A night dirty dancing

A night at Kellerman’s Resort, 1963.

I was overwhelmed. I STILL am overwhelmed. Last night I attended my first LIVE cinema experience from Future Cinema, the same lovely lot who organise the delightful Secret Cinema events.

I’ve been to Secret Cinema before, and I’ve always really enjoyed the concept of create an environment to make you genuinely feel like you are IN a film. It’s such a cool experience feeling like you are in a different era, surrounded by actors and spontaneous weird moments. The difference with Future Cinema is you know before you go what the film is going to be.

This, for me was even better.

Hackney Down’s park, a short amble from our flat, had been utterly completely transformed. The film of the night was Dirty Dancing, and we were fully transported into the film, specifically ‘Kellerman’s Holiday Resort’. Dirty Dancing fans gathered from far and wide to become immersed in the film, characters and time period, and we all basically pretend to be on holiday for the day in 1963 with beach balls and towels.

When we arrived it was difficult to take it all in at once, we were just walking around with our mouths open. Hackney Downs park had been completely transformed into Kellerman’s, the very same resort from Dirty Dancing. The talent show that happens in the film was happening in real life, with everyone knowing all the words.

There were energetic actors everywhere: Kellerman’s staff with megaphones and American accents. The park was broken out into different areas, teaching us dance lessons, drawing lessons, volleyball. We could write notes to Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze’s character), or enter into a ‘staff only’ quarters into a broken down hut. People could even pay to have a bump, grind and have a photo taken with ‘Johnny’. It was hilarious to watch this guilty pleasure in action.

The cocktails were flowing, by the name of ‘Sex in a Cabin’ (everything was Dirty Dancing  themed), and by the time it got dark, the whole park was well on their way to being drunk and merry. Watching a film with thousands of other people was pretty fun. Everyone knew all the words to the songs, we all got up and danced during any of the dancey numbers and screeched the lyrics to ‘Hungry Eyes’. Lots of people were perfectly quoting scenes word by word which you’d think would be annoying, but it was AMAZING. Hearing hundreds of people say on cue ‘I carried a watermelon’ and then cracking up was probably one of the weirdest things.

As predicated, a lot of people tried to attempt the lift, and failed miserably, which ended up with a lot of people on the floor weeping with laughter, and some minor injuries along the way.

It is amazing to realise the impact that such films on people and different generations & how fun they are to watch over and over again. Everyone was in high spirits and bonding over a film that everyone had in common for the night.

A little while into the film, I then realised that there were live dancers ACTUALLY mirroring the dance routines that were happening in the film, in PERFECT sequence. It literally blew us away, because you are having a dual experience, of seeing it in real life, and on the screen. Plus, some of those dance routines are pretty complicated, so to keep it in perfect unison was v impressive indeed.

Basically, I never wanted it to the end. Thank you Future Cinema for adding a lot of joy to my weekend. SEE YOU NEXT TIME.

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