Sleeping Beauty / Dirty Dancing
It might seem strange to compare dances in The Sleeping Beauty and Dirty Dancing, however, that is precisely what this paper will attempt to do. The pas de deux dance between Prince Florimund and Aurora in Act III of The Sleeping Beauty and the "I Had the Time of My Life" dance in Dirty Dancing are not unlike in terms of staging and purpose, despite the fact that one is a ballet and one is contemporary dance. Both come at the end of the story (the play and film, respectively) and their purpose is to show the transformation of child to woman and, at the same time, show the burgeoning relationship between her and her lover.
The pas de deux of Act III in The Sleeping Beauty begins with the two lovers center stage as onlookers observe. Likewise, though Patrick Swayze comes down the aisle and plucks Baby from the corner (with the infamous line "Nobody puts Baby in the corner"), the two head to the center stage to do their dance as well. In both dances the dance begins with the man holding the woman as she goes into a deep backward bend. Immediately after that, both dances has the man going around the woman and, with him in the back and her in front, they face the audience, which feels like it is the couple finally presenting themselves to the world as a couple. Both women have one arm in the air as well. Both dances have the couples moving away from each other (more so in The Sleeping Beauty than Dirty Dancing), but then they immediately they...
This movement gives us the sense of their story together, how they were apart and then are compelled to be with each other.
Both stories are about lovers who come together and there is some kind of awakening. For Baby in Dirty Dancing, it is an awakening of her spirit and of her femininity, which culminates into the awakening of her womanhood and a loss of innocence, because despite the fact that she is called "Baby" (and ironically so), she is a growing woman and one that is tired of adhering to all of her parent's rules and beliefs about who they think she should be. Patrick Swayze is the bad boy who is the one who awakens something in her. In The Sleeping Beauty, the awakening is quite a bit more literal. Aurora has been asleep for one hundred years and when Florimund goes to her (after falling in love with her vision), he kisses her and awakens her (as well as the whole kingdom) and thus is given her parent's -- the King and Queen blessings -- to marry. Both dances are a celebration of awakenings.
Though Baby's parents -- specifically her father -- are against her having anything to do with Patrick Swayze, her father sees her blossom into a beautiful young woman in this dance and he gives his/her blessings as well. Balanchine and Mason (1975) note that in The Sleeping Beauty the pas de deux "tells the story of a whole life -- the growth and development of a playful and carefree child into a young woman…
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