Movie Plot: It’s the summer of 1963, and 17-year-old Frances “Baby” Houseman (Grey) is vacationing with her affluent family at Kellerman’s, a resort in the Catskill Mountains. Baby is planning to attend Mount Holyoke College to study the economics of underdeveloped countries and then enter the Peace Corps. She was named after Frances Perkins, the first woman in the U.S. Cabinet. Her father, Dr. Jake Houseman (Orbach), is the personal physician of Max Kellerman (Jack Weston), the resort’s owner.
During her stay, Baby meets—and develops a crush on—the resort’s dance instructor Johnny Castle (Swayze), who is also the leader of the resort’s working-class entertainment staff. While walking around on the resort grounds, Baby encounters Billy (Johnny’s cousin), and when Baby helps Billy carry watermelons to the staff’s quarters, she observes their secret after-hours party and the “dirty dancing” (i.e., the Mambo) involved.