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25 February 2024

What's secret to dancing at 106? [video]

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet 106-year-old Virginia McLaurin during a photo line in the Blue Room of the White House prior to a reception celebrating African American History Month, Feb. 18, 2016. (Official White House)


Virginia McLaurin, 106, has lived to see 18 US presidents, but the African-American centenarian fulfilled her dream of a lifetime by meeting Barack Obama - a touching encounter that quickly went viral.

Video posted by the White House shows a spry McLaurin waving her cane and breaking into a jig as she is introduced to the president and First Lady Michelle Obama during a visit to the White House.

In the footage, released late Sunday, McLaurin greets the first couple with a boisterous "hi!" and her arms outstretched as her name is announced by White House greeters.

"Slow down, now!" Obama tells the diminutive McLaurin as she bustles over to give the first lady an embrace.

"She's 106!" the president exclaims.

"No, you are not!" Michelle Obama says in disbelief, clasping McLaurin's hand. "I want to be like you when I grow up."

"You can," McLaurin cheerfully replies.

At one point in the meeting, all three hold hands as they join in her exuberant celebration dance.

"What's the secret to still dancing at 106?" Obama asks her, as McLaurin giggles with delight.

The trio pose for a picture -- the statuesque Michelle Obama bending her knees slightly to fit into the frame with tiny McLaurin, who barely reached chest-high on the high-heel-clad first lady.

Despite all the presidents McLaurin -- who lives in Washington -- has seen occupy the White House, Obama was the one she wanted fervently to meet.

The meeting was especially meaningful for her this month of February, when the nation takes note of African American history and achievements.

"I thought I would never live to get into the White House, and I tell you, I am so happy," she exults.

"A black president, and a black wife," a beaming McLaurin said.

"And I'm here for Black History Month," she added, beaming.