Senator Dance is a resident of Petersburg, Virginia. In 1981, she graduated from John Tyler Community College earning her Associates Degree in nursing. In 1986 she received her Bachelors’ Degree in nursing from Virginia State University and her Masters Degree in public administration in 1994 from Virginia Commonwealth University. Senator Dance has been named a distinguished alumnus of each of her alma maters.
During Senator Dance’s public service career she worked at the Southside Virginia Training Center (SVTC) for 34 years while working with SVTC. Senator Dance served as a Psychiatric Nurse’s aide, Interim Facility Director, and retired as the Assistant Director of Residential Services.
In 1992, Senator Dance was elected of Mayor of Petersburg, Virginia and retained that office for 12 years. During her tenure she initiated the citywide, “Petersburg: A City of Readers Program,” and helped reduce Petersburg’s incarcerated youth population while playing an instrumental role in securing Virginia’s first Governor’s School, the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School which opened in Petersburg in September 1999.
In April 2005, Senator Dance was elected to the Virginia General Assembly. Immediately upon taking office she helped Governor Warmer obtain millions of dollars to fund education and public safety. She secured a $500, 000 state grant to help with the Appomattox River Dredging Project with the hopes of spurring tourism and economic develop on the waterfront in Petersburg.
During 2006 -2014 sessions of the Virginia General Assembly, Senator Dance filed numerous bills and budget amendments to improve the 63rd District.
She sat on the Health, Welfare and Institutions, General Laws, and the House Appropriations Committees while serving in the House of Delegates. Senator Dance also served as Vice Chair of Operations for the House Democratic Caucus.
Senator Dance became the first African American female senator from Petersburg on November 4th when she won an election for the 16th Senatorial District. Senator Dance was officially sworn in on November 24th, 2015. She currently sits on the Senate Privileges & Elections Committee; Senate Commerce & Labor Committee; Senate Agriculture, Conversation, and Natural Resources Committee; and the Senate Local Government Committee.
Senator Dance served on numerous government-related boards. She was the Chairwoman of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Commission, served on the Federal Advisory Contingency Trust (F.A.C.T.) fund, was the Chairwoman of the Brown vs. Board of Education Commission, was a member of Virginia Housing Commission, was a member of the Virginia Bicentennial of the American War of 1812 Commission, the Maximum Employment Incentives Approval Commission (MEI) and the Virginia Commission on Intergovernmental Cooperation.
In her community, Senator Dance is a member of the Board of Directors for the United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg, Co-Chair of the Virginia State University Agriculture Council Advisory Board, a member of the SunTrust Bank Regional Advisory Board, a member of Columbia Gas of Virginia Warm-Wise Advisory Committee, a member of the John Tyler Community College Foundation Board, honorary regional chair of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, an honorary board member of The James House and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Southside area Y.M.C.A.
Senator Dance is the Vice Chair of the Petersburg Democratic Committee and member of the Third Congressional District Democratic Committee. She is a member of Chapter 33 Order of the Eastern Star of VA, PHA, the Petersburg Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., The Petersburg Links, Inc., and past President of the Petersburg Breakfast Rotary Club.
Senator Dance is married to Nathaniel “Nat” Dance, Jr, and they are the proud parents of two children: Tanya (Raphael) DanceKelly, Nathaniel “Nat3” Dance, III, and the grandparents of 4 boys: Devon, Jarratt, Lima and Jaden and foster grandparents of Rico and the great grandparents of Briana, DeSani and Denajha.