Dirty Dancing hits Sydney.

Maddie Peat as Penny Johnson with Kurt Phelan as Johnny Castle.
Maddie Peat as Penny Johnson with Kurt Phelan as Johnny Castle.

THE life of a performer means never knowing what is just around the corner.

Sydney dancer Maddie Peat was on the way to her first day at a new retail job when her agent phoned to say she had the part of Penny Johnson in the latest Australian production of Dirty Dancing.

“It was my first shift after my trial,” the 20-year-old said.

“My agent phoned and said I started on the show tomorrow, so I went in to my new work and said ‘Hey, so I can’t work here anymore’. Thankfully they were really great about it.”

The role is Peat’s first in a major production and the bubbly blonde said she still had trouble believing she was in the cast starring Kurt Phelan as Johnny Castle and Kirby Burgess as ‘Baby’ Houseman.

The former So You Think You Can Dance (Australia season 4) contestant said she had embraced the challenge of the acting side of her role

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” she said.

“I knew I’d be able to nail the dancing, even though it is quite hard, but the acting was such a challenge.

“It’s not film so you can’t stuff up a line and cut. If you stuff up, you have to sort it out. Every night is so rewarding after doing each scene.”

Although Peat did not see the first Australian production of Dirty Dancing, which premiered in Sydney 10 years ago, she was certainly familiar with the film.

“I grew up watching it whenever we had family gatherings,” she said.

“The end scene is the best.”

Community Newspaper Group has 10 double passes to give away to Dirty Dancing. Enter at www.communitynews.com.au before July 6.

THE ESSENTIALS

What: Dirty Dancing

Where: Crown Theatre Perth

When: from August 1

Tickets: www.ticketek.com.au