“I’ve Had the time of my life”- A tribute to Patrick Swayze.

Today marks the second anniversary of the death of the incredibly talented Patrick Swayze (18th August 1952-14th September 2009). He is one of my inspirations and role models therefore I thought it would be fitting to write a tribute on his life and his most famous film which is one of my all time favourites “Dirty Dancing” (1987).

Note: I am not going to be writing a biography on Patrick Swayze in this review as that information is available through many online sources; I want to discuss why I admire him and his impact on my life personally.

Patrick Wayne Swayze (1952-2009)

Patrick was an incredible dancer and displayed so much energy; he also made dance seem completely flawless. This was however not the case; through reading his autobiography “I’ve Had The Time of My Life” in which he co-wrote with his wife Lisa Niemi I discovered that Patrick suffered from a severe knee injury which occurred during his football days. For something that could have destroyed his career as a dancer Patrick never gave up and continued to fight through the pain in order to pursue his dreams; his determined quality is something I really admire. Patrick Swayze and my love for the film “Dirty Dancing” has been partly responsible for inspiring me to pursue dancing again; as a child I danced for nine years in the fields of Ballet and Modern dance however gave it all up when I was  fourteen years old in order to focus on my studies; for the past three months I have been regularly attending Zumba classes; I constantly make sure I push myself as hard as I can just like Patrick did. The message he put forward was to always work hard in order to achieve the best possible success which I think is completely inspiring.

For those of you who are regular readers you will be aware that I’m not a great fan of romantic films or the sub-genre “chick flicks” therefore I find it difficult to put my finger on it regarding how much I love “Dirty Dancing”. The film has faced a lot of criticism over the years and wasn’t initially successful on its release however gradually a cult following has built up and I’d say for me its definitely a guilty pleasure. I feel some people do overrate “Dirty Dancing”; its not a perfect film, the characters are stereotypical and the plot is predictable but what keeps me engaged is the creative dance sequences; I never phase to be impressed during the lift in the lake scene and of course the climax. I think the film conveys a positive message indicating themes of self expression and standing up for what you believe. The feel-good factor is a definite pull for me; the film captures the 1960’s well and the soundtrack is a character in its own right as it pushes the plot along. Patrick Swayze’s character Johnny is one of my favourite leading men in cinema history; he is very appealing as he oozes confidence and also holds the bad boy image to an extent; Johnny’s character is also on a deeper level as he displays a vulnerable side and appears withdrawn when he is out of his own social circle. I still get goosebumps when he recites the iconic line “Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner”.

“I’ve had the time of my life”- My favourite scene from the film.

I am incredibly saddened by Patrick’s death as its so unfortunate for someone so talented to suffer from a terrible illness in the prime of their lives; his legacy will always live on however his death is a great loss to the dance and performance industry.

Hayley Alice Roberts.

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