102 y/o Dancer Sees Herself on Film for the First Time

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 had been lost over the years.

After years of searching we found three "Soundies" Alice appeared in and were finally able to show them to her — 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 Brookly Gardens (formerly the Bishop Henry B. Hucles Episcopal Nursing Home)
835 Herkimer Street
Brooklyn, NY11233

All of Alice's films from this video are collected here: https://youtu.be/rpg5D0AAA2w

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!

A little more about the who's who here: "We" are friends of Alice who searched for the films and made this video. I'm David Shuff, a volunteer who visits the home with my therapy dog Katie, and have known Alice for 8 years. The woman in the video is Gail Campbell, a recreation therapist (and an amazing one at that!). She never gave up on finding Alice's films, and uncovered the first piece of the puzzle that lead to us finding them — which was Alicia Thompson; a historian of black female performers who had been looking for Alice for years (her site is http://forclassicmovieloversonly.trip... and her YouTube channel is "MusicandDancing4Ever";). She told us that Alice was in films called 'soundies'.

Using that clue I found jazz historian Mark Cantor of http://jazz-on-film.com and he was able to send us three of Alice's soundies from his collection. Shortly afterwards Alicia got us a few more films.

This video was filmed on cellphones (and almost as an afterthought!) by my friends Darin Tatum and Tom Hunt. We're so thrilled that it's brought so much joy to everyone and attention to Alice, who is loving it! Thank you all!

The first flowers have started to arrive! Thank you all!
http://i.imgur.com/eAwBm2T.jpg

Read more ›

Login to rate this video.

You can place this video on your website by inserting the (X)HTML code below:

Options:
pixels
pixels
Embed code:
<iframe src="https://www.snotr.com/embed/15246" width="400" height="330" frameborder="0"></iframe>

You can email this video to your friends by entering their addresses below:

Your information:
Recipients:

add Add another recipient

Human verification:

People who liked this video also liked

Bouncing Balls, Beautiful Patterns
Old Car vs Modern Car during Crash Test / Evolution of Car Safety
Sydney's firework display brings in 2022
? SHIPWRECKS Depth Comparison ? (3D)
? SHIPWRECKS Depth Comparison ? (3D)
Little one makes the world a better p

Comments

8 comments posted so far. Login to add a comment.

Expand all comments

Picture of Pyranthos41 achievements

+14 1. Pyranthos commented 7 years ago

Aww, that was touching. I'm glad she got the chance to see them personally and relive those memories. Also glad it didn't have a surprise tear jerker revelation at the end.
Picture of cameramaster55 achievements

+8 2. cameramaster commented 7 years ago

Lovely ! She may be a sweet little old lady now, but I bet she was a hip swivelling little devil when she was young :-)
Picture of thundersnow58 achievements

+7 3. thundersnow commented 7 years ago

What a great video, love this old lady and her dancing as a young woman to this wonderful music. Thanks, Sizz for sharing!
Picture of Johoe17 achievements

+8 4. Johoe commented 7 years ago

That is a very admirable deed. I have so much respect for the elderly, made me smile throughout the whole video.
Thank you
Picture of Judge-Jake53 achievements

+5 5. Judge-Jake commented 7 years ago

I sure hope they put all that on a dvd for her to watch over and over :)
Picture of Sizzlik64 achievements

+6 6. Sizzlik (admin) commented 7 years ago

#2 she sure was a wild one back then..as she is now =)

On second view..doesnt she look a bit like Rhianna?..same smile
Picture of nomolas26 achievements

+4 7. nomolas commented 7 years ago

Wonderful! Absolutely wonderful! :)
Picture of buckleg0858 achievements

0 8. buckleg08 commented 2 years ago

she still alive?:|