Deconstructing Dirty Dancing

Coming in Spring 2017 from Zero Books


Deconstructing Dirty Dancing

Back Copy

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 microscope.


This is a remarkable achievement. Using a single film as a case-study, it asks the reader to re-think their own relationship to cinema, calling into question the narratives, memories and assumptions we construct through and about popular culture. This unique and innovative analysis offers a great deal to any reader, from the film studies professor to the occasional cinema goer. A must-read book or anyone interested in popular film. Alfie Bown | University of Manchester and Editor at Everyday Analysis

For all those inexplicably drawn to Dirty Dancing again and again, here’s a book that will finally make it feel like more than a “guilty pleasure,” that will intellectually legitimize your love for the movie you’d never previously admit is your real and forever favorite, at least not in front of polite company. Stephen Lee Naish helps the 80s gem rise up the cinema ranks. The moment you put the book down, you’ll want to put Dirty Dancing on for another spin. Holly Grigg-Spall | Author of Sweetening the Pill: or How We Got Hooked on Hormonal Birth Control

“Dirty Dancing has quietly evolved from a film to enjoy, to one you can admire — helped along by Stephen Lee Naish’s Bringing Up Baby: Deconstructing Dirty Dancing. A model of detailed textual analysis, Bringing Up Baby reveals what Dirty Dancing’s devoted fanbase has known for years: that the film tackled sophisticated, progressive themes with dignity, courage, and a catchy soundtrack. Rest assured, the political can indeed be pleasurable.” Liza Palmer| Managing Editor of The Moving Image, Co-Editor-in-Chief of Film Matters, Contributing Editor of Film International