Jennifer Grey just explained why filming the famous Dirty Dancing lift was unbearable

And we’re pretty devastated.

Dirty Dancing eyeshadow palette
(Image credit: Everett/REX/Shutterstock)

And we’re pretty devastated.

Dirty Dancing is a cult classic and no night-in is complete without a viewing of the 1987 romantic comedy - the one that made us all fall in love with Patrick Swayze, and gave us timeless film quotes like ‘Nobody puts Baby in the corner’ and ‘I carried a watermelon.’

Jennifer Grey recently opened up about the film’s most iconic moment – the Dirty Dancing lift – a whopping 30 years after it was filmed. Yes, we feel old too.

Dirty Dancing

When talking about the lake scene where Johnny teaches Baby to do the famous lift in the water, Jennifer Grey explained that it looked a lot more fun onscreen than off.

‘I remember swimming in the lake was very, very, very cold’, she explained, joking ‘you have to be really young and hungry to get in water that cold for that long. It was not good. I remember thinking: “Can you die if your nipples explode?” It just didn’t feel healthy to be in that water.’

The real reason why the dance scene was so unbearable, however, was apparently due to Patrick Swayze having a painful knee injury and struggling to lift her. Due to his agonising pain, they only had one take to perfect the lift – It’s a good thing they were both pros or Dirty Dancing might not have happened.

Dirty Dancing

In fact, as much as we all like to believe that the two of them re-enacted the lift every time they saw each other, apparently they only did the lift twice, and Jennifer Grey has never done it since.

As if that wasn’t upsetting enough, it turns out the end number didn’t go to plan either, with Jennifer Grey explaining that the floor had been painted just before, making it difficult to dance on.

‘I remember doing the big dance finale and they had just painted the stage and it was sticky,’ she said. ‘The paint would stick to my feet so I couldn’t turn. All the extras were sitting around, just hundreds of people, watching you about to fall on your face.’

Dirty Dancing

To mark the film’s 30th anniversary, a special edition of Dirty Dancing is being released later this year, undoubtedly also paying tribute to Patrick Swayze, who died in 2009 of pancreatic cancer, aged 57.

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.