Former 102-year-old New York dancer sees video of herself for first time


INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Thanks to the power of technology, a 102-year-old woman who spent years of her life as a dancer was finally able to see some of her performances for herself.

It’s a beautiful moment posted online by TIME. Alice Barker was a chorus-line dancer during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1930s and ’40s and danced with legends like Frank Sinatra. She appeared in movies, commercials and shows but never saw herself on film.

TIME reports Mark Cantor of Jazz Film and David Shuff helped dig up three videos that Barker appeared in. They brought the videos to Barker’s nursing home and shared them with her for the first time.

From YouTube:

Alice Barker was a chorus line dancer during the Harlem Renaissance of the the 1930s and 40s. She danced at clubs such as The Apollo, Cotton Club, and Zanzibar Club, with legends including Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson.

Although she danced in numerous movies, commercials and TV shows, she had never seen any of them, and all of her photographs and memorabilia have been lost over the years.

With the help of Mark Cantor of we finally our hands on three “Soundies” Alice appeared in, and were able to show them to her for the very first time. She had never seen herself in motion in her life!

If you’d like to send Alice fan mail we would love to see her get the adoration she deserves after so many years! (We’ll do our best to read some of your comments to her as well.):

Alice Barker
c/o Bishop Henry B. Hucles Episcopal Nursing Home
835 Herkimer Street
Brooklyn, NY11233

For more info about the dancers of the Harlem Renaissance, we recommend the lovely documentary “Been Rich All My Life” —several of the women in the film danced with Alice back in the day!

To clarify: We are just friends of Alice who made this video. I’m a volunteer who visits the home with my dog for pet therapy, and have known Alice for 8 years. The woman in the video is the recreation director at the home. This was filmed as an afterthought, and we’re so thrilled that it’s brought so much joy to everyone and attention to Alice, who is loving it! Thank you all!

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