Leading Dance in aged care

Leading Dance for People in Aged Care Workshops

Let’s spread the joy and many benefits of dance for older people.  Dancing is exercise in disguise!  It’s such a joyous activity whether seated, standing with assistance or independently, there’s nothing like dancing to wonderful music to get people smiling, to their mood lift, and moving and feeling better.

…classes have been an unequivocal success with an unwavering following and the best individual participation rate that I have experienced in my seven years at Carramar.  … this is a great way to add some meaningful improvement to our seniors’ day.  Craig Barnes, Diversional Therapist, Carramar, Tewantin

Leading Dance for People in Aged Care – an introductory workshop

Led by Gail Hewton (see bio below), this is a one-day introductory workshop for aged care activity leaders, diversional therapists, carers as well as dance and health practitioners who want to gain knowledge, skills and confidence in leading dance activities for older people in aged care.  NO DANCE EXPERIENCE NECESSARY.

The workshop will include starting a toolkit & cover:

  • practical ideas for dance with older people including those who have mobility issues, are frail and/or those living with dementia – seated, standing and locomotor dance activities and the use of music, imagery and props
  • an overview of the ageing process and implications for a dance session
  • features of a safe, effective, enjoyable and quality dance session – including using a relational/person-focused approach; duty of care and risk assessment; designing and delivering a dance session; and creating appropriate dance movement; use of appropriate music
  • the benefits dance offers this demographic – including personal anecdotes and references to supporting research
  • useful resources and links.

WHEN:         9am-5pm Saturday 20 May 2017

WHERE:       Masonic Hall, Moorindil St, Tewantin

COST:            early bird pay by 1 May 2017 $165; after 1 May $180

morning & afternoon tea provided – BYO lunch

 TO REGISTER or MORE INFO:     Gail Hewton 0411 720 391 or ripedance@gmail.com

Continued Development & Enrichment following the introductory workshop

Upon completing the introductory workshop, participants can then build on this experience via follow-up mentoring and skills development workshops and other workshop modules or through one-on-one in-situ observation and feedback.  This scaffolds participants’ learnings and progress and provides support and assistance in delivering dance programs especially for those who feel a little daunted about initiating dance activities with older people.  It also allows participants time to try out new learnings, ideas and activities and seek feedback.

Mentoring & Skills Development Workshops – leading dance for people in aged care

These three 3-hour workshops have a two-fold aim:

  • Mentoring – to allow participants the opportunity to share, discuss and receive feedback on successes and challenges from dance activities they have implemented in their own aged care context.
  • Development – to expand participants’ toolkit of knowledge, skills and ideas for leading successful dance sessions. Each workshop will cover new material on a different topic in response to workshop participant feedback, needs and requests. Topics may include: modifying/adapting movement or dance sequences to meet the needs and abilities of your residents; more ideas for use of props; the music-dance relationship; dance composition skills and tools; etc.

 WHEN:         Sat 17 June 10am-1pm (Location tbc)

Sat 22 July (Date & Location tbc)

Sat 2 Sept (Date & Location tbc)

COST:            $75 per 3 hr workshop or $120 for 2 workshops or $150 for all 3 workshops

In-situ Observation & Feedback Sessions

Gail can also visit workshop participants leading dance sessions at their aged care facility to observe and provide one-on-one feedback and advice appropriate to the needs of both the dance leader and the residents.

In-Situ costs and times will need to be negotiated.


 Gail Hewton has been delivering her classes at Carramar since 2013.  Gail brings a special blend of professionalism, enthusiasm and demonstrates a keen attention to detail.  Her classes have been an unequivocal success with an unwavering following and the best individual participation rate that I have experienced in my seven years at Carramar.  Her classes have been perfectly safe and appropriate to the needs of those attending.  The benefits to residents are documented in research for this method of therapy but a quality that supersedes that is feeling of joy left in the individuals who participate, this is a great way to add some meaningful improvement to our seniors’ day.  Craig Barnes, Diversional Therapist, Carramar, Tewantin

 As an occupational therapist, I would highly recommend Gail’s dance therapy 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

About Gail Hewton

Gail is a passionate and highly experienced Dance Educator and Artist with almost 40 years professional experience as a dancer, choreographer, educator and producer.  She was one of the early pioneers of dance education in Queensland primary and high schools and tertiary institutions contributing significantly to curriculum development. Gail has extensive experience in teacher training and development. She was a lecturer in dance education at QUT and University of Qld and has facilitated numerous professional development workshops for Education Qld and Ausdance across the state.  Over the last 5 years Gail has shifted her focus from dance for young/er people to dance for older people – she successfully teaches classes for active over 50s, leads dance sessions in aged care for residents with and without dementia, and classes for people living independently with mobility issues from ageing or conditions such as Parkinson’s, MS, Stroke, etc.  In 2016 Gail co-facilitated the first national Advanced Teaching Training weekend workshop for teachers of dance for Parkinson’s and presented a workshop on dance for older people with mobility issues at the international Mature Moves (un)convention in Hobart. Gail holds a Diploma of Teaching (Secondary) and a Bachelor of Arts (Dance), she continues to guest lecture at QUT and is currently developing professional development workshop programs for health, care and dance practitioners interested in working in this field.


Gail Hewton, Director, RIPE Dance – 0411 720 391 or ripedance@gmail.com