Study Guide

Dirty Dancing Choreographers

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Kenny Ortega

Dirty Dancing would just be Dirty without the dancing. Not that it's that dirty with the dancing. But remember, this is the 1960s. It was easy to scandalize then. What was outrageous to to people then is normal now, as evidenced in choreographer Kenny Ortega's other big hit: High School Musical.

Baby was supposed to be 17 in Dirty Dancing, having just graduated high school. It's a natural progression for Ortega to later show actual high school students do similar high-octane dance moves.

Ortega choreographed Patrick Swayze again in To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995), but this time in heels. Swayze was in the heels, not Ortega, as a seven-foot-tall (our best estimate) drag queen in this American reinterpretation of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994).

Lots of people didn't like that film, and not just because Wesley Snipes makes for a terrible drag queen. Just look at him. But one thing's for certain: Ortega's choreography is never a drag.

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