Leading Dance for Older People

There is an increasing need for more dance practitioners and teachers to meet the demands of the growing ‘dance for older people’ field.

SAVE THE DATE: 2 July 2019 for…

‘Introduction to Leading Dance for Older People for Health and Wellbeing’ workshop presented by GOLD Moves Australia (Gail Hewton & Julie Chenery).

This 1-day taster and introductory workshop will:

  • provide some basic background information about
    • this growing field including some stats and the national and global picture
    • older people:
      • who they are
      • what happens as we age – physically, mentally, emotionally and socially
      • why dance for older people?
      • implications of ageing on dance – approaches and content
    • dance and health
  • explore a range of various settings and contexts for dance for/with older people
  • include some video examples – explain and discuss considerations
  • demonstrate some dance content for you to experience
  • include time to brainstorm who might be your potential participants
  • practically explore and discuss – how you might adapt/modify/translate your dance experience to meet the needs of older participants
  • provide an overview of future professional development modules to be offered by GOLD Moves Australia to more deeply explore specific contexts and settings
  • provide some take home reading, resources and useful links


  • WHEN: 9am-4pm Tuesday 2 July 2019
  • WHERE: Hamilton Town Hall, cnr Rossiter Pde & Racecourse Rd, Hamilton, Brisbane
  • COST: $100 includes lunch, morning and afternoon tea
  • BOOK NOW: Click here to book
  • MORE INFO: Gail Hewton 0411 720 391 or Julie Chenery 0408 779 373 or ripedance@gmail.com


As an occupational therapist, I would highly recommend Gail’s dance classes to everyone! Young and old! I attended (reluctantly) with my client (an older lady in her late 80’s, with various health conditions) and we both had an absolute ball. Gail gets you moving in a highly therapeutic way but you just feel like you’re having fun! Her classes are physically, cognitively and socially stimulating. Gail has a solid functional knowledge of anatomy and the impacts of various medical conditions. Her extensive background has positioned her perfectly to not only run these classes but she is now willing to share her knowledge & train others to improve the community’s access to such a vital resource. The benefits of dance and music therapy are well documented, and to see Gail put all of this into practice showed me first hand that this should be the way of the future for any rehab and maintenance program. The participation, retention and health outcomes for clients, I believe, far outweigh many other conventional therapy approaches. Thank you Gail, I’m a huge fan!   Lacey Styles, Occupational Therapist, Sunshine Coast

Further information about Gail Hewton and Julie Chenery

Gail is a passionate Community Dance Practitioner working exclusively in dance for older people leading classes, workshops, performances, projects and dance experiences. Gail has 40 years professional dance experience including as a dancer, choreographer, educator and producer.  Gail has extensive dance teaching and leading experience including in primary and high schools, universities, professional dance companies, private dance studios and community. Gail has choreographed professional contemporary dance works for Expressions Dance Company; Ballet Theatre of Qld; The Cherry Herring and others; and community events for South Bank Parklands; John Aitken Productions; Toowoomba Hospital Mental Health; Drama Queensland; to name a few.  After several years working in high profile arts and event management including as Program Manager at Brisbane Powerhouse, Producer at RiverFestival and Brisbane Festival; and Director at Noosa Longweekend Festival; Gail returned in 2012 to teaching and leading dance, establishing RIPE Dance (because dance Really Is Possible for Everyone!) to focus on bringing the joy and many benefits of dance to older populations. She successfully works with active and agile over 55s, aged care residents with and without dementia, and people living independently with mobility challenges due to ageing issues, ill-health, surgery or particular conditions. Gail’s work is underpinned by a relational approach, and whilst it is foremost about dance it has major consideration to improve health and wellbeing and allow participants to experience dance in a fun, safe, welcoming and supportive environment.  In 2016 Gail co-programmed and co-facilitated the first national Advanced Teaching Training for teachers of dance for Parkinson’s. In 2017 Gail received Ausdance Qld’s Osmotherly Award for her contribution to dance education; an RADF grant to assist the creation of In A Different Space, a film showcasing seniors 60-101 years dancing their stories (to date screened at 14 national & international events and festivals), as well as an Arts Queensland grant to travel to the UK in 2018 to investigate dance for older people. Gail has presented at and/or attended Mature Moves unconvention (Hobart); Creative Ageing Symposium (Brisbane); Thrive Creative Ageing Forum (Nambour); People Dancing Summer School (UK); Arts Health Queensland Network Inaugural Forum (Brisbane); Ausdance NSW’s Creative Ageing Forum (Sydney); BOLD conference (Canberra); and Social Connection in Older Age Symposium (Brisbane). Gail was the project consultant for Ausdance Victoria’s 2017-18 research project Leading and Teaching Dance to Ageing Populations.   She is developing professional development and training programs for health, care and dance practitioners interested in working in this field and continues to initiate and lead dance projects, events and experiences with and for her community.  Gail holds a Bachelor of Arts (Dance) and a Diploma of Teaching (Secondary – Commerce/Maths). More recently Gail has completed online courses including Understanding Dementia and Preventing Dementia (University of Tasmania); and Applied Neuroscience and Brain Health (The Neuroscience Academy). Gail is now Noosa based after making the sea change from Brisbane 11 years ago.

Julie is an educator, dance artist, counsellor and community development worker.  After teaching at Kelvin Grove High for 5 years, she gained several years experience as a dance lecturer, performer and choreographer during studies at University of Utah Modern Dance Department; and co-ordinating and teaching contemporary dance for the Diploma of Creative Arts (BCAE); QUT; Sydney City Institute of Art; University of Queensland (Qualitative Bases for Human Movement); Blackwattle Artists Co-op, National Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development Association; Contemporary Dance Theatre; and Expressions Dance Company. She created an adult community dance group that presented several original creations.  Julie was the inaugural Executive Officer for Ausdance in Queensland from March 1992 to March 2002. During this time, her inclusive and collaborative approach created many community dance opportunities such as the ‘Make Your Move’ program of community dance classes at the Brisbane Powerhouse, ‘RiverScapes’ a promenade performance linking several community groups dancing in various sites around the City, “Trading Dance Backgrounds’ a 2001 opportunity for young high school students to share their dance cultures in a contemporary fashion. For Ausdance Qld, Julie produced the annual Dance Week celebrations which provided showcase opportunities for dance studios and community dance groups.  Julie then produced the 2nd National Community Dance Forum for Ausdance in late 2002, ‘Multi Arts, Multi Skills for YAQ, ‘Shared Gift Dance’ with 10 community dance groups for the opening of the Rotary International Convention. With Scotia Monkivitch, as Helicon Dance, she produced the award-winning REMIX program with people experiencing serious mental health issues; and dance for people from supported housing for Micah and Seniors Cloudland reminiscence.  In 2006 Julie was recognised by the Ausdance Educators Queensland, for her contribution to the development of dance education, with an Osmotherly Award. Her qualifications include a Masters of Counselling,  Cert IV Career Counselling, Cert IV Trainer and Assessor, Diploma of Education and Bachelor of Science.

MORE INFO contact:

Gail Hewton 0411 720 391 or Julie Chenery 0408 779 373 or ripedance@gmail.com