Quarantined Dancer Creates Shot-for-Shot Remake of the Final Dirty Dancing Scene with a Lamp as a Dance Partner

1987’s low bud­get sleep­er hit, Dirty Danc­ing, pro­pelled its leads, Jen­nifer Grey and the late Patrick Swayze, to instant star­dom.

Swayze lat­er mused to the Amer­i­can Film Insti­tute about the film’s remark­able stay­ing pow­er:

It’s got so much heart, to me. It’s not about the sen­su­al­i­ty; it’s real­ly about peo­ple try­ing to find them­selves, this young dance instruc­tor feel­ing like he’s noth­ing but a prod­uct, and this young girl try­ing to find out who she is in a soci­ety of restric­tions when she has such an amaz­ing take on things. On a cer­tain lev­el, it’s real­ly about the fab­u­lous, funky lit­tle Jew­ish girl get­ting the guy because [of] what she’s got in her heart.

Near­ly 35 years after the orig­i­nal release, anoth­er gift­ed male dancer, Brook­lyn-based pho­tog­ra­ph­er Quinn Whar­ton, is tap­ping into that heart… and Grey has been replaced by a lamp.

Whar­ton once told Bal­let Hub that his favorite part of danc­ing pro­fes­sion­al­ly with the San Fran­cis­co Bal­let and Hub­bard Street Dance Chica­go was the access it gave him to the great names in dance — William Forsythe, Mats Ek, Christo­pher Wheel­don, Wayne McGre­gor, and oth­ers whose prox­im­i­ty made for “a remark­able edu­ca­tion.”

The first few months of the pan­dem­ic forced him to dance solo, recre­at­ing mem­o­rable film moments in response to a friend’s chal­lenge:

I was hes­i­tant at first but thought I would give it a try to see what I might be able to learn from it. Turns out it was way more fun than I thought and the result was fun­nier than I could have imag­ined.

We agree that his Quinn-tessen­tial Dance Scenes series is very fun­ny, as well as beau­ti­ful­ly exe­cut­ed in the twin are­nas of cam­era work and dance. His self-imposed para­me­ters — no out­side help, no green screen, no film­ing out­side of the apart­ment, and no spe­cial pur­chas­es of props or cos­tumes, con­tribute to the humor.

His hard­work­ing, dis­em­bod­ied, com­par­a­tive­ly well-cov­ered haunch­es elic­it laughs when seen next to the much skimpi­er orig­i­nal cos­tume of Flash­dance’s “Mani­ac” scene, above. 18-year-old star Jen­nifer Beals had three dance dou­bles — Marine Jahan, gym­nast Sharon Shapiro, and leg­endary B‑Boy Richard Colón, aka Crazy Legs of Rock Steady crew. None of them appeared in the orig­i­nal cred­its because, as Jahan told Enter­tain­ment Tonight, the pro­duc­ers “did­n’t want to break the mag­ic.”

In oth­er words, a lot of steamy 80s-era fan­tasies cen­tered on Beals are now known to be a case — pos­si­bly three cas­es — of mis­tak­en iden­ti­ty.

Whar­ton’s quar­an­tine project afford­ed him a chance to come at John Tra­vol­ta from two angles, thanks to the dis­co clas­sic Sat­ur­day Night Fever and Pulp Fic­tion’s twist sequence, a sur­pris­ing­ly pop­u­lar fan request. Though Travolta’s dance train­ing was lim­it­ed to child­hood tap lessons with Gene Kelly’s broth­er, Fred, Whar­ton prais­es his “seri­ous range.”

Whar­ton cites the inspi­ra­tion for one of his less­er known recre­ations, direc­tor Baz Lurhman’s first fea­ture, Strict­ly Ball­room, as a rea­son he began danc­ing:

My dad loves this movie and as a kid I can’t count the num­ber of times that I watched it. It’s so much, loud, brash, exu­ber­ant …It also allowed me to bring back my favorite part­ner.

Quinn-tessen­tial Dance Scenes is on hia­tus so Whar­ton can con­cen­trate on his work as a dance pho­tog­ra­ph­er. Watch a playlist of all eight episodes here.

See more of his dance pho­tog­ra­phy on his Insta­gram page.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

One of the Great­est Dances Sequences Ever Cap­tured on Film Gets Restored in Col­or by AI: Watch the Clas­sic Scene from Stormy Weath­er

The Pow­er of Pulp Fiction’s Dance Scene, Explained by Chore­o­g­ra­phers and Even John Tra­vol­ta Him­self

The Icon­ic Dance Scene from Hel­lza­pop­pin’ Pre­sent­ed in Liv­ing Col­or with Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence (1941)

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine, who can occa­sion­al­ly be spot­ted wan­der­ing around New York City in a bear suit, in char­ac­ter as L’Ourse.  Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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