He's Like the Wind: 10 notable Patrick Swayze dance moves
I spent the better part of the afternoon watching Patrick Swayze, a fine specimen who looked like a hotter version of the Brawny man and moved like a better version of the Rum Tum Tugger, a curious cat, dance on the Internet. It was sad (and briefly compounded by a brief wave of severe self-loathing for never having seen Skatetown U.S.A.), but this “exercise,” and Sunkist Fruit Gems, really made today much better. Let’s look at it this way: As long as nothing happens to the Internet, we will always be able to sit at work and watch Patrick Swayze dance. All day. Let’s kick it.
Dirty Dancing (1987) (airing on ABC Family Saturday and Sunday nights!)
I mean, pick any move. The Lift is obvious, of course. My esteemed colleague Tim Stack is a big fan of Johnny’s intricate arm work — specifically The Snake hand swirl and subsequent Come Hither finger wag. after he leaps onto the log during the precarious water-based practice session (at 0:48). For the epic “I’ve Had The Time of My Life” routine, Tim, Mandi Bierly, and Kristen Baldwin all immediately singled out AND PROCEEDED TO DEMONSTRATE (***exclusive EW.com video unavailable at this time***) what we’ve termed the I’m Comin’ Atcha Shuffle (at 2:44 on this embedding-disabled video, or just imagine it in your head because you know you can) as Johnny — flanked by backups! — attempts to lure Baby back into the spotlight. Kristen and I are very into the slow and sexy Shoulder-To-Waist Trace (at 2:05 above), which during rehearsals got cut short because someone got a case of the giggles. Oh, and whenever I think of this movie, I first picture the “He is risen” moment post-giant leap off the stage (2:52 above), capped off by a sassy head lurch in the fashion of a dog who has just jumped into a pool.
Chippendale’s sketch on Saturday Night Live (1990)
I’d certainly call the flossing of one’s crotch with a sleeveless dress shirt (at 1:07) “notable.”
One Last Dance (1993)
I enjoy the 6:43 mark, at which point Swayze and his real-life wife Lisa Niemi (who directed the film) welcome George De La Pena back into their exclusive love-cloud with a sensuous three-way arm tangle. Also, you may want to watch the One Last Dance trailer to see Swayze explain why dancing is magical. “It’s like living in a beautiful storybook where you can fly if you want to, you can reach up and grab a star.” Ahhhhh!
With wife Lisa Niemi at the 1994 World Music Awards
I had no idea this existed. Don’t skip any of it, but do perk up at 2:39 when his arms create a human-sized napkin ring with which to encase her entire body. And then…a fabulous solo!
To Wong Foo Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar (1995)
Plenty of gems in this one, but I love the signature dramatic-yet-controlled arm flourishes Vida Boheme is always tossing around — especially during her grand entrance at 1:16 of this ridiculous/awesome tribute video set to a “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” remix. You can watch this entire movie on YouTube.
Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights (2003)
No specific moment, per se. I just wanted to announce that Patrick Swayze is my new favorite honorary Dancing With the Stars pro.
Got any to add?
FYI: This crazy YouTube mashup of a “Swayze vs. John Travolta dance-off” is not the worst way to spend 3:40.