Magazine article Dance Teacher

It's a Wrap

Magazine article Dance Teacher

It's a Wrap

Article excerpt

goings on

Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights takes the '80s classic to a sizzling new level.

According to coproducer and choreographer JoAnn Jansen, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights is more than just a reimagining of the 1987 hit starring Patrick Swayze. The film, which hits theaters this month, is hased on real events in Janscn's life. Set in Cuba in 1958 on the eve of revolution, the movie follows the young American Katey Miller (Romola Garai) as she falls in love with dancer-waiter Javier (Diego Luna of Y Tu Mama Tambien). The amantes, unbeknownst to Miller's father, steal away to Cuba's steamy dance clubs, eventually partnering up at a prestigious competition.

"What a way to come of age," says Jansen, whose recent choreography credits include the films Pirates of the Caribbean and Uptown Girls. Jansen says that she and producer Lawrence Bender already were planning on turning her Cuban experiences into a film when Miramax expressed interest in a Dirty Dancing remake. "We took my life story and added the dance element to it, but everything else was already there," says Jansen. "It was unbelievable. I met Castro and hung out with rebels and talked to everybody until we got kicked out of the country. It changed me forever."

Harana Nights was filmed in Puerto Rico, and Jansen hired some 150 couples, many of whom were local dancers, for the film's sultry dance scenes. To prepare Garai and Luna-neither of whom had dance experience-Jansen trained them intensively for two months. "I gave them an hour-and-a-half class for body building, an hour of footwork and another hour of partnering," she recalls. …

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