Review: Deconstructing Dirty Dancing by Stephen Lee Naish

Title: Deconstructing Dirty Dancing

Author: Stephen Lee Naish

Pages: 89 Pages

Publisher: Zero Books

The Blurb

Renowned film critic Roger Ebert said Dirty Dancing “might have been a decent movie if it had allowed itself to be about anything.” In this broadly researched and accessible text, Stephen Lee Naish sets out to deconstruct and unlock a film that has haunted him for decades, and argues that Dirty Dancing, the 1987 sleeper hit about a young middle-class girl who falls for a handsome working-class dance instructor, is actually about everything. The film is a union of history, politics, sixties and eighties culture, era-defining music, class, gender, and race, and of course features one of the best love stories set to film. Using scene-by-scene analyses, personal interpretation, and comparative study, it’s time to take Dirty Dancing out of the corner and place it under the microscope.


The Review

My love for Dirty Dancing knows no bounds. It is my favourite film of all time and I will watch it whenever it is on television…albeit I will watch the DVD so as not to get cross that they have edited bits out and to alleviate the adverts but I still watch it every time it is on television. I wouldn’t be surprised if I had watched Dirty Dancing over 1000 times.

It is due to this that I am always dubious when someone writes about it. I worry that they are going to try and be disparaging about it. My fiancé is always trying to take it down but after I made him watch it with audio commentary (provided by myself) he realised that nothing was going to shake my love.

Deconstructing Dirty Dancing is a really clever look at Dirty Dancing from an academic point of view and Stephen Lee Naish is not trying to belittle the movie at all. He studies it from a historical, social and political point of view. He takes you on a minute by minute journey and celebrates how much of a brave movie Dirty Dancing is and how it tackles some extreme issues of the time which are scarily still relevant today.

This is definitely one for film fans and Dirty Dancing buffs alike.

Deconstructing Dirty Dancing by Stephen Lee Naish is available now.

For more information regarding Stephen Lee Naish (@RiffsandMeaning) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding Zero Books (@Zer0Books) please visit


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