This 102-Year-Old Woman Watching Herself Dance Proves the Value of Recording Our Lives

Source: YouTube
Source: YouTube

Millennials have been criticized for excessively recording every detail of their life — from what they're eating for breakfast to what socks they're wearing today — and some have even suggested the attachment to technology has interfered with their emotional development.

Whatever the arguments against our reflexive Instagraming and video recording, a video of 102-year-old Alice Barker watching an old video of herself in a Brooklyn, New York, nursing home as a chorus line dancer during the Harlem Renaissance makes it hard to deny the advantages of recording precious moments. 

Right away she recognized herself.

Source: Mic/YouTube
Source: Mic/YouTube

Barker believed the footage of her dancing in the 1930s and '40s had been lost or destroyed. But thanks to Celluloid Improvisation, an initiative to preserve and archive jazz-related material, she was able to watch herself roughly 80 years later.

Source: Mic/YouTube

Barker was asked about a rumor her nickname was "Chicken Little" during her chorus line days.

Source: Mic/YouTube

This moment was made possible when filmmaker David Shuff brought his dog to visit residents at the retirement home and Shuff and Barker established a connection. Shuff became determined to find films of her of Barker and, in collaboration with Jazz on Film's Mark Cantor, he uncovered this long-forgotten footage.

Source: Mic/YouTube
Source: Mic/YouTube

Snapchat, Whatsapp, Periscope, Vine, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook: The list of options is endless. It seems every day an app or social media platform emerges to facilitate the sharing of videos, photographs and moments in general.

The ease with which we can disseminate visual evidence of our every move has likely led to an obsession with doing so, and many would argue it impedes with such people's ability to truly experience anything when each moment is being fastidiously documented. Comedian Louis CK has gone after the topic specifically in his stand-up routine:

Source: Mic/YouTube

Tweeters haven't hesitated to share their frustration regarding this newfound custom either.

Even if there's truth to this sentiment, watching Barker see the videos of herself for the first time shows there can be real value and profundity to recording significant moments, especially ones that were once thought to be long lost and all-too-easily forgotten.

Maybe it's not so much a question of abandoning our phones all together, but more a question of finding the right balance.

Source: YouTube

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Natasha Noman

Natasha is a News Staff Writer covering global affairs. She previously reported on regional affairs from Pakistan. Natasha is based in New York and can be reached at natasha@mic.com.

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