Durham Dances - Lydia McRae at Duke Chapel

Lydia McRae dancing at Duke Chapel by Zoe Litaker Photography

This full dance shoot for Durham Dances - a book all about dancers in Durham! I was super excited to photograph with Lydia who is a professional ballet dancer currently dancing with Ballet Memphis. Lydia trained in Winston-Salem and was in town to teach at Triangle Youth Ballet. I chose to do our shoot at Duke Chapel because I knew the architectural lines and late afternoon sunlight be gorgeous for the shoot. Scroll on down for more info about Lydia and for the photos!

“I dance because I love it.”
— Lydia McRae


Start at the beginning, where were you born and raised?

I was born and raised in Kernersville, NC

What's your Durham connection?

My Durham connection actually stems from my best friend Julia who is from Durham. We met at the North Carolina School of the Arts and have been friends for many years. We both moved away from NC to pursue our careers in dance but every summer we would visit home around the same time. Since Durham is easy to get to from Kernersville, I started driving over there to see her and her family. Every time I visited, they would introduce me to a new place in the area.

When did you start dancing?

I started dancing when I was eight years old in the Preparatory Program at the North Carolina School of the Arts.

What type of dancing that you do?

When I first started dancing I only took ballet classes. As I got older, I also added jazz and contemporary into the mix.

What made you keep going with dance?

I dance because I love it. There is always something to work towards and I find it so rewarding. There were a couple of times after I graduated high school that I stopped dancing and was certain I would never return. Through those times, I had to keep reminding myself to not let my bad experiences keep me from pursuing the career that I had dreamed about for so long. You have to train yourself to find the positive in every situation.

Favorite things to do when not being a marvelous dancer?

One of my favorite things to do when I'm not dancing is absolutely nothing. I tend to stay super busy so I always enjoy the rare times when I can relax both my mind and body.

Where can we find you?



Thank you so much for an amazing shoot Lydia! I can't wait to work with you again. 

Interested in the Durham Dances book? Want to shoot with me? Know a dancer? Get in touch! info@zoelitakerphotography.com