Her performance as the dancer Tina Tech in the 1983 film Flashdance led to an even bigger role that same year as John Travolta’s love interest, a Broadway dancer, in Staying Alive, the sequel to Saturday Night Fever that was directed by Sylvester Stallone.

It was in 1987 when she played her most memorable role, Penny Johnson, a resort hotel dance instructor in 1987’s Dirty Dancing.

In her role, she flaunts her rhythmic prowess with her graceful and flashy Mambo-style moves alongside the late Patrick Swayze, whom she also shares heartbreaking emotional dramatic scenes.

Rhodes, describing Penny as having an “edge,” both charmed and shocked viewers as the character who had a botched illegal abortion.

The film, with a socially relevant subplot of reproductive rights with Rhodes at the center, positioned the three lead characters, Swayze as Johnny, Jennifer Grey as Baby, and Rhodes for super stardom.