ATLANTIC CITY — Nothing makes Pattie Harris happier than talking on the phone at all hours of the night to girlfriends she has known for decades scattered all over the country.

Harris’ cellphone sits in its cradle on the table next to her sofa in her “Happy Place,” which is her living room.

Harris prefers her living room to her downstairs recreation room where she taught dance. When company comes over, they hang out in the living room.

Harris, 84, was a dancer at the now-defunct Club Harlem on Kentucky Avenue in the resort. She has pictures hanging on the walls of her living room from her days as a Club Harlem dancer.

She danced on Broadway in the musicals “Hello, Dolly!” and “Purlie.” The furniture in her home was purchased in New York City.

“Club Harlem and Broadway, it’s been an interesting career,” Harris said.

Harris also founded the Atlantic City Dance Theater.

“Anybody who knows how to dance, they took my classes,” said Harris, laughing.

A Henderson, North Carolina native, Harris has been a permanent resident of the resort since about the fifth grade. She has lived in the same house on the city’s Northside for 60 years.

Many of the people who have crossed her path now live spread out all over the place. She likes to keep in touch with them over the phone.

Harris’ living room is decorated with animal-print rugs, furniture covers and pillows because they remind her of Africa, a place she has never visited.

“I had the best teachers because I studied in New York, and they were African,” Harris said about the modern and African dance classes she took.

Staff Writer

Twenty years as a staff writer in the features department, specializing in entertainment and the arts at The Press of Atlantic City.

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