Julinda Lewis

Instructor/Adjunct Faculty

Department of Dance + Choreography

Contact Info

Julinda D. Lewis, BS, MA, MSEd, EdD


Julinda, aka MommJ or Dr. Yaya, grew up in Brooklyn, New York and studied dance with some of America’s most innovative Black Dance masters  including George Faison, Fred Benjamin, Eleo Pomare, Dianne McIntyre, Maurice Hines, Ella Thompson Moore, Loremil Machado, and Pepsi Bethel to name just a few memorable teachers. She also studied at Dance Theatre of Harlem and Clark Center for the Performing Arts.

Julinda earned a BS and MA in Dance and Dance Education from New York University, an MSEd in Early Childhood Education from Brooklyn College, and most recently completed her doctorate in Educational Leadership at Regent University. She has been writing about dance and theater for more than 30 years and is the author of a young reader’s biography, Alvin Ailey: A Life in Dance, editor of Black Choreographers Moving Towards the 21st Century which has been used as a textbook for college and university dance history classes and numerous articles and reviews. Recently published works, Dancing in the Bible and The Tabernacle Teaching, and a chapter in I Will Dance ‘til a Hundred and One! by Janine Turner are available on Amazon.com. Julinda is also licensed and ordained as a minister of dance.

Julinda taught in public schools in NYC and Richmond, VA for 30* years and is now active in the Richmond dance and theater community as a dance and theater reviewer, a blogger for RVArt Review (jdldancesrva.com), and a founding member of the Richmond Theatre Critics Circle of which she is currently president. She has enjoyed working as an Adjunct Instructor for the Department of Dance and Choreography at Virginia Commonwealth for more than 15 years, and also teaches BeMoved® and Gentle BeMoved® dance fitness classes for seniors. 

For Julinda, retired life includes performing in contemporary works MK Abadoo including the duet Locs,  Octavia’s Brood: Riding the Ox Home,  the award-winning multi-media commemorative justice work Brother General Gabriel (2019), and Hoptown (2023). During the COVID pandemic, Julinda choreographed and performed in Lamentations, a Civil War play by Royal Shiree (in partnership with Monte Jones), and had acting roles in Terms of Forbearance, a Women’s Film Festival Fringe play about three women sentenced to ten years imprisonment in a Zoom game show for non-payment of their student loans and Royal Shiree’s play, Lightning Bug, all produced by the Hamner Theater in Nelson County, VA.