Garrison worked on Mulholland Falls, and was assistant choreographer on the 1987 film Dirty Dancing, where she also played the part of Vivian Pressman. She was an actress–dancer in The Forbidden Dance and Xanadu. She is a frequent collaborator with choreographer Kenny Ortega. She also appeared in the 1988 movie Salsa playing Los Angeles salsa club owner Luna. In this film, she is able to dance much of her own choreography. In 1997, she was hired as the choreographer for the film Selena.