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Dirty Dancing
Dirty Dancing
Great American Films Limited Partnership
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at VCU chapter.

Movies are a principal form of art. They make us laugh, they make us cry and even make us want to be better people (just watch “Paddington 2” and you’ll know what I mean). They can even be the marker for core memories such as a first date or sexual awakenings. 

This may be TMI but Diego Luna in the prequel of the movie series, “Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights,” was my sexual awakening. There was something about the way he moved his hips and that boyish yet mischievous smile he had that made me feel something I had never before. The scene in the town square is all the evidence I need to back me up on this. Of course, this movie would’ve never existed without the success of its predecessor. 

In the seventh grade, my family finally caved and created a Netflix account. It’s here on the notorious online streaming service where I would watch Patrick Swayze deliver the infamous line, “No one puts Baby in a corner” for the very first time and certainly not last. More recently, I got the chance to experience this movie in the cinema at one of Richmond’s coveted landmarks, The Byrd Theatre in Carytown.

The Byrd is known to mainly show old and classic movies with the occasional newer blockbuster. The single theater that the Byrd houses is preserved exceptionally well to honor its history. When I saw in their monthly newsletter that they were showing “Dirty Dancing” right around Valentine’s Day, I knew I had to go. 

I texted one of my gal pals for a bit of a Galentine’s Day celebration and we bought our tickets almost immediately, anticipating the weekend. 

When the day came, we were running late and we made it just in time to the front of the Byrd, we scanned our tickets and found seats in the very first row of the generously packed theater. Though the balcony seating was unavailable, it all felt very — dare I say — moviesque. I know, a bit on the nose, but there really is no other way to describe the place. The old-timey feel and the integrity of the theater’s bones are well cared for and only add to the movie-going experience. 

We were pleasantly surprised by an incredible pre-show of a local member of the Richmond Symphony playing the organ that seemed to have appeared out of thin air in front of the stage. 

After the performance, we broke out into applause to the delightful surprise and then the movie began. I know this movie from beginning to end, line for line, and yet I still found myself on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happened next, scene after scene. I was so used to watching the movie from my phone or laptop so to see it in its truest form was unbelievable.

I almost always tear up at the scene of Jennifer Grey’s character, Baby, pleading to her father to see her and embrace her for who she is even if it’s not who he expected her to be. I think I can speak for the entire audience when I say we laughed, we may have cried, and we certainly left wanting to make the world a better place just like Baby. 

When it was over, mesmerized by Johnny and Baby’s love, we once again broke out into applause. While I hate people who clap at the end of movies or the end of a flight, I could justify the applause just this once, for one night only, for one of the best love stories to exist.

This an experience I will definitely look back on very fondly. The Byrd creates a magical experience of watching a film by staying true to its roots with its old burgundy seats and beautiful architecture and that is what makes it a staple in the community. It’s one of the few theaters to show older movies but I think more movie theaters are following in its footsteps. 

It’s semi-rare for older movies to be re-released due to various reasons ranging from the risk of damage to the physical film copy from the theater project to financial reasons and simply because almost everything is available online to stream. 

But this isn’t to say it never happens; as of recently, it seems to be more common with the examples of the re-release of movies like “Titanic” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” I think it’s becoming more of a norm to get people back into the theatre after the height of the pandemic but I also see a pattern of re-releases for anniversaries. 

Ghibli Fest, for example, happens every year with select theaters showing some of Studio Ghibli’s cherished films from the mind of Hayao Miyazaki. I got the chance to watch “Spirited Away” in the theater for the first time last Halloween. While I loved watching Chihiro’s journey to save her parents from my laptop screen, there was something about being able to watch it on the big screen like it was meant to be seen. 

Whatever your movie-watching preference may be, to stream or not to stream and go to the movies, I will say there is something magical about a cherry slushie and movie theater popcorn and seeing art in its original form. 

Natalie Pineda is an English and Creative Writing student. She loves reading and writing is her passion. She enjoys stories written by women for women. Romcoms are her genre of choice and appreciates the art of indie movies.