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Thousands descend on Hackney Downs with watermelons and hula hoops for Dirty Dancing recreation

PUBLISHED: 15:56 03 September 2013 | UPDATED: 15:56 03 September 2013

Future Cinema's production of Dirty Dancing on Hackney Downs, film images courtesy of Lionsgate. Photo Hanson Leatherby

Future Cinema's production of Dirty Dancing on Hackney Downs, film images courtesy of Lionsgate. Photo Hanson Leatherby

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Dirty Dancing fans descended on Hackney Downs at the weekend with hula hoops, beach balls, watermelons and suitcases, as the park was transformed into a 1960s American holiday camp to recreate the world of the cult classic movie.

Future Cinema's production of Dirty Dancing on Hackney Downs, photo Hanson LeatherbyFuture Cinema's production of Dirty Dancing on Hackney Downs, photo Hanson Leatherby

Tents and cabins were set up in the parkland off Downs Park Road so that Secret Cinema spin-off, Future Cinema could transport 12,500 film fans to Kellerman’s holiday resort in America on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night.

While Secret Cinema encourages film-buffs to pay up not knowing which film they will see or where, Future Cinema provides an immersive cinema experience without so much of the mystery.

The event was the UK’s largest outdoor film event of the summer over 60 actors and dancers transported the cheering crowds back to the summer of ’63, lead by Baby and Johnny – played by Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze in the film.

Activities to join in with before the film screening included yoga classes, archery, life drawing, fencing, a talent contest.

Future Cinema's production of Dirty Dancing on Hackney Downs, photo Laura LittleFuture Cinema's production of Dirty Dancing on Hackney Downs, photo Laura Little

Live dances during the screening perfectly mirrored scenes in the film like the iconic “lift” - inspiring the audience to attempt imitations.

A spokesman said: “The festival atmosphere added an exciting new facet to the film, and one couldn’t help but feel the powerful energy of the predominantly female audience and their undeniable force in the air.

“For the final scene of the movie, thousands joined in The Time of My Life, forming an extraordinary choir in Hackney Downs.”

But not everyone was impressed with the outdoor event.

Damien Clarkson took to social networking site Twitter to complain about the noise: “Honestly had enough of #dirtydancing festival. We are nearly a mile away and still hear the music blasting out,” he said.

“Bad enough it ruined my planned 5k around the park yesterday.”

A few residents complained footpaths in the park were out of use for several days while the area was set up dismantled.

Secret Cinema has had a high profile in Hackney this year, with the staging of prisoner movie epic, The Shawshank Redemption at the former Cardinal Pole school in Victoria Park Road.

June saw the same building transformed into a 1920s hotel for the first ever Secret Music concept which saw folk singer Laura Marling’s latest album Once I Was An Eagle brought to life.

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