come off well and still hold up all these years later. Grey, though, is pulling the curtain back on that “lift scene” they pulled off.

“Patrick is the only one who really anyone should try it with, because he was just such a good ballet dancer,” Grey said when chatting with E! News host Erin Lim Rhodes. They talked when Grey was at the Sundance Film Festival premiere of A Real Pain. “He was so used to lifting women and so strong. By the end of the movie, I trusted him so much.”

Grey said the only time that this was performed was for the lake scene. “I never rehearsed it,” Grey, 63, said. “There was no room for a panic attack.” Swayze died of pancreatic cancer in 2009 when he was 57 years old.

But Grey also recalled that she was “really scared and protective” of her body. She even delivered what she called a “hard no” when it came to practicing the dance move off-camera.

Grey said, “If you’ve ever tried it, you’d understand what it means to do it.” She jokingly adds that she had “no choice” and could not get around doing the lift. When it came time to do the scene, Grey showed up ready to go. “It was one of those game day things,” she said.

Jennifer Grey Warns About ‘Dirty Dancing’ Lift

While Grey has talked about keeping others from doing this lift, people didn’t want to heed her call. When a remake of the 1987 film was done in 2017, Colt Prattes and Abigail Breslin did it. Emma Stone was lifted over Ryan Gosling’s head in Crazy, Stupid, Love from 2011.

Stone readily admits that she had some reservations when doing this life. She talked about it in 2017 during an appearance on The Graham Norton Show.

“When we do Crazy, Stupid, Love, I know that we’re gonna do the Dirty Dancing lift,” Stone said. “I don’t know, however, that I have an internalized phobia of being lifted over someone’s head at the height of about six feet.”

Stone revealed that she broke her arms during a gymnastics class as a child. After doing the lift, Stone said, “It was a lot, and then it was a meltdown.” She said that she “laid down crying” after the lift. Stone admitted that to recover, she had to put on the David Bowie movie Labyrinth. Stone added, “This is so stupid.”

Dirty Dancing is a movie that has one of those ridiculous budget-to-box-office-sales breakdowns. So, the movie reportedly was made on a $4.5 million budget. As for worldwide box office sales, it totaled $214 million. The movie provided Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes with an Oscar for Best Original Song in (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.

The movie happened to be based on the childhood of screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein. A couple of other notable names in the movie’s cast included Jerry Orbach. He already had a resume of Broadway shows and guest-starring roles in TV shows. In just a few years, Orbach would gain television immortality through Law & Order where he played Detective Lennie Briscoe. Sadly, Orbach died in December 2004 after a decade-long battle with cancer. He was 69.

Another actor who appears in a few scenes is Wayne Knight. He wasn’t that well known when filming Dirty Dancing, but all that would change in time. Knight ended up joining the cast of NBC’s red-hot sitcom Seinfeld. On there, Knight played Newman, a postman who was a friend for Kramer and a foil for Jerry. His appearances were punctuated by Seinfeld giving him a hearty yet slow “Hello, Newman” at his front door. Knight also starred in 3rd Rock from the Sun as Officer Don Orville, boyfriend to Kristen Johnson’s Sally.