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Jennifer Grey Feels Connected to Patrick Swayze Through 'DWTS'

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Sep. 20 2010, Published 8:36 a.m. ET

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Jennifer Grey is known for her iconic role opposite Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing, taking on some pretty difficult dance numbers for the 1987 megahit. Her background on the dance floor may classify her as a frontrunner on this season of Dancing With the Stars, and the actress said she feels very connected to Patrick through her experience on the hit ABC dance competition.

"I feel his presence right now, very strongly right now. This week, especially, because of the anniversary of his death last week and because of the song we're dancing to this week and because of dancing with Derek and doing this kind of dancing at all," Jennifer told Ryan Seacrest as she discussed the new season on his morning radio show.

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Jennifer and partner Derek Hough will be taking on the the Viennese waltz on tonight's premiere episode, and the number will also serve as a tribute to Patrick.

"The last time I did it was with him and he's the only person I've actually ever done this with before Derek. It's a pretty intense sense memory, actually," she said of dancing with Patrick 23 years ago.

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The actress shared she has also been in contact with Patrick's wife Lisa Niemi, who is in her corner.

"She sent me an email last week saying that she's rooting for me and thinking about me," Jennifer said. "I was very moved by that and very happy that she sent that to me."

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