Eleanor Bergstein, the writer of Dirty Dancing, spent vacation time with her family (father was a physician) in the Catskills. It is very obvious that Ms. Bergstein captured the special time that took place in the Catskills heyday – the charm of a simpler, past time – and that is part of what makes Dirty Dancing so popular. It is interesting to note that Eleanor Bergstein used some of her other life experiences in the story line. For example, she was called Baby until about age twenty-one as she was the younger daughter. Also, she won dance contests as a teen and was an Arthur Murray dance instructor.
Jackie Horner – a legendary dancer/entertainment icon who is still working as a dance/entertainment professional in the Catskills – states she was a story consultant for the movie (see special screen credit to Jackie Horner at end of movie credits). She reports many experiences that she and her Catskills dance partner, Steve Schwartz (known professionally in the Catskills as
Steve Sands) lived are in the movie. For example, she reported to me (I was lucky enough to interview her regarding the movie) that the watermelon was spiked and she would take it to parties, and that Shelly Winters had brought up the idea of practicing lifts in the lake. Also, an interesting note is that Steve Schwartz (I was lucky to interview Steve as well) used to spend summers at the Catskills with his family before his father died and then he ended up professionally dancing there. He tells many stories about the “Babies,” “Bungalow Bunnies,” dance activities, and daily life in the Catskills.
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