Dirty Dancing premieres Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC


If there is one unabashed, soaring declaration of cinematic devotion, it is the Lift from Dirty Dancing. It’s a beloved cultural touchstone — though the high-flying feat admittedly flummoxed Baby until the last night at Kellerman’s and proved equally difficult for star Jennifer Grey, who once admitted, “I don’t think I did the Lift until the finale, when I had to.”

Now as fans ready to be stunned by ABC’s small-screen reimagining of the film with Abigail Breslin and newcomer Colt Prattes taking on the moves made famous by Grey and Patrick Swayze as Johnny, six-time Dancing with the Stars winner Derek Hough — who famously recreated the Lift with Mirrorball-winning partner Bindi Irwin in 2015 — reveals how to recreate the classic film moment in an excerpt from PEOPLE’s collectors edition about the 1987 favorite.

Derek Hough’s Five Essential Tips for Nailing the Dirty Dancing Lift

• First, “practice in a swimming pool.” On dry land “people think they can just run and jump and lift. No. Do lots of little lifts.”

• Timing is everything. “Practice running up to your partner: ‘One, two, three and up.’ If she jumps and her energy is on the way down while the man is trying to lift, she’ll feel much heavier. Time it so she’s jumping while he’s lifting.”

• Ladies, “keep your head, chest and legs up. You need to activate your lower back muscles.”

• Gentlemen, “put your hands on her pelvic bone; aim low when she’s coming in. And this is key: Lock your arms as soon as you lift. If you lock your arms you can hold her up there forever.”


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.