Our People

Gail Hewton – Co-Director, Gold Moves Australia & Director, RIPE Dance

Gail Hewton 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 holds a BA Dance and Diploma of Teaching.

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 well-being and allow participants to experience dance in a fun, safe, welcoming and supportive environment. Gail completed the introductory training in Dance for PD® (dance for Parkinson’s) in 2013. 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 an RADF grant to assist the creation of In A Different Space, a film showcasing seniors 60-101 years dancing their stories (screened at 19 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 was the project consultant for Ausdance Victoria’s 2017-18 research project Leading and Teaching Dance to Ageing Populations.

She established GOLD Moves Australia with Julie Chenery in late 2018 to progress the field of dance for older people. Gail is now Noosa based after making the sea change from Brisbane in 2007. Read more in this 2020 article in Noosa Today Dance Your Way to Health’


  • Bachelor of Arts – Dance
  • Diploma of Teaching – Secondary

Professional Memberships

  • Ausdance Qld 1982-current
  • Sunshine Coast Creative Alliance 2009-current
  • People Dancing 2012-current
  • Dance for PD 2013-current
  • Australian Association of Gerontology 2018-current
  • Australian & New Zealand Falls Prevention Society 2020-current


  • Ausdance Qld’s Osmotherly Award 2017 for contribution to dance education
  • RIPE Dance shortlisted as finalist in Ausdance Dance Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Community Dance 2018 for its In a Different Space project
  • RIPE Dance shortlisted as finalist in Ausdance Dance Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Dance for Film or New Media 2018 or its film In a Different Space

Recent Courses Completed

  • Applied Neuroscience & Brain Health, The Neuroscience Academy 2016
  • Understanding Dementia, Uni of Tasmania 2016
  • Preventing Dementia, University of Tasmania 2017
  • Dancewise, Dance Health Alliance 2019
  • Understanding Ageing, Charles Sturt University 2020
  • First Aid including CPR – current since 2012

Professional Development re Dance for Older People

  • Dance for PD® Introductory 2-day training workshop Brisbane May 2013
  • Diane Amans, Churchill Fellowship workshop Dance for Seniors, 2014
  • Mature Moves unconvention Hobart 2016
  • Dance for Parkinson’s Advanced 2-day training workshop Canberra 2016
  • 10th International People Dancing Summer School, Leicester UK 2018 – 5 workshops:
  • Developing Your Somatic Practice (1/2 day) lead by Lauren Potts;
  • Improving Your Teaching Skills for Community Dance Practice (1 day) with Geraldine Hurl;
  • Introduction to Dance with Older People (1 day) with Diane Amans;
  • Dance and Dementia (1 day) with Diane Amans;
  • A Most Contagious Dance (1 day) with Maxine Phillips
  • Griffith University Creative Ageing Symposium Brisbane 2017
  • THRIVE Creative Ageing Forum Nambour 2017
  • Flourishing Lives’ Mattering: an introduction to the Relational Approach – 1 day workshop London UK 2018
  • Between You and Me: working with dance one on one in health care settings – 2 day workshop presented by Cheshire Dance, Chester UK 2018
  • Arts Health Queensland Network Inaugural Forum Brisbane 2018
  • Ausdance NSW’s Creative Ageing Forum Sydney 2018
  • BOLD conference Canberra 2019
  • Social Connection in Older Age Symposium Brisbane 2019
  • Healthy Ageing Summit – online conference 2020

International Study Tour

With Arts Qld funding assistance Gail undertook a 6 week study tour of the UK to investigate Dance for Older People. She met with key personnel from the following leading dance/arts organisations to dialogue and discuss their programs for older people programs: People Dancing; Flourishing Lives; Trinity Laban College; Green Candle Dance Company; Aesop; Musical Moving; Move Dance Feel; Dance Six 0; ArtCare; Dance Pavilion South West; Cheshire Dance; Royal Birmingham Ballet; Merseyside Dance Initiative; Frontline; Grand Gestures. Gail also met with and/or observed in action the following leading practitioners working in dance for older people: Fergus Early; Beth Peters; Daphne Cushnie; Amanda Fogg; Paula Turner; Debbie Lee-Anthony; Roz Conlon; Rebecca Seymour; Dr Sophia Hulbert; Emily Jenkins; Jenny Higgins; Rachel Lines; and Jody Morgan. She also attended a number of professional development opportunities (see above). Read more about Gail’s tour on Arts Queensland’s featured Case Study report

