Lorraine Graves was born in Norfolk, Virginia and began her classical training at the Academy of the Norfolk Ballet under the direction of the late Gene Hammett. In later years she was awarded full scholarships to the School of American Ballet and the American Ballet Center. Upon graduation from high school, she attended Indiana University at Bloomington completing a four year program in three years earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ballet with Distinction.
Ms. Graves began her professional career with the Dance Theatre of Harlem rising to the rank of Principal Dancer within one year and three years later, became Ballet Mistress in addition to her duties as a dancer.
Ms. Graves’ performance credits with DTH included Giselle, Firebird, Footprints Dressed in Red, The River, Toccata E Due Canzoni, Etosha, Serenade, The Four Temperaments, Agon, Allegro Brillante, and the role of the Siren in George Balanchine’s The Prodigal Son. She also had leading roles in Frederic Franklin’s stagings of Pas de Dix, Prince Igor and Scheherazade and Arthur Mitchell’s Rhythmetron, Holberg Suite and Fete Noire.
Television credits include the role of Myrta in NBC’s airing of Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Creole Giselle; the Princess of Unreal Beauty in the PBS production of John Taras’ The Firebird; and the closing ceremonies of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California.
Ms. Graves’ guest appearances include performances with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic’s Young People’s Concert Series, The Norfolk Civic Ballet, The River City Ballet, The Northwest Florida Ballet, and with the Virginia Ballet Theatre at the 1996 International Azalea Festival and Dance Theatre of Harlem’s 30th Anniversary Celebration at New York’s City Center.
Ms. Graves has extensive teaching experience including, the North Carolina School of the Arts, The Governor’s School for the Arts in Virginia, The Virginia School of the Arts in Lynchburg, VA., The Cornish Institute in Seattle, WA., the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute, the South Carolina Governor’s School of the Arts, DTH’s Kennedy Residency Program (now the Pre-Professional Program), the Virginia Ballet Theatre, the Flint Institute of Music, and the Southeastern Regional Ballet Association (SERBA).
Ms. Graves is permanent guest faculty for the Virginia School of the Arts, and is on the Master Teacher faculty at Dance Theatre of Harlem. She is an invited guest teacher for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and is also lead adjudicator for the West Virginia Dance Festival.
Ms. Graves returned to her hometown where she is currently on the faculty of the Governor’s School of the Arts. She is also the Chairman of the Norfolk Commission on the Arts and Humanities, a member of the Mayor’s Downtown Task Force, a member of the Links, Inc., a member of the Todd Rosenlieb Dance Company Board and is Secretary/Treasurer of her family’s business, Graves Funeral Home.
Ms. Graves is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Entertainment, Who’s Who Among Women, and Marquis’ Who’s Who.