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Lake Lure Dirty Dancing Festival packs a wallop
Wednesday, 02 October 2019 21:07

Despite rain, gala swings, sways onward with fun galore


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LAKE LURE — Despite persistent rain and resulting slippery conditions, performers and attendees at the two-day 10th annual Lake Lure Dirty Dancing Festival partied onward, dancing to the music and savoring the other festival fun.

On Sept. 13, opening night, most of the activities, including the showing of iconic movie “Dirty Dancing,” were canceled because of lightning, accompanied by a torrent of rain and thunder.

Festival-goers retreated to tents and the awnings of building to avoid being deluged by the rain. Later, as they left, they had to walk through several inches of water in their return to their vehicles.

On the second day, Sept. 14, which featured activities from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the events were held despite on-and-off-again light rain that persisted into the early afternoon. .

The Sept 13 evening’s highlights were to include a performance by the Lake Lure Cloggers, the band The Extraordaires and concluding with the annual screening of the film “Dirty Dancing” on a huge inflatable screen beside the lake.

Despite threatening skies, the Lake Lure Cloggers were able to complete their performance.

Next, The Extraordinaires took the stage, beginning its performance with two K.C. & the Sunshine Band disco-era hits, “Get Down Tonight” and “Boogie Shoes.”

The band was able to “get down” and finish “Get Down Tonight,” but two verses into “Boogie Shoes,” lightning and thunder began, along with a sprinkle of rain, followed by a torrent.

One of the band members told the crowd, which was fleeing from its lawnchairs for cover, that The Extraordinaires would be taking a “30-minute weather break” — and would return after that.

However, The Extraordinaires were never to return that night, as the skies opened up and deluged Lake Lure’s Morse Park with several inches of rain, leaving deep puddles and mud everywhere.

As the rain continued, and most of the festival-goers had departed, a decision was made to cancel the outdoor movie screening for the first time in the festival’s history.

Also, a special video presentation from Lisa Niemi, Patrick’s wife, was cancelled, since it was to be held in conjunction with the film screening.

In addition, another cancelled Sept. 13 planned highlight was a talk and performance by Stacy Widelitz, who came to prominence with the song “She’s Like the Wind,” co-written with Patrick Swayze and featured in “Dirty Dancing.”

On Sept. 14, the Asheville Ballet returned to the festival’s stage for the eighth year, including instructors and dancers. The lineup includes Johnny (Swayze) look-alike lead instructor Lyle Laney.

The troupe performed a potpourri of short movie-inspired dance routines during the festival, as well as an hour’s long performance of routines at mid-afternoon Sept. 14.

What’s more, the Asheville Ballet offered free lessons to dances from “Dirty Dancing” under a big tent.

In addition, Spartanburg, S.C., dance studio instructor Natalie Foreverland (with her assistants), led festival-goers in Carolina shag lessons.

In Sept. 14 morning, the eight-piece show band Carolina Coast Band played beach, Motown, rhythm and blues and oldies music.

Other Sept. 14 afternoon features included an amateur-intermediate shag competition and a “Dirty Dancing” character look-alike contest.

The eight-member Band of Oz, billed as “one of the most successful groups in the Southeast,” performed throughout the Sept. 14 afternoon, featuring many beach and soul music classics.

A festival highlight Sept. 14 was a performance by Franke Privite, along with Lisa Sherman, of “(I’ve Had) the Time of My Life” and “Hungry Eyes” by Franke Previte, along with singer Lisa Sherman, accompanied by the Band of Oz.

Previte is an Academy Award-winning composer from New Jersey who co-wrote the iconic “(I’ve Had) The Time of Life” and the top five hit “Hungry Eyes.”



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