“Alice Barker was a chorus line dancer during the Harlem Renaissance of 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 Alice danced in many movies, commercials and TV shows (far too many for her to remember), she has never seen any of them. In fact, she has never seen herself on film in motion before… ever!
“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 get carried away in it.”
With the help of archivist Mark Cantor, a well-known authority on the subject of music on film and founder of the site Jazz on Film: Celluloid Improvisations, the video makers, who are friends of Alice’s, were able to find three “Soundies” Alice appeared in, and presented them to her for the very first time.
When asked by the team how it was to finally see her younger self dancing and performing on film, Alice replied, “Making me wish I could get out of this bed and do it all over again!”
The makers of the video added the following message on their YouTube channel:
If you’d like to send Alice fan mail we would love to see her get the adoration she deserves after so many years.
c/o Bishop Henry B. Hucles Episcopal Nursing Home
835 Herkimer Street
Brooklyn, NY 11233