The beautiful moment a 102-year-old woman watched video of herself dancing on TV in the 1930s and 1940s was captured on film and is quickly going viral (video below).
Alice Barker was reportedly a chorus line dancer during the Harlem Renaissance and appeared with legends like Gene Kelly, Billy “Bojangles” Robinson and Frank Sinatra. During her career, Barker danced in commercials, TV shows and movies, but not once in her life did she ever watch herself perform.
David Shuff, who had connected with Barker years ago after bringing his therapy dog to her retirement community, decided he wanted her to be able to watch herself dance. After many unsuccessful searches, Shuff reached out to “Jazz On Film” archivist Mark Cantor for help. Finally, they were able to track down a few clips of Barker dancing, and on two separate days back in November, they surprised Barker at her nursing home with the performance footage.
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“Don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing,” the feisty woman sang along as she watched herself on screen.
“It makes me wish I could get out of this bed and do it all over again,” Barker admitted.
As she watched herself dance, Barker recalled the moment she knew she would be a performer. She told Shuff a story about how her mother caught her dancing to the distant sound of a nearby band as a young child while preparing her for a bath.
“When she came back, I was gone,” Barker recalled. “I was down there naked just going, dancing. And then, if the band would stop playing, I'd look at them and ‘come on, let's get it going, let's get it going here.’”
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The best part of her experience, Barker says in the clip, is that she held on to her true passion for dance and never felt like it was a job.
“I used to often say to myself, I am being paid to do something that I enjoy doing and I would do it for free,” Barker said. “Because it just felt so good doing it, because that music, you know, I just get carried away in it.”
Barker is reportedly still alive and well. Check out the beautiful moment in the footage below.