Gail Hewton conducts her class.
Gail Hewton conducts her class. Barry Alsop

Noosa dance instructor's 'happy pill' for elderly

NOOSA dance instructor Gail Hewton loves what she does. "If I don't dance, I get depressed. It's my happy pill."

Gail is a specialist in teaching therapeutic jazz, ballroom, ballet, Latin and musical theatre dance routines to students in their 60s, 70s and 80s.

"If you are not moving as well as you used to due to aging, have balance issues, reduced joint mobility, muscle strength and flexibility or conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, Parkinson's, MS, stroke etc, come and join us to see just what is possible," she says.

Gail, 57, holds mobility dance classes weekly at Tewantin and Noosaville. She has a degree in dance and is regularly called on to train teachers.

At the end of this month she is off to Hobart to hold workshops for instructors sponsored by the Tasmanian Government and then in early October she will be in Canberra conducting advanced training for dance teachers who deal with Parkinson's disease.

When Seniors arrived at the Noosaville class to hear more about Gail's dance therapy, a dozen high steppers were grooving, complete with umbrellas, to Gene Kelly's Singing in the Rain.

"We use a lot of props, umbrellas, hats, scarves. They're good for both brain and body exercise and help create enthusiasm and laughter. People feel uplifted with the joy of dance and they have a good time," Gail said.t

One of the dancers was 85-year-old Meredith Howard, of Tewantin, who said her mother had been a dance teacher and "I tell people I could dance before I could walk."

She has been dancing in Gail's class for four years and also attends yoga twice a week, body sculpture and mobility classes. "Saturday is my free day and on Sunday I go to church and thank the Lord for keeping me fit."

I asked if I could take a photograph of her with Gail. "Of course," she said. "Would you like to see me do the splits?" And with all the grace of a 13-year-old cheerleader she did.

To register for Gail's dance classes contact Gail on 0411 720 391 or ripedance@gmail.com


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