E. Gaynell Sherrod


Department of Dance + Choreography

E. Gaynell Sherrod is a professor of Dance + Choreography. A dance educator, choreographer and historian, she danced professionally with the Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO!) and Urban Bush Women, Inc. She earned a master’s degree in dance education and a Doctorate in dance pedagogy and performance from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Sherrod is a Fulbright-Hayes scholar in dance research. Her artistic and theoretical works are steeped in the dance and music of African American vernacular and the African Diaspora – mentored by acclaimed scholars Drs. Brenda Dixon-Gottschild, Kariamu Welsh and (the late) Katie G. Cannon. From 2001-2003, she was the Director of Dance Education for New York City public schools, wherein she designed and implemented professional training initiatives for dance educators, teaching artists, and classroom teachers. Most notably she co-founded and directed the New York City Department of Education Dance Institute, based on the Katherine Dunham model, for which she was awarded a DANA Foundation Grant.

Dr. Sherrod has taught at New Jersey City University and New York University. From 2004-2014, she taught at Florida A&M University, earning tenure as an Associate Professor and subsequently becoming the Interim Chair of the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. In 2014, Dr. Sherrod joined the faculty at VCUarts as Chair of the Department of Dance + Choreography, for which she served for three years. From 2019-2020, she served as the Interim Executive Director of PHILDANCO! – an organizational sustainability position funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Doris Duke Foundation.

Aside from teaching, she continues to create work in dance, mixed media and dance writing. Her work TWINE!, earned her a Sage and John Cowles Residency at University of Minnesota Dance in 2022. In 2022, Sherrod was commissioned to create the choreo-sonic (sound score) for Dawoud Bey’s film installation 350,000, part of Dawoud Bey: Elegy at the VMFA in November 2023-February 2024. Dr. Sherrod is the author of Katherine Dunham and The Dance Griots: Reading the Invisible Script (Mellen Press – September 2022).