The Dirty Dancing movie has to be one of the most beloved films of the 1980s. It’s a romantic story of a young 17-year-old girl who has very ambitious goals of going to college and joining the Peace Corps. The wealthy family spends some time at a summer camp called Kellerman’s Resort set in 1963.  Before we reveal where was Dirty Dancing filmed, let quickly jump into the details of the film.

Where Was Dirty Dancing Filmed - Featured Image

Where Was Dirty Dancing Filmed

  • Filming Location: Catskills, New York
  • Release date: August 21, 1987 (USA)
  • Director: Emile Ardolino
  • Cinematography: Jeff Jur
  • Genre: Drama, Romance
  • Box office: $214 million
  • Producers: Linda Gottlieb
  • Stars: Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey

Dirty Dancing Film Location Details

The famous lake lift was filmed at Lake Lure in North Carolina. These film locations were chosen because they had the perfect combination of scenery, weather, and accommodations.

The movie takes place at the fictional Kellerman’s resort up in the Catskills in upstate New York. There were actually two filming locations. One was Mountain Lake Lodge which is located in Pembroke, Virginia and the other was Lake Lure in North Carolina.

Mountain Lake Lodge

Address: 115 Hotel Cir, Pembroke, VA 24136, United States

Mountain Lake Lodge in Pembroke Virginia is a rustic hotel located in the small town of Pembroke, Virginia. The hotel is best known for being the filming location of the cabin scenes in Dirty Dancing. Today, the lodge continues to offer visitors the chance to experience its unique charm and history.

Where Was Dirty Dancing Filmed - Mountain Lake Lodge
Mountain Lake Lodge in Pembroke Virginia

Lake Lure

Address: 2724 Memorial Hwy, Lake Lure, NC 28746, United States

Lake Lure is a small town in North Carolina that is most known for being the filming location for the various water/lake scenes.

The town is located on the banks of Lake Lure and is surrounded by the Appalachian Mountains. The town is a popular tourist destination and offers a variety of outdoor activities, including fishing, hiking, and canoeing.

Where Was Dirty Dancing Filmed - Lake Lure North Carolina
Lake Lure in North Carolina

Dirty Dancing – The Story

The summer camp provides a host of activities for families to participate in. One of the main characters, Baby, meets a dancer, Johnny Castle, who will open her eyes to the caste system of society. She tries to right the wrongs she encounters. Along the way, she falls in love and is, of course, forbidden from spending time with him. 

The Cast

The cast of Dirty Dancing included Jennifer Grey, Patrick Swayze, Jerry Orbach, Kelly Bishop, Cynthia Rhodes, Jane Brucker, Jack Weston, Lonny Price, and Wayne Knight.

Where Was Dirty Dancing Filmed - Outdoor Shot
Dirty Dancing – Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey Talking in the Forest

Shooting Schedule

The film was shot over a three-week period in August and September 1987. The filming schedule was incredibly tight. So tight, in fact, that the cast only had two weeks of rehearsals.

Dirty Dancing Box Office Details

  • Dirty Dancing Film Budget: $6,000,000
  • Opening weekend (Aug 21, 1987): $3,900,000
  • Gross (US & Canada): $64,577,242
  • Gross (World): $214,577,242

Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey Weren’t First Picks for Lead Roles

You may be interested to know that the original script had Val Kilmer playing Johnny Castle. Sarah Jessica Parker and Sharon Stone both auditioned for the part of Baby Houseman.

But it didn’t take long for Patrick Swayze to come aboard as Johnny. Swayze wanted the part because he thought he could make a better impression as a tough guy than Kilmer did. 

Jennifer Grey brought her dancing experience to the part and played it well. Her performance convinced the director, Emile Ardolino, that she was perfect for the role. When Grey got the call about taking over the part, she jumped at the opportunity.

Check out this awesome Dirty Dancing BTS video where they were doing some screen tests to see how they worked together on film.

Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey Didn’t Exactly Get Along

In his book, Patrick Swayze says that he and Jennifer Grey didn’t always see eye-to-eye during the making of Dirty Dancing. “I don’t think we ever saw eye-to-eye,” he writes. “We never agreed on anything.”

The actor admits that there were times when he felt she wasn’t being professional enough. “She’d come to rehearsals late and say, ‘Oh my God, I’m so sorry,’ like it was her fault,” he recalls. “But I knew what she meant. She wanted to make sure she got everything right. And she did.”

He adds that he appreciated her dedication to the role. “Jennifer was very good at playing up to me,” he says. “When I asked her to do something, she’d go out of her way to do it. But sometimes she’d ask me to do things that weren’t part of the script. Like dancing around the kitchen table while singing ‘You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You.'”

He explains that she was trying to help him improve his acting skills. “That’s why she kept asking me to dance around the table,” he continues. “She thought I needed practice.”

Where Was Dirty Dancing Filmed - In The Lake
Dirty Dancing – Patrick Swayze Lifting Jennifer Grey Out of The Lake

Improvisation

Even though there were times when Swayze and Grey didn’t see eye to eye, long days of filming can make you a little punchy. So when Swayze and Grey were fooling around crawling around on the floor, the cameras were rolling. In another scene where Swayze runs his hand down the inside of Grey’s arms, she’s laughing because she’s ticklish. But Ardolino loved the scenes so he kept them in.

“Nobody Puts Baby In A Corner”

This is probably the most famous line in the movie but it almost didn’t make the cut. Swayze tried to get it removed from the film because he disliked it. Later, after seeing the final cut, he realized that the line worked quite well.

The Oscar Nod

The movie premiered in 1987 and not only won an Oscar but multiple Grammy awards for its music.

The Dirty Dancing Resort Is Real, and Yes, You Can Stay There

For Dirty Dancing fans, there are entire resorts dedicated to bringing guests into the world of the film. One such place is Kellerman’s Mountain House, a mountain resort located in Virginia. 

Kellerman’s offers a variety of lodging options, including cabins, suites, cottages, villas, and chalet rentals. Some of the accommodations even come complete with fireplaces, kitchens, and living rooms. And yes, you can book a room based on the character of Baby played by Jennifer Grey.

Guests can experience Dirty Dancing Weekends by taking advantage of a number of activities inspired by the movie, like horseback riding, hiking, zip lining, fishing, golfing, and much more.

Of course, the best part about Kellerman’s is that it’s actually located in the real world. So if you’ve ever wanted to go to the exact spot where Baby danced her famous jig, this is the perfect opportunity.

Dirty Dancing
Where Was Dirty Dancing Filmed | Where Was Dirty Dancing Filmed Featured Image 1

Director: Emile Ardolino

Date Created: 1987-08-21 20:00

Editor's Rating:
4

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6 Comments

  1. I find it fascinating that Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey weren’t the first picks for their roles in Dirty Dancing. Goes to show how unpredictable casting can be and how it can ultimately define a film.

    1. Yeah, Alex, I was wondering the same thing! It’s hard to imagine anyone else as Johnny and Baby.

  2. dirty dancing is my ultimate fave, the dance scenes are everything, makes me wanna take up dancing classes lol

  3. Interesting to note how improvisation played a significant role in Dirty Dancing’s authentic feel. It’s a technique not often used effectively in mainstream cinema.

  4. Always heard about how Swayze and Grey didn’t get along. Wonder how much of that tension was media hype versus actual on-set reality.

  5. The fact that you can stay at the Dirty Dancing resort is a testament to the film’s enduring legacy. Would love to visit Mountain Lake Lodge and step back into the ’80s, even if just for a weekend.