102-Year-Old Apollo Dancer Watches Her Performance Videos For The First Time

April 22, 2015  |  

Calling elderly people national treasures is not an overstatement. Often times they have incredible wisdom to pass down and even more fascinating stories to share.

David Shuff learned this when he brought his therapy dog to a retirement home years ago. During that time, he met Alice Barker, now 102. Barker told Shuff that she used to dance at the Apollo and the Cotton Club alongside legends like Frank Sinatra, Grace Kelly and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. Shuff decided to look into the matter and see if he could find any footage of Barker dancing in her younger days.

He contacted a man named Mark Cantor who collects short musical films called “Soundies.” Cantor found that there was video of Barker but her name had been misspelled and she was identified as Alice Baker.

They found three videos of Barker and took them to her home to show her.

Barker, who is still very sharp, said the videos made her feel “just fabulous” and also made her wish she could get out of bed and perform those same routines all over again. (Looking at the video, quite a few of those moves, including one that looks exactly like “The Dougie,” would still be in style.)

She says that she feels more connected to the world now knowing her videos are online.

Barker, who, according to her mother, ran out of the house naked during bath time to dance with a band playing on the street, said that she was grateful for that time in her life.

“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 because it just felt so good doing it, because that music, you know, I just get carried away in it.”

Take a look at the amazing footage of Barker back in the day and the wonderful woman now as she watches her younger self.

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