Presentations Given

  • QUT – guest lecture Dance for Older People 2015-2018
  • Mature Moves unconvention Hobart 2016
  • THRIVE Creative Ageing Forum Nambour 2017
  • Ausdance Qld – ‘Travel & Training’ Brisbane 2018
  • Arts Health Network Queensland forum ‘Connect, Create & Collaborate’ in Brisbane 2018
  • University of Limerick, Ireland – via skype to a facilitated forum on Dance & Health 2018
  • The Old Ambulance Station Nambour 2018 – 2 events: one in the AM for seniors, film in full + brief talk + getting them dancing; the other in the evening for arts/arts & health/general public, film in full + talk and discussion
  • Ausdance NSW Creative Ageing Forum Sydney 2018
  • Woodford Folk Festival Speakers Program – December 2018
  • Arts Ablaze Regional Arts Conference 2019

Julie Chenery – Co-Director, Gold Moves Australia & Director, Life Moves Counselling

Julie Chenery is an educator, dance artist, counsellor and community development worker. Her dance journey began learning ballet in Townsville from Shirley Treacy and Neil Walker and, later, Ann Roberts, achieving her Advanced in the RAD syllabus. She was also an inaugural member of the North Qld Ballet and Dance Society continuing to perform whilst completing her science degree at James Cook University.

After teaching science 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 coordinating 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.

As a Project Officer with the Qld Performing Arts Trust, Julie produced the D’Arts Outreach program, in which people with disabilities living in regional Qld experienced workshops in a combination of 2 art forms, and local facilitators attended training with the leading artists. Julie then created the Statewide Program, in which live theatre was video recorded and presented in an interactive format via a satellite network to students as remote as New Guinea, far western Qld and northern NSW.

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 artists, studios and community dance groups.

Julie then co-produced the 2nd National Community Dance Forum for Ausdance in late 2002. She produced ‘Multi Arts, Multi Skills’ for Youth Arts Qld and ‘Shared Gift Dance’ with 10 community dance groups (with participants ranging form 4 to 94 years old!) for the opening of the 2003 Rotary International Convention. With Scotia Monkivitch, as Helicon CPR, she co-produced the award-winning REMIX program with people experiencing mental health issues; and dance for people from supported housing for Micah and Seniors Cloudland Reminiscence.

Julie taught at an EREA flexible learning centre for young people 15-25 yrs old (2005-2019) using trauma-informed practice in a community development framework. She now teaches dance to active and agile older adults at her local gym and offers professional supervision to people working with young people on the margins as well as working in Gold Moves Australia.


  • 2006 Ausdance Educators Qld Osmotherly Award for contribution to dance education in Queensland
  • 2008 Qld Mental Health Week Achievement Award to Helicon CPR for contribution to mental health via the REMIX multi-arts program

Professional Development

  • Diane Amans, Churchill Fellowship workshop Dance for Seniors, 2014

  • Mature Movers Unconvention, Hobart 2016

  • Understanding Dementia, University of Tasmania, 2017

  • Arts Health Queensland Network Inaugural Forum Brisbane 2018

  • Indigenous Cultural Awareness, 3 Day Immersion SE Qld 2018

  • Generation Next, 2017, 2019, 2020

  • Ausdance Qld Convergence – Inclusivity in Dance, 2019
  • 2019 Asia Pacific Rim Confederation of Counsellors Conference

  • Arts Ablaze Regional Arts Conference, 2019

  • Suicide Prevention Summit, Mental Health Academy, 2020

  • Preventing Dementia, University of Tasmania, 2020

  • Senior First Aid current since 2005


  • Bachelor of Science JCU 1974
  • Diploma of Education UQ 1974
  • Cert IV Career Counselling
  • Cert IV Trainer & Assessor
  • Master of Counselling QUT 2013