The Behind-The-Scenes Secrets of Dirty Dancing

It’s been more than 30 years since Dirty Dancing pulled off a genuine box office miracle. This low-budget movie with unknown stars told the story of a hunky dance instructor named Johnny (played by Patrick Swayze) who changed the life of a shy teenager named Frances “Baby” Houseman (played by Jennifer Grey).

But the real miracle is how this film even got made in the first place. Dirty Dancing’s history is packed with crazy facts, surprising secrets, and near disasters. We’ve collected all these behind the scenes moments into an article you have to read to believe. It all starts with the real-life Baby…

Meet the Real-Life Baby

Eleanor Bergstein wrote Dirty Dancing. She was a Jewish girl from Brooklyn whose father, a doctor, took the family to the Catskills for vacations. Sound familiar? Eleanor wrote all those personal details and memories into the character of Baby. One dancer who worked with Eleanor recalled how a manager dismissed sexy tangos with a phrase that would become iconic. “They’re Dancing Dirty!” he complained.

The creative team behind Dirty Dancing carefully chose every iconic setting and moment in the film—including the year when Baby meets Johnny. You might be surprised to learn why the filmmakers chose one particular year for this iconic love story.