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· Durham Dances

You've been waiting for it - the second Durham Dances shoot is here! I'm excited to feature Nicole Lawson dancing in this crazy cool urban landscape. Nicole started dancing when she was six years old and in her own words:

"Dance makes me feel "larger than life." It gives me great joy and gives me a space to experience and negotiate with my emotions. In addition, I have found that dance has the power to heal."

Scroll down for the photos and to learn more about Nicole!

Learn more about Nicole!

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Sandy Ridge, North Carolina. My hometown is so small that we don't have any traffic lights.

What type of dancing that you do?

I am a contemporary dancer. I love modern and post-modern dance.

When did you start dancing?

I started dancing when I was six at CC Dance Company in Madison, NC.

What made you keep going with dance?

Dance makes me feel "larger than life." It gives me great joy and gives me a space to experience and negotiate with my emotions. In addition, I have found that dance has the power to heal. For the last several years I have been exploring dance as a means of social activism. It started with the loss of a close friend to suicide. Since her death, dance has been a place to explore that experience and advocate for mental health acceptance and accessibility.

What are your favorite things to do when not being a marvelous dancer?

I love to cook, craft, and read. In my free time you can find me trying out a new recipe with my fiance, working on a new sewing project, or digging in to a new book that I'm obsessed with. My favorite authors of late are Malcolm Gladwell and C.S. Lewis.

Is there anything more you'd like to tell us about?

I'm also a dance "nerd." I love minute details about dance history, I'm obsessed with Laban movement analysis and the work of Irene Dowd and love conducting research on my own. Prior to graduating from Meredith College, I completed my honors thesis in dance, "Acts of Love: Increasing Empathy for People Living with Mental Illness Through Dance," a project researching the impact of praxis (a process of discussion and action developed by Paolo Freire) on the empathy that neurotypical individuals felt for people living with mental illness.

I am a dancer with Renay Aumiller Dances and the Carol Finley Dance Group. In addition, I am a choreographer working on finding avenues to present my own work.

To learn more about Nicole you can find her on:

Facebook, Nicole Lawson


LinkedIn, Nicole Lawson

And her personal website,

But wait, where was this photographed in Durham?

I'm so glad you asked!

If you are wondering about this super weird location that features the Pickle, it is right next to the Cook Out near South Square. I was driving at sunset one night and I looked over to the left and saw these really interesting geometric shapes being made by several stacks of stairs going to nowhere, along with a rubble pile and a tattered American Flag. What more could a photographer want? I was dying to shoot there, and all I needed was a dancer, so I reached out to ADF and got in touch with Nicole. The rest is history! So excited to share the next shoots with you. Stay tuned!

Please get in touch if you are interested in the project using my contact page. Thanks so much!



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