Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner

Patrick Swayze

The line — “Nobody puts Baby in a corner” is now iconic, as I discovered when a group of women were crowding into a small space, and someone urged me to move out from a tight corner spot. I muttered that line and everyone instantly knew the reference and laughed. The line now is right up there with “I’ll Have What She’s Having,” which is now the title of the Princeton YWCA’s annual dance concert for over-40 choreographers. 

Dirty Dancing is one of my all-time favorite movies — plus the script was written in Princeton by Eleanor Bergstein (whom I interviewed for U.S. 1 when the movie came out) and a Princeton-trained dancer was in the cast. I wish Jennifer Gray had had a longer career, but here is more info about Swayze in the Princeton-based online mag, Obit. 

This movie has enduring appeal, as shown by a blog, Dirty Dancing Analysis, that, for two years, discussed each and every aspect. That the basic idea, evocative dance movement, still brings controversy is shown by the cancellation of a Princeton High School dance (yes, even here! last year!). It made national news. I don’t disagree with the cancellation — I’ve always been a bit of a prude about dancing that is “the vertical expression of a horizontal desire” — but that frisson of forbidden fruit is part of Swayze’s appeal. 

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