The film was based on screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein's own childhood. She originally wrote a screenplay for the Michael Douglas film It's My Turn, but ultimately ended up conceiving a story for a film which became Dirty Dancing. She finished the script in 1985, but management changes at MGM put the film in development hell. The production company was changed to Vestron Pictures with Emile Ardolino as director and Linda Gottlieb as producer. Filming took place in Lake Lure, North Carolina, and Mountain Lake, Virginia, with the film's score composed by John Morris and dance choreography by Kenny Ortega.