Our Associates & Advisors

To ensure we remain abreast of current research and information regarding older people, health aligned matters and dance for older people we establish relationships with Associates and Advisors (other experts and specialists) to consult and collaborate with to inform our work.

Jessica Conneely

Jessica is a Lake Macquarie based community dance practitioner and educator who works across the Arts and Health sectors in New South Wales. Jess began her dance training in Newcastle and at the age of 16 years she received an international Dance scholarship to continue her studies in France. She performed for several years in Europe and received ongoing coaching from many leading company directors and choreographers. Upon her return to Australia, Jess continued performing professionally, while completing a Bachelor of Arts in Dance (Dist.). In recent years, Jess moved into the tertiary sector teaching and training Bachelor and Diploma students. In 2015, Jess wrote the foundation levels of contemporary dance for the Australian Dance Institute’s ADV syllabus and in 2016 completed The Arts and Dementia care course from University of Tasmania. After becoming lead dance artist with the Arts Health Institute (AHI), Jess received the AHI’s 2016 Trail Blazer Award for Dance.

Jess established Dance 4 Wellbeing in 2016 in Lake Macquarie and continues to build innovative programs to cater for the needs of an ageing population. In addition to the Dance for Parkinson’s program, Jess has provided movement programs in Aged Care (for people with and without dementia) and in community such as a successful pilot program for Over 55s. In 2017, Jess piloted the Newcastle Dance for Parkinson’s program then opened the first regular classes in the Hunter Region. Jess is a recent recipient of a Create NSW Innovating Dance Practice grant and traveled to Europe in July 2018 to further her research and study best practice. In 2019 she was nominated in the Regional Achievement & Community Awards for Connecting Communities and Aged Care. In 2020, Jess received a second government project grant to travel to New York to investigate international best practice in enriching the memory support programs for people living with dementia that Dance4Wellbeing offers in Newcastle and Sydney as well as shaping accredited training for the future for arts and health professionals. Jessica is presently delivering innovative skill set courses in Incorporating Movement into a Health or Care Setting at TAFE NSW as well as presenting at Hunter New England Regional Health In-service for Health professionals, symposiums and forums.

‘Recent scientific research has highlighted the fact that dance provides excellent results as we get older, by offering a mind and body workout in a socially stimulating and joyful way. After working in the Arts and Education sectors for many years, Dance 4 Wellbeing is perfectly placed to support people combat the sedentary lifestyle that many experience as they age.’ Jessica Conneely

Bronwyn Claassen

Bronwyn completed a Bachelor of Physiotherapy at La Trobe University in 1995 building on her Bachelor of Arts – Dance, 1988 through BCAE (now QUT). Her dance background always influenced her physiotherapy choices, both on a career level and with individual patient treatments. She has worked extensively in the performing arts as a company physiotherapist with the Cirque du Soleil shows Quidam, Saltimbanco and Corteo, and musicals including CATS, King Kong Live on Stage and The Book of Mormon.

Bronwyn grew up in Caloundra and after a life and career full of travel, she returned to the Sunshine Coast where she works in local practices whilst still being able to maintain her availability for major shows at Queensland Performing Arts Complex in Brisbane. Working more in private practice over recent years has broadened her patient population to a more ‘normal’ cross section of the community, as opposed to being mainly professional performance artists in her earlier career. She has a big basket of physiotherapy skills including muscle energy techniques, Connect Therapy©, sports physiotherapy, vocal physiotherapy, dry needling and Clinical Pilates.

Bronwyn offers this interesting observation – that everybody is a body and all bodies have similar physiological responses to pain or injury. Better awareness of how to use one’s own body is key to helping that body be the best it can be. Every person has a physical and emotional history of their own and it is different to every other body. She is dedicated to helping each patient move better, understand their own body and manage injuries, movement dysfunctions, aches and pains to achieve the best outcome possible.

Being involved with Gail Hewton and Julie Chenery at Gold Moves Australia is a rewarding and challenging marriage of a lifetime of experience and skills. We know that exercise is one of the most important aspects to treat many conditions associated with the ageing process. We also know that social connections whilst exercising to music provides excellent health benefits both physically and emotionally. Nothing embodies exercise to music better than dance.