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Why Rehearsals for Baby's Soaring Dirty Dancing Lift Made Abigail Breslin Feel Like a 'Toddler'

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The chance to play Baby in ABC’s small-screen reimagining of Dirty Dancing was dream gig for Abigail Breslin — but even more so for her mother.

“Dirty Dancing is my mom’s No. 1 favorite movie. She actually used to say, ‘I would die if you could play Baby one day.’ When I got it, she was the first person I called,” Breslin shares in PEOPLE’s special collector’s edition about the 1987 film favorite.

Breslin, 21, admits it was sometimes less dreamy to master her moves with newcomer Colt Prattes, who plays bad boy dancer Johnny to Breslin’s Baby.

“I’m the exact antithesis of graceful,” she quips. “I can barely walk a straight line.”

Most challenging? Nailing the film’s iconic, climactic lift.

“I don’t know how I did the lift,” Breslin says. “I think I temporarily lost my mind. We started on the floor doing ‘airplane’ like I was a toddler.”

But 31-year-old veteran dancer Prattes (West Side Story on Broadway, High School Musical) happily helped ease her into her dance space.

“Abby blossomed!” he says of filming the three-hour, small-screen remake. “Everybody could feel it.”

For more inside scoop from the beloved dance romance and its new small-screen reimagining, pick up PEOPLE’s special collector’s edition Dirty DancingThe Music, The Moves, The Memories, in stores now or available on Amazon!

Dirty Dancing, also starring Nicole Scherzinger, Sarah Hyland and Debra Messing, premieres Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

  • Reporting by MONICA RIZZO