The most iconic “Dirty Dancing” line might’ve been a total throwaway, but its dance moves were anything but.
Kenny Ortega, the film’s choreographer who also directed all of Disney’s “High School Musical” films, carefully arranged motions for each character drawn from an array of styles. According to actress Karen Getz, who appeared in the film as a dancer in the underground club scene, Ortega “seemed to be very clear about how to cull moves that were individual, that made us who we were.”
To mark the film’s 30th anniversary this year, Getz and actor Jesus Fuentes have a lesson for all of us. Watch them demonstrate some basic “Dirty” moves above.
Remember: Two hips to the left. Two hips to the right. Left. Right. Roll.
In preparation for the film, Ortega wanted to know all about the characters in minute detail, grilling Eleanor Bergstein, who wrote and co-produced the movie based on her experiences dancing in Brooklyn basements. “You know, ‘Did Baby dance on her father’s feet when she was a little girl?’ We went over all the basic subtext of how I wanted everybody to move in it because he wanted to know everything,” she told NPR in 2015.
The choreographer said he found inspiration in street salsa, Colombian style salsa, Cuban rhythm step, R&B and street soul.
For more tips and exclusive stories from the set, check out “Dirty Dancing” on iTunes.