Leading Dance for Older People

Upcoming CPD workshops:

3 & 4 October 2020  A 2 day Continuing Professional Development (CPD) presented by Gold Moves Australia (Gail Hewton & Julie Chenery) to introduce teachers and practitioners to leading dance for older people for health & wellbeing with a workshop to taste a range of contexts and settings followed by a workshop to focus more specifically on dance for those with mobility issues.

Older people are a diverse group, with different ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, life experiences, lifestyles and levels of physical ability. Many may have physical challenges or restrictions due to any number of reasons such as sedentary lifestyles, injuries; illness; or specific conditions.  Depression and loneliness can also impact a person’s mobility. Dance offers many benefits which can positively impact the health and wellbeing of this population.

Day 1 Introduction to Health & Wellbeing for Older People through Dance – In  this workshop you will:

  • Gain basic background information about the field and older people
  • Explore a range of contexts and settings of dance for and with older people such as working in community with active & agile seniors or active & less agile seniors or older people with mobility issues; people with dementia; or working in aged care and other care settings
  • View some video examples
  • Experience a demonstration of dance content
  • Brainstorm your potential participants
  • Discuss how you might tailor your dance genre/style to suit older participants
  • Start with some requisite pre-workshop reading
  • End with take home resources and useful links

PLEASE NOTE: There is some required workshop preparation activities which will be sent when you register.

Day 2 Leading Dance for Older People with Mobility Issues – Building on Day 1, in  this workshop you will:

  • Briefly discuss the positive impact of dance for this population
  • Examine implications of ageing and mobility issues for leading dance safely and effectively
  • Experience a demonstration class based on the approach & principles developed by RIPE Dance (ripedance.com.au)
  • Consider class structure; content & ideas; managing different levels of ability/mobility; focus on falls prevention and social connectedness
  • Explore devising dance material for class content to serve specific scenarios and purpose.

PLEASE NOTE: You must attend the introductory workshop before participating in this Day 2 workshop as foundational knowledge is required.


  • WHEN: 9am-5pm Saturday 3 & Sunday 4 October2020
  • WHERE: Millwell Road Community Centre, 11 Millwell Rd, Maroochydore (parking on-site and street)
  • COST:   2 days $450 or $427.50 for Ausdance members                                                 Day 1 only ie the Saturday workshop $300 or $285 for Ausdance members         Day 2 only ie the Sunday workshop $170 or $161.50 for Ausdance members – NB only those who have participated in a previous GMA Introduction to Leading Dance for Older People workshop can register for Day 2 only                                                (NOTE Ausdance Qld membership is currently FREE)
  • REGISTRATION REQUIRED BY: 5pm Wednesday 23 September to allow time for pre-workshop learning
  • CATERING: BYO lunch, water bottle and/or keep cup. Morning & afternoon tea provided.
  • MORE INFO: Gail Hewton 0411 720 391 gma.gailhewton@gmail.com or Julie Chenery 0408 779 373 gma.juliechenery@gmail.com
  • A minimum of 10 registered participants is required for the workshops to go ahead

Download the flyer – GMA SC flyer

BOOK NOW! for the 2 Day CPD (including Day 1 only)

If you have participated in one of GMA’s previous Introduction to Leading Dance for Older People for Health & Wellbeing workshops you are able to register for Day 2 only.

BOOK NOW! for the Day 2 only

Testimonial – Comments from participants who did the Introductory Taster workshop in July & Oct 2019

  • I can’t thank you enough for the amazing workshop last Tuesday. It was truly inspiring. Thank you for sharing all of your knowledge, experience and personal stories with us. I feel like I’ve found my calling!! This just feels like the right direction for me to take and the right timing as well. I’m really excited of the potential prospects that lie ahead for me and others to work in the area of Dance of Older Generations. It’s like all of my prior learning and experience is coming together for an exciting new pathway into the future. I feel very fortunate to have you with us.
  • Thank you so so much for an incredible day. I absolutely loved it and really appreciated all the work you and Julie put into the presentation and practicals. I took that many notes, my brain is going 100 miles an hour at present!!!! I want to implement something in Term 3

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 12 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 gma.gailhewton@gmail.com or Julie Chenery 0408 779 373 or gma.juliechenery@gmail.com