“I have to dance! It’s my happy pill…it keeps me physically mobile, works my brain and feeds my soul.  I was born to dance and teaching dance is what I do best…I love it.”          Gail Hewton

About RIPE Dance

RIPE Dance was established in 2012 by Gail Hewton to share the joy and benefits of dance and focus on offering dance to cater for mature and older bodies. Read more...

RIPE Dance offers weekly classes for active & agile and active & less agile over 60s; older people living independently with mobility issues; and aged care residents.

From time to time RIPE Dance facilitates performance opportunities for both RIPE participants as well as general community members such as Noosa’s Biggest Seated Dance Class in 2016 and 2017and Noosa’s One Billion Rising 2015, 2014, 2013

About Gail’s dance career

Gail has over 40 year’s professional experience as a dancer, choreographer, director, creative producer, community practitioner and educator within a broad context including substantial work in and with community.

Gail’s current focus is working with Seniors. She established RIPE Dance in 2012 and leads weekly classes for active and agile over 50s; active over 60s; people living independently with mobility issues; and residents of an aged care facility.

Gail brings a great depth of knowledge, skills and experience to specialise in her current area of practice. She has:

  • drawn on her extensive experience as a teacher and educator – 40 years in various contexts including community, universities, primary and high schools, professional dance companies; teacher training and professional development
  • undertaken substantial study and desktop research re dance for older people;
  • completed various professional development re dance for older people
    • 2013 – Attended Introduction to Dance for Parkinson’s training with David Leventhal, Dance for PD™ Program Director, USA
    • 2016 – Completed Brain Science and Wellness Program course by The Neuroscience Academy
    • 2016 – Completed Understanding Dementia MOOC University of Tasmania
    • 2017 – Completed Preventing Dementia MOOC University of Tasmania
    • 2016 – Attended Mature Moves conference (dance for older people) Hobart
    • 2018 – Undertook a 6 week UK study tour (assisted by Arts Queensland funding) to investigate dance for older people in various contexts and settings
      • she met and dialogued with over 20 leading dance colleagues from 13 key organisations and observed over 25 classes and sessions focused on dance for: falls prevention; acquired brain injury or stroke; Dementia; Parkinson’s; men only; dance in hospital settings.
      • Attended Mattering: an introduction to the Relational Approach – 1 day workshop presented by Flourishing Lives, a London-wide coalition of organisations taking a creative, relational approach to supporting richer, more independent lives for older people; facilitated by Lucien-Paul Stanfield, David McDonagh, & Rebecca Kirkpatrick.
      • Attended Between You and Me: working with dance one on one in health care settings – 2 day workshop presented by Cheshire Dance, facilitated by Miranda Tufnell and Filipa Pereira-Stubbs.
      • Attended 10th International People Dancing Summer School including:
        • Developing Your Somatic Practice 1/2 day workshop lead by Lauren Potts
        • Improving Your Teaching Skills for Community Dance Practice 1 day workshop with Geraldine Hurl
        • Introduction to Dance with Older People 1 day workshop with Diane Amans
        • Dance and Dementia 1 day with Diane Amans
    • 2019 – Completed Care Home Training in Dancewise30 Program by Dance Health Alliance, Australia
  • responded to her own ageing body to inform and develop her various programs and teaching approach and content.
  • developed and presented Leading Dance in Aged Care workshops for aged care workers
  • Gail holds current First Aid including CPR certificate
  • membership of Ausdance Queensland (35+ years) and People Dancing, the foundation for community dance UK (since 2012); Australian Association of Gerontology (since 2018)
  • awarded the Ausdance Qld Osmotherly Award in 2017 for her contribution to dance education

In early 2013 Gail was lead artist for Body Stories – a Queensland University of Technology intergenerational artist-in-residence dance project working with students from Tullawong SHS and seniors from the Noosa region. In 2016 Gail presented a workshop on teaching dance to older people with mobility issues at the international Mature Moves (un)convention in Hobart. She also co-organised and co-facilitated the first Australian Advanced Training Workshop for teachers of Dance for Parkinson’s in Canberra. For Seniors Week 2016 & 2017, Gail instigated and lead the highly successful Noosa’s Biggest Seated Dance Class for older people with mobility issues held at and supported by The J – this was attended by over 100 local older people. In 2017 Gail was invited by Queensland Performing Arts Centre to lead a Seated Dance session as part of its ‘Let’s Dance’ community program international series in conjunction with The Royal Ballet’s Brisbane season.

In December 2018, Gail invited long-time colleague, Julie Chenery to established GOLD Moves Australia to focus on progressing the field of dance for older people by creating and presenting professional development, mentoring and training opportunities while continuing their own community practice.

Gail holds a Bachelor of Arts (Dance) and a Diploma of Teaching (Secondary).

Prior to establishing RIPE Dance:

  • Gail danced with Brisbane based, Expressions Dance Company and for numerous independent projects and corporate events.
  • As one of Queensland’s dance education pioneers, Gail contributed significantly to dance curriculum development and teacher training for primary and high schools.
  • Gail taught dance extensively in a broad range of contexts including:
    • full-time high school teacher for 8 years and as a guest workshop facilitator in Queensland schools
    • workshop facilitator for Education Queensland and Ausdance Queensland leading professional development programs for primary and high school teachers
    • contemporary and jazz dance teacher at numerous private dance studios across Brisbane as well as running her own community dance classes.
    • full-time dance lecturer at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) for 2.5 years and a part-time/sessional lecturer for over 12 years – including teaching dance education to pre-service primary and high school teachers; technique for dance performance students; dance/movement to acting students; and guest lecturing on grant writing; contemporary performance; and dance for older people.
    • company and community class teacher for Expressions Dance Company
    • guest teacher at a number of summer schools in Queensland and New Zealand.

As a choreographer Gail created work for Expressions Dance Company, Ballet Theatre of Queensland, Queensland Dance School of Excellence, South Bank Parklands, Toadshow Productions and numerous corporate and community events. She also created a number of independent works as a member of The Cherry Herring (a Brisbane based collective of independent artists).

Gail’s work as a director includes:

  • Co-director 1994 World Masters Games Welcome Ceremony  involving 4000 community and professional performers
  • Co-director IDEA (International Drama Educators Assoc) Conference Opening Ceremony at QPAC  involving 400 students
  • Artistic Director – Class Moves (Ausdance schools performance) at Queensland Performing Arts Centre; Celebration of Dance concerts and Christmas Parades at South Bank Parklands

As a Creative producer/programmer Gail has worked as Program Manager at Brisbane Powerhouse; Director of the Noosa Longweekend Festival; Producer for Brisbane Festival, Riverfestival, Ausdance Queensland, South Bank Parklands and Sunshine Coast Regional Council.