'Dirty Dancing' Steps

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The ending dance scene of the now classic "Dirty Dancing" film is forever ingrained in in the minds of those who have seen it, beginning with the uttering of the phrase, "Nobody puts baby in a corner," and ending with the rolling credits. This film from the 1980s reinvigorated a passion for dance, specifically ballroom and Latin ballroom styles.

Fusion of Styles Create 'Dirty Dancing' Steps

  • "Dirty Dancing" incorporates a blend of numerous styles of dance, ranging from the Latin Mambo to the more American Charleston.

    The Charleston came about during the jazz movement of the 1920s. The dance is a form of the jitterbug and a precursor to swing. The Charleston became popular alongside the Quickstep, which is described as a quicker version of the Fox Trot.

    Ballroom dance's popularity skyrocketed into the 1930s in the years following the Great Depression. The acrobatic style of swing can be seen especially in the famous final lift between Baby and Johnny at the finale of the film. Big Band leader Benny Goodman, who played Chicago and New Orleans jazz, had a great influence on the development of swing music.

    Along with swing came the popularity of many Latin styles of dance, more hip and pelvis-specific dances that can also be seen in Johnny's dancing and teaching. Examples of these Latin styles include the Cuban Rumba, which has sharp hip, shoulder and chest movements, and the Brazilian Samba, which is known for its bouncing step.

    Another "Dirty Dancing" influence, the Cuban Mambo, is a fusion of American Jazz and Cuban rhythm. The Mambo is difficult because of its jagged rhythm, which means that within every bar of music is a pause or break in the music. The Cuban Cha-Cha came about as result of the Mambo, however, the pause that gives the Mambo its jagged rhythm is replaced by a quick, triple step.

Modern Impact of 'Dirty Dancing' Steps

  • Th sequel to "Dirty Dancing," 2004's "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights," features even more Latin styles of the ballroom dancing touched upon in the original.

    The moves made recognizable by "Dirty Dancing" can be seen in modern entertainment through the success of competitive dance shows such as "So You Think You Can Dance," "Dancing with the Stars" and "America's Best Dance Crew."

References

  • Photo Credit Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images
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