Life Lessons We Can Learn From Dirty Dancing

This post idea came to me when i decided to watch the trailer, just last night and all the reasons why i love Dirty Dancing came flooding through my head. So i figured why not do a post on the lessons you can take from the much loved classic.

 Dirty Dancing is everyone's go-to chick flick, right? A go-to classic for all of us romantic movie junkies. But Dirty Dancing is not just another feel good love story. It is also a thought provoking period piece, full of life lessons. It's definitely one of my favourite movies and the perfect pick me up movie. Whats not to love about this classic: a sweet love story, dancing and of course the sadly departed Patrick Swayze (who was everyone's crush growing up, pretty much)

Have the confidence to be yourself
‘Nobody puts Baby in the corner,’ is by far the most famous quote to make it out of Dirty Dancing, and for a very good reason. Dance lessons aside, Johnny has the knack of bringing the best out of Baby, whether she’s risking it all to ask her dad for help or getting up on the stage in front of hundreds. It goes to show 'know your true value' at least that's what i got from the most famous movie quote.

Break the rules
Sometimes the rules are made to be broken, as demonstrated by Johnny at the end, who despite being fired, returns to Kellerman’s to do the final dance, including that illicit lift. As the saying goes, fortune favours the brave. And that’s exactly what Baby did. Known for being the perfect, do-gooder child, Baby quite literally stepped off the path, and ventured into an exciting world that would soon change her life.

Always reserve judgement until after you have all the facts
When they learn that Penny is pregnant, both Baby and her father assume that Johnny is the one who knocked her up.  It is not until later that they find out that Robbie, the Ivy League educated, future doctor, is the actual father of Penny’s baby. Also, when money goes missing at Kellerman’s, Johnny’s boss assumes Johnny is the thief. In the end, the thieves turn out to be the Schumachers, a cute elderly couple that no one had suspected.

Just like you can't judge a book by its cover, you can't judge a dancer by his leather jacket. Just because Johnny comes from the wrong side of the tracks, does not mean that he is a bad guy. And just because Robbie comes from an affluent background, does not mean he is a good guy. People are complicated, which is why it is important to reserve judgement until after you have had a chance to get to know the person. And even then, it is probably still best not to judge. After all, no one likes to be judged.

Everything worth doing takes work
Remember how much Baby and Johnny had to practise that dance before Baby got it down? Even after all of that, Baby still is not able to do the leap when they perform at the Sheldrake. It is not until the big finale at the end of the movie that Baby is finally able to master that particularly difficult move.

If there is a skill that you want to master (be it dancing, sports, painting or whatever) expect that it will take a lot of practise.  But, in the end, it will be worth it.  And who knows?  You may even get to perform a leap and show off in front of your family and friends the way Baby did. Lets be honest, everyone wants to master that iconic lift.

Sometimes you do everything right and still lose in the end
Johnny did not steal the money but he still gets fired.  Why?  Because he fell in love with someone he wasn’t supposed to fall in love with.

Life is not fair. Sometimes bad guys and bullies win. This is just and unfortunate fact of life.  But let’s take a step back and examine the situation a little more closely. What did Johnny really lose here? A summer job that was about to end anyway? A boss who thought he was a crook?
It is important to surround yourself with people who appreciate and support you, both in your personal and your professional life. Johnny had personal support from Baby. But, professionally, in his job as a dancer at Kellerman’s, he was undervalued and unappreciated. Setting aside the fact that it cost him precious time with the woman he loved, losing his job might very well be a good thing after all.

Trust your instincts
If there’s anything we can learn from "Dirty Dancing" other than how sexy Patrick Swayze dancing is, it’s that we should always trust our instincts. Baby goes against everything her parents believe in, and it leads her to opportunities to help other people, as well as the opportunity to find herself. What we, as an audience, can take away from this is that good things tend to come when we trust our instincts.

All smart, somewhat shy, and sometimes painfully awkward young women should be more like Baby.
There are few truly great female characters in movies and Baby Houseman is one of them. Baby is intelligent and ambitious. She is also idealistic and naive. She can easily stand up to those she sees as her intellectual equals or as beneath her. But she is in awe of anyone who actually challenges her and her sense of self. This is why her relationship with Johnny Castle works. Otherwise Baby will end up with someone like Neil and as we have established, Neil is a dreadful bore. Give me a Johnny Castle any day.

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What lessons do you take from Dirty Dancing and why do you love this wonderful movie?

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