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How to Do a "Dirty Dancing" Themed Party

Updated April 17, 2017

Get your dancing shoes ready and take a step back in time for a "Dirty Dancing" theme party. Celebrate with friends and relive the moments from the classic movie. First released in 1987, starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, the movie is set in the early 1960s at a summer resort. Recreate that summer with the right costumes, music, decorations and food. Afterward, your guests will say, "I've had the time of my life."

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  1. Pick a character from the movie and dress the part. For Baby's costume, wear a fitting pink tank top, jean cut-off shorts and white tennis shoes, or pair the tank top with a flowing, colourful skirt. Curl hair with small, hot curlers to complete Baby's look. For Johnny's costume, wear a black tank top, black jeans and black dress shoes.

  2. Encourage guests to wear costumes related to the movie. In addition to the main characters, partygoers can dress as either the employees (also known as the dirty dancers) or the resort guests. The women employees can wear off-the-shoulder tops and short skirts or capri pants. The men can wear tight trousers, opened button-down shirts and fedora-style hats. Think preppy for the guests of the resort: pastel shirts, plaid trousers, golf sweaters and cocktail dresses.

  3. Decorate for the party. Make signs to hang on the walls with quotes from the movie, such as "Nobody puts Baby in the corner," or "I carried a watermelon." Enhance the 1960s resort theme with artificial palm trees and coconuts. Place records or album covers of various 1960s artists on the walls.

  4. Set the menu. Make a watermelon cocktail and place it in a large punch bowl with pineapple slices. Prepare simple foods for guests to snack on while taking a break from the dance floor, such a cocktail shrimp, cheese platters or Swedish meatballs.

  5. Choose the music play list. The "Dirty Dancing" soundtrack offers great hits, but mix those songs with other dance music from the early 1960s to add more energy and variety to the play list. If you're not comfortable controlling the music, consider hiring a DJ or convince a music-savvy friend to help.

  6. Play the movie with the sound off. This will give guests a chance to relive classic moments, and it just might get everyone practicing those famous dance moves.

  7. Stage a dance contest. Find out who can perform the best dance to the song "(I've Had) The Time of My Life," or see who can make the most guests blush with their dirty dancing skills. Give a copy of the "Dirty Dancing" DVD to the winner.

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Things You'll Need

  • Costumes
  • Signs with movie quotes
  • Artificial palm trees and coconuts
  • 1960s records or album covers
  • Cocktails
  • Snacks
  • Music play list and sound system or DJ
  • "Dirty Dancing" DVD

About the Author

Amy Kestly began writing professionally in 2010. She is a contributor for various websites, specializing in culinary arts, travel, marketing and advertising. Kestly has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Tulane University in New Orleans.

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