GMA has grown out of Gail’s experience specialising in dance for older people for health and wellbeing since 2012 through her private practice RIPE Dance in Noosa. Gail works across a range of settings with people of varying ability, mobility and dance experience. This includes active and agile seniors, people who are active but less agile, people with mobility challenges for all sorts of reasons, aged care residents and people with dementia. Gail has also created special events for older people to experience dance and has created and produced an acclaimed dance film featuring many of her RIPE Dance participants that has had global success – you can view the film here.
Gail has travelled nationally and internationally to research and develop her expertise in this field and has become a leader in regard to focusing on the health and wellbeing aspects of dance for older people.
Gail has almost 100 participants, who live independently, attending her classes regularly with many doing more than one class each week. They are constantly giving her feedback both through their achievements in class as well as their reports of personal improvements and impact. Gail also spent 5 years successfully leading regular dance sessions for residents of a local aged care home.
Her work has been endorsed by physiotherapists, occupational therapists and aged care staff in terms of its appropriateness and effectiveness for falls prevention, dementia, social connectedness and other associated health benefits for this population. Read the endorsements and testimonials of how participants have benefited from their RIPE Dance experience with Gail.
Having seen so many older people benefit from dance and not being able to meet all the requests to run similar dance activities for other communities, Gail saw the need for more dance practitioners. With recent research link to Ausdance Vic Report pdf also showing there are currently insufficient dance facilitators to meet the growing interest in and current demand across Australia for dance for older people, Gail invited Julie to join her in this venture.
Although Julie had been involved in dance from an early age, she began her working life as a high school science teacher in the 70’s. As an educator, she was aware of the important role that dance had played in her life and realised that the general focus of education was skewed away from the arts and physical activity unless one was skilled at competitive sport. And many students were unable to access the after-school arts options that were available. This led her back to further studies in dance inclusive of teaching diverse community groups which she then went on to do. At this time Julie also taught dance to undergraduate students in the UQ Department of Human Movement and undertook further studies in anatomy, physiology and kinetics. So it was no wonder that Julie and Gail’s paths crossed when they were both associated with dance in education, community and professional contexts. They became colleagues and friends so when Gail started specialising in dance for older people for health and well-being, there were many topics to share. Gail was noticing important differences in her approach in this field compared to the approaches of other practitioners. It was clear that one of the differences was in the attention to detail with which Gail seamlessly incorporated the elements of falls prevention exercises but there was more to it. Julie had meanwhile completed her Masters of Counselling, so during another conversation trying to name the other area encapsulating how Gail worked and connected with her participants, Julie realised “It’s ‘relational’! Read Kenneth Gergen’s, ‘Relational Being’!”. One thing led to another with the growing demand for this field, so I agreed to join Gail in the venture to make more dance available to older people for health and wellbeing. Hence, the establishment of GOLD Moves Australia in late 2018 to help meet this growing demand.