Who can forget the final dance number in the 1987 classic Dirty Dancing? Baby runs and leaps into Johnny’s arms, showing her trust in her partner and her faith in everything he taught her. Such a bold move required lots of rehearsal, and a lake was the perfect place to practice. The scenes in which Johnny and Baby rehearse the lift were filmed in Firefly Cove on Lake Lure.
Other films that feature Lake Lure and the surrounding area include the 1958 cult classic Thunder Road, the 1984 adaptation of Stephen King’s Firestarter, the comedy My Fellow Americans, and the thriller Careful What You Wish For.
Watch Johnny teach Baby how to dance:
Despite the relative success of these other films, however, it’s Dirty Dancing that continues to draws fans to Lake Lure. In addition to the scenes shot in the lake, the production crew also used cabins at the Chimney Rock Camp for Boys for resort staff housing and transformed a gymnasium into the banquet hall where Johnny and Baby perform their final dance. Unfortunately, you can’t explore these buildings as they have since been demolished, but you can still see the steps where Baby practices her dance moves on her own to the uptempo rhythm of Wipeout. The steps are on private property, but you can get a photo of them from the water.
Since 2009, the local community has hosted an annual Dirty Dancing Festival, which features dance lessons taught by members of the Asheville Ballet, a lake lift contest, and a watermelon carrying competition. Watch news coverage of the annual Dirty Dancing Festival from UNC-TV:
Cover image by James Castle is licensed under (CC BY-SA 3.0).