Miranda with fellow judge Sean Cheesman

Miranda with fellow judge Sean Cheesman

Who better to judge Dirty Dancing: The Time of Your Life than Miranda Garrison, who starred and choreographed in the original film? FemaleFirst grabbed the dancing judge for a chat about the new series of the show which starts on September 10th at 9pm on Living.How did you find being a judge on the show? What are the best and worst things about it?Being a judge on the show was by far my most difficult assignment. Mentoring these brilliant young people (which I was allowed to do in abundance) was most inspiring. How do you compare unique performers? In the long view of each career, they are all winners! Being a judge is a necessary 'evil' to be used as an incentive for these young artists to grow. And grow they did!

How has Kelly Brooke settled in on the show?

Kelly Brooke is a fantastic addition to our team. Kelly has a completely positive attitude and has great knowledge about dance and performing. Kelly's opinions perfectly balanced the judging views of Sean and myself. We did not always agree, but there was great respect all around.

The winner of the show gets a year-long contract with the dance agency Bloc, what will that lead to for them?

A contract with Bloc agency is a valued prize. Bloc handles some of the most stunning performers in the world. For the winners to step up to the level of this LA agency opens the doors for maximum personal and professional growth. What the winners may do with this opportunity is ultimately up to each dancer. I wish them the best!

Do any of the couples on the show already stand out as potential winners?

I must say that all of these dancers are winners! In terms of broader career potential, look to Donna, Haley and Emma as unique talents. Pamela is a wildcat! Caoife is elegant and a real beauty. The rest of the girls all show unique promise. Seriously. The gentlemen from Vincent to James to Simon, Dean and Alex are amazing. The remaining men are again in their own way set for great careers! Tobias?! Love him! Kade is set for Broadway! Get ready for upsets and turn-arounds....you just never know! I adore each and everyone of these bright stars!

The show has a twist in the Weekly Partner Pick. Can you tell us more about this?

The challenges on this show are amazing and fun! The positive attitude and courage of the contestants in these varied challenges determines who will pick a new partner first. Remaining with your partner is also an option. Sometimes this choice tests the character and judgement of the contestant. From time to time, the judges may override these 'contestant picks' if the growth of the performers is being harmed in any way. The 'free pass' of the judges is limited and therefore much thought and agony goes into using this privilege.

What was it like revisiting the set of Dirty Dancing?

Revisiting the set of Dirty Dancing was the ultimate 'coming home'. It is amazing to pass on to yet another generation 21 years later the magic of this location and experience!

Do you have fond memories of making the film?

My memories of making this film are fantastic. I honestly 'had the time of my life'! Imagine how happy I am to share this with all of these young people. We original 'Dirty Dance People' contributed so much of our personal life stories to this film. This 'collective' story-telling has become an enormous validation of our youth and artistic philosophy.

You choreographed the lift dance sequence in the film, did you have any idea it would become such an iconic scene?

To set the record straight, Kenny Ortega, myself and most likely Patrick Swayze presented many 'lifts' to the director Emile Ardolino and writer Elinor Bergstein. Emile and Elinor wanted a through-line metaphor for the ultimate triumph of both Baby and Johnny. Once this lift was found we all knew its narrative power. I am not surprised as much as pleased when 'story' as the root of dance is proved so effective.

Do you have a favourite dance?

My favourite dance category is Lyrical. I love story-telling with depth of feeling and thought. I am still romantic. This genre allows for the telling of the human condition. Done well this form can change lives.

You've worked with many celebrities such as Madonna, Jennifer Lopez and Fergie (of the Black Eyed Peas). Which is your favourite?

Madonna is funny, smart and very professional. I really liked her. Jennifer Lopez is professional and a hard worker. I loved Fergie! She is so creative and down-to-earth, really a great girl. I most recently worked with Sienna Miller and I cannot sing her praises enough! Sienna is one of our acting treasures and somehow manages to be humble and a complete joy to work with.

Who would you consider the best dancer/s you have worked with?

Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron! I am a blessed choreographer to have worked with these legends.

We ask everyone we interview to come up with a question for the next person we interview....and Zaya wants to know; What would you put on bread and why?

If I had a slice of bread I would put butter and sugar on it! My beloved Mother fed me this 'Southern Delight' along with great stories in literature...butter, sugar and the Bard! Great question Zaya! And thanks Mom for it all!

Can you come up with a question for our next interview?

My favourite quote is: 'Barn's burnt down...now I can see the moon.' (Masahide). How does this gem touch your life?

Find out what the legendary Dave Dee thought of Miranda’s little ‘gem’ here