GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — It’s hard to deny that the nearly 100-year-old woman has moves.
In the video, she swivels her hips to a cover of Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” sliding her feet forward and backward across the floor. She kicks her feet out and glides sideways, whirling her arm as she goes. Then she ends the whole thing with a flourish, shaking a finger in the air.
But the dancing wasn’t what caught Jessica Stoppkotte's eye when she saw the video on her Facebook feed. Instead, Stoppkotte, the social services assistant at Tiffany Square Care Center, recognized a familiar face.
“That’s Lorraine,” she thought.
Lorraine Ocampo lives at Tiffany Square and is a lifetime resident of Grand Island. The centenarian recently became an Internet sensation when a video of her dancing was shared on Facebook. It has received more than 2.6 million views, more than 72,000 shares and more than 20,000 likes.
But to Ocampo, the dancing is not such a big deal. It’s just something she loves.
“I just got up and danced,” she said of the moment.
The video was originally taken of the 99-year-old Ocampo during a performance by entertainer Charlie Glasgow, and it was posted to his YouTube channel in June 2014.
When the Coffee and a Stroller Facebook page shared the video on Dec. 13, however, it spread quickly. Soon, staff members were talking about it, Stoppkotte said.
“That stuff circulates fast,” she said.
Ocampo herself found out about the video when a staff member showed it to her, and she had only one word for reaction her dancing was getting — “crazy.”
“It’s only because I’m 100 years old,” she said.
But the moves Ocampo shows off in the video are not her first. She has been dancing all her life.
Her parents were great dancers, she said, and her seven brothers and four sisters loved it, too. “Our whole family loved to dance."
Ocampo’s father was a firefighter, she said, and when they would have fireman’s dances, he and her mother would dance so much he could wring his shirt out at the end of the night.
Over the years, she said, she remembers dancing at the Saddle Club and in a few recitals at the Capitol Theatre. She also danced with her husband, Rudy, before he passed away, she said, but “he wasn’t as good as me.”
She remembers dancing out on a pavilion that was built on the water at Pier Park, and she remembers going to the Glovera Ballroom to dance to a young Lawrence Welk.
“Every time he came to Grand Island, I was there,” she said.
Ocampo never danced professionally, but she loves all styles. “You just name it,” she said. Rumba, samba and waltzes are among the favorites.
And she only stopped when she had to.
Five years ago, she said, she broke her hip. She had to have surgery, and she moved into Tiffany Square. But even as she recovered, she was moving her feet to the music in her wheelchair.
“When you enjoy doing something, nothing keeps you too far from it,” she said.
She recovered, and she continues to dazzle those at Tiffany Square.
Kevin Vogt, the director of nursing at the care center, is Ocampo’s frequent dance partner. On the floor, he said, she’s “smooth” and a very good dancer.
“She’s always got a smile,” he said.
Stoppkotte agreed, saying Ocampo hasn’t lost a step. “She’s dressed to a T every day,” she said.
Ocampo, however, said she’s got no real secret to living to — and still dancing at — 100. She just keeps moving.
“I love people,” she said. “I’m always around people.”
And of course, she plans to keep it up. She turns 101 on May 13.
“I just love to do it, I guess,” she said.