The Deeper Meaning of Dirty Dancing, Explained

What makes Dirty Dancing so irresistible? As much as we keep coming back to Emile Ardolino’s 1987 film for the iconic romance, Patrick Swayze, and of course, the dancing, there’s a deeper meaning in Frances “Baby” Houseman’s character arc that explains why this story has struck a chord for so many viewers ever since its release. Frances’ progression from “Baby” to woman is a symbolic awakening into her femininity and sexuality—a coming-of-age expressed as coming into one’s own body. As Baby takes ownership of her desires and physicality, she achieves confidence, maturity and purpose. Here’s The Take on Dirty Dancing’s timeless insights into the young female experience.


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