Senator Rosalyn R Dance is a resident of Petersburg, Virginia. In 1961, she graduated with honors from John Tyler (Brightpoint) Community College with an Associate Degree in Nursing. In 1986, she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Virginia State University graduating Suma Cum Laude and her Master’s Degree in Public Administration in 1994 from Virginia Commonwealth University. In December 2015, Rosalyn received an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Virginia State University.
She began her professional career working at the Southside Virginia Training Center (SVTC). While working there she rose from her entry position of Psychiatric Nurse’s Aide to its highest position of Interim Facility Director and retired from SVTC after 34 years of service in 2000.
In 1992, Mrs. Dance was elected to the Petersburg City Council. Immediately upon being sworn in as a member of the Petersburg City Council she was appointed to represent the City of Petersburg as its second female Mayor. In this capacity, she was able to facilitate numerous economic opportunities for Petersburg and played an instrumental role in the creation of the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School which opened in Petersburg in September 1999. She was appointed to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and selected by both Governor Allen and Governor Gilmore to represent Virginia as one of its Economic Ambassadors charged with bringing businesses to Virginia.
In April 2005, she made history when she was elected to the Virginia General Assembly as the House of Delegates representative for the 63rd District. She became the first female ever to hold this position from the City of Petersburg and served until 2014. She served on the following committees: Appropriations, General Laws, Privileges and Elections and the Redistricting subcommittee.
Senator Dance made history again when she became the first African American female Senator from Petersburg winning the election for the 16th Senatorial District. Senator Dance was officially sworn in on November 24th, 2014 and served until 2020. She served on the following Senate Committees: Finance, Commerce & Labor, Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources and Privileges and Elections and the Subcommittee on Redistricting. In this capacity, she was summoned to testify in court on two occasions related to the Federal Voting Rights Act.
Mrs. Dance has served on numerous government-related boards and has served in the following capacities: Chairwoman of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Commission, Chairwoman of the Brown vs. Board of Education Commission, and Chairwoman of the Joint Commission on Health Care (JCHC).
Senator Dance served on numerous community related boards and commissions. She is currently a member of: Gillfield Baptist Church in Petersburg, the Petersburg Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and The Petersburg Links.
Mrs. Dance was married to the late, Nathaniel “Nat” Dance, Jr. for 57 years and they have two children: Tanya (Raphael) DanceKelly, Nathaniel “Nat3” Dance III, 5 grandsons: Rico, DeVon, Jarratt, Liam, Jaden 4 great granddaughters, Denajha, Briana, Desani, Roselynn, 2 great grandsons: Cruiz and Corbin.