Dirty Dancing: Video of Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey’s screen test for iconic movie resurfaces

Duo made history in 1987 dance film

Clémence Michallon
New York City
Monday 14 June 2021 17:51

Related: Top 10 Kenny Ortega Dance Numbers

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A nostalgic clip of Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze’s screen test for Dirty Dancing has resurfaced.

The video was filmed during the development phase of the 1987 classic, presumably to gauge Swayze and Grey’s on-screen chemistry.

The sequence was even the subject of a fact-check by Snopes over the weekend, which reached the conclusion that a popular online clip of the screen test appeared to be authentic.

Lionsgate, the film’s distributor, shared a version of the video on YouTube last year. Swayze and Grey can be seen practising lifts, with Swayze instructing Grey to lift her chest so the position doesn’t hurt her ribs.

“It hurts my ribs,” Grey replies, eliciting laughs from the rest of the team.

A voice can be heard narrating about Grey and Swayze: “You couldn’t have picked two people better to tell the story of Dirty Dancing in terms of their chemistry together.”

Dirty Dancing was released in August 1987 in the US and in October of that year in the UK. Directed by Emile Ardolino, the film has earned a cult following and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1988 for “(I've Had) The Time of My Life”, which is famously used during Swayze and Grey’s final dance number.

Swayze died of cancer in 2009 at the age of 57. In his memoir, The Time of My Life, which was published posthumously the year of his death, he wrote about the audition process he and Grey underwent for Dirty Dancing.

“For the second audition, Jennifer Grey and I went in to dance for writer Eleanor Bergstein, choreographer Kenny Ortega, and Emile Ardolino,” he wrote. “... I lifted [Grey], she posed beautifully, and I lowered her slowly to the ground, with our eyes locked on each other. It was a lovely moment, and very sexy. The room was absolutely silent — everyone was just staring at us.”

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