Friends of Community Fitness offering adult ballet

GUILFORD — Friends of Community Fitness has added a ballet class for high schoolers and adults. This is a unique opportunity for dancers of all skill levels in Piscataquis County.

This course provides an introduction to classical ballet, with emphasis on Russian and American techniques. The focus will be on form, positions, and beginning choreography. Participants range from adults that once took ballet in their youth and want to freshen up the skills they have not used for many years to other dance instructors looking for personal practice and continuing education. Classes begin Saturday, Jan. 13 at 9:30 a.m. Pre-registration is required. 

Instructor Joanna Shawn Brigid O’Leary has been a pupil and teacher of classical Russian and American ballet technique since the age of 6. She studied under Nana Bandrena and Rosemary Battista at the Harrisburg Dance Conservatory as well as Marcia Dale Weary at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. As a youth and teen she  performed numerous roles in The Nutcracker at the Harrisburg Ballet and in the Ballet  of Ukraine’s traveling production. In college, O’Leary then went on to join the Harvard Ballet Company, where as a member she studied under rotating master instructors from the Boston Ballet and performed in selections from Paquita, Swan  Lake, and Don Quixote. 

Photo courtesy of Joanna Shawn Brigid O’Leary
BALLET CLASS — Instructor Joanna Shawn Brigid O’Leary will lead a ballet class at Friends of Community Fitness in Guilford starting on Saturday, Jan. 13.

Britney Gallagher, executive director of Community Fitness, said, “We are continually finding new ways to serve our community. Taking the time to talk to our members  opens doors we never imagined. Our members’ talents are amazing. Joanna joined ComFit last spring and is now on our team of professional instructors.” O’Leary has also  offered private lessons in ballet for those that may be looking to take it to a professional level or prepare for auditions.

Among the new ballet class, Community Fitness has several other new programs and  services. The Child Watch program allows parents and guardians to use the facility while children are enriched in the new STEM & sensory based room. The sauna provides a calm place for people to relax, use chromotherapy and detoxify. Popular  classes that continue to be offered at Community Fitness also include kettlebell, tabata, pilates and SilverSneakers. ComFit is the home of the Piscataquis County Boxing Club and offers Tae Kwon Do for all ages. 

“We offer over 35 free programs each week to our members. Many of the classes are available to the community for a small $5 day pass as well.” said Terri Palin, senior  program director. 

Friends of Community Fitness in Guilford is a 24/7 nonprofit fitness and community  center. We promote a healthy lifestyle through providing various forms of physical  exercise, social, & educational opportunities for people of all ages & financial  means. For more information visit or call 207-876-4813.

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