102-Year-Old Former Cotton Club Dancer Finally Sees Her Performance Videos

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(Photo: David Shuff/Tenfresh via Youtube)

102-Year-Old Former Cotton Club Dancer Finally Sees Her Performance Videos

A young filmmaker helps Alice Barker relive her glory days.

Published April 22, 2015

As a former Apollo and Cotton Club dancer, Alice Barker used to perform with icons like Frank Sinatra and Grace Kelly.

However, the 102-year-old woman had never seen a video of her performances, despite having been filmed in movie commercials and television shows, the Grio reports. But thanks to a chance encounter with a young film director, Barker is able to relive her glory days.

David Shuff has been visiting Barker's Brooklyn-based nursing home for several years with his therapy dog. When he finally discovered footage of Barker performing after a three-year search, he teamed up with the nursing home’s recreational director, Gail Campbell, and the Celluloid Improvisations Music Film Archive's Mark Cantor to show the former line dancer her younger self.

"Making me wish that I could get out of this bed and do it all over again," Barker told the Washington Post when asked how she felt while watching the video on an iPad.

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

The moment was caught on a cellphone and shared online, causing Barker's story to go viral. Shuff is encouraging all of her admirers to consider sending her "fan mail" to the Bishop Henry B. Hucles Episcopal Nursing Home, the Washington Post reports.

"What’s awesome is that she definitely found this whole thing super invigorating," Shuff said. "She loved seeing them and seeing herself in them."

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(Photo: David Shuff/Tenfresh via Youtube)

Written by Patrice Peck


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