Cool Classes

Whether you’re looking to explore a new fitness routine or stretch your creative side, here are some hot classes to check out while it’s cold outside.

By Meghan Hill • Photography by Amber Jane Barricman

The decision to enroll in a new class can be overwhelming, considering the breadth of possibilities at our fingertips on Cape Cod. When I determined it was time to shake up my exercise routine, I considered dozens of classes.

I knew I needed to find the right class—a class that would help me to achieve my aim of blending camaraderie with challenge. I was seeking something fresh that presented an accountability factor and also introduced variety into my workouts.


Ballertone at Osterville Fitness

Scanning the Osterville Fitness class descriptions one evening, I pored over their menu, which highlights many different disciplines, including spin, yoga, group active, group core, circuit and flex training. I then spotted a word I’d never encountered before: Balletone. I felt my eyebrows lift. Ballet? Tone?

Barefoot workout that blends traditional fitness exercises with ballet-inspired movements and flowing yoga postures. Using your own body weight to challenge your balance and strength, while increasing your flexibility and cardiovascular fitness, makes this workout fun and functional.

I was curious. And, off I went – cautiously optimistic – to join the class, which was taught by Linda McDonald, the group fitness director at Osterville Fitness. Balletone, created as a dance-inspired, full-body workout, focuses on improving cardio, strength, coordination and core.

The most compelling reason to take a Balletone class?

“It’s unique,” says McDonald. “Think standing Pilates training, but on the move. While some of the movements will feel familiar, like squats and lunges, we seamlessly transition them into ballet-inspired patterns that make the workout fun, yet deceptively challenging.”

I couldn’t agree more with my instructor’s synopsis. I found the development, design and delivery of the class completely original, offering physical, mental and social benefits. 1336 Main St., Osterville | 508-428-3775 |

Whether you’re hoping to venture out and experiment with a new artistic medium, fine-tune your meditation practice, or realize your burgeoning ukulele prowess, here’s a sampling of some of the more creative class offerings, Capewide this spring. For full class listings, visit the establishments’ websites.

The Cape Cod Art Association is a nonprofit membership group continuously operating since its establishment in 1948. It serves its members and community with a wide range of year-round fine art programs and events. Its custom-designed facilities include three galleries for monthly exhibitions and two studios for classes, demonstrations and workshops in a variety of art media.

Unique to the Cape Cod Art Association is their photography center, offering classes that are broken up into eight, six-week sessions. Executive director Roberta Miller says the photography classes, which the association began offering seven years ago, are designed to meet the needs of beginners through master artists.

“We’ve started offering many more advanced-level classes over the past few years,” says Miller. “More artists have been coming back into the studio to focus on a specific area of difficulty they may be having. They are coming to really hone their skills.”

The photography center holds classes specific to many elements of photography, including digital photography, studio lighting, printing and night photography. The association also offers workshops that focus on shooting certain locations and themes, such as reflections and lighthouses. Other workshops geared toward middle- and high-school students are held over April and summer vacations.

For paparazzo interested in shooting with their iPhone, the association offers a one-day workshop on Saturday, March 14. “Experimental iPhone Photography” focuses on how to get the best results from your iPhone (for more on iPhone photography, see page 66). Students will examine methods to make the most of the built-in camera as well as some distinct camera apps for editing photos. 3480 Main St., Barnstable | 508-362-2909 |

Cotuit Center for the Arts offers year-round classes and workshops in the visual and performing arts.

Director Lenore Lyons says that while each of the 45 teachers at the center brings a different area of expertise to the table, they all have something in common: a passion for community art. “We are all focused on providing this space and time that will serve to cultivate a passion for art in individuals and in the community,” says Lyons.

Classes offered this spring at the Cotuit Center for the Arts are abundant and include “Drawing for the Absolute Beginner,” starting March 4, for ages 14 and up. This class underscores the actuality that drawing is a skill, not a gift, and helps students develop techniques that will give them the confidence to render their own work. Subject areas will incorporate contour, negative and positive space, perspective, shading and portrait drawing.

Proclaiming “everyone is musical,” beginning March 7, the center will offer eight Saturday sessions of “Intro to Ukulele.” Students will learn basic chords and strumming patterns to classic songs such as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” “Sea of Love,” “Three Little Birds” and “Sweet Caroline.” Singing along is encouraged and performance opportunities are available to students. There is also an “Intermediate Ukulele” class offered for those ready to discover finger picking, single note melody playing, novelty strumming patterns, tablature and jazz chords.

The center also boasts “Artful Thursdays,” a wide variety of one-off classes offered every Thursday evening from 6 to 9 p.m., perfect for those interested in experimenting with one or two—or an assortment of creative outlets, who do not want to commit to a multi-week session. 4404 Falmouth Rd., Cotuit  508-428-0669 |

The Centerville Yoga & Wellness Center offers a variety of services and classes to the community, focusing on health and wellness in a noncompetitive environment.

Daily yoga classes cater to a full spectrum of students, from beginners to seasoned adults to advanced yoga students. All classes are taught by certified, experienced yoga teachers from the Cape Cod area. Private yoga sessions are a popular option for clients who prefer a class customized to their individual needs.

“Because life is busy and complex, people seek an escape from the fast pace of today’s world through yoga and meditation,” says Karen Black, the center’s owner and director.

While offering the traditional styles of yoga, the center strives to make yoga accessible to all and is well known for their “Chair Yoga,” which offers modified yoga poses while seated in a chair.

Chair yoga can help to ease the aches and pains of arthritis sufferers and is beneficial for office workers who may need to stretch in their 9-to-5 surroundings, rather than in a yoga studio. Accommodating every person’s needs, each pose is presented with variations to work multiple levels of flexibility and strength. The class includes breath work, meditation, stretching, strengthening and balance work.

The expectant mother does not have to forgo her practice here, but can choose to opt in to “Prenatal Yoga,” which links postures with the breath, bringing awareness to the mind, body and spirit – with mindfulness recognizing the presence of the baby. Prenatal yoga has been said to alleviate many discomforts of pregnancy such as nausea, constipation, varicose veins, swelling, back pain and sciatica.

“Stress Reduction, Meditation & Mindful Movement” helps one find respite in a hectic world. This class cultivates sacred time and space as students develop and refine their meditation practice using a variety of breathing techniques, guided meditations, silent practice and hand mudras. Meditation has been said to relieve a range of societal and health issues while restoring a sense of calm and inner peace. 1600 Falmouth Rd., Centerville | 508-775-1422 |

Culinary classes at Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School

Culinary classes at Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School

Because Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School mission is to develop employable skills and to enrich the lives of adults throughout Southeastern Massachusetts, they offer more than 500 courses ranging from health, computers and technical trades to business, legal and wellness.

Since 2007, they have also been offering an array of enticing culinary classes, suited to students working toward a career as a chef as well as to those hoping simply to uncover the secrets to styling their favorite dishes.

“People come from all over to attend these classes,” says Patricia McPartland, the school’s director of adult and continuing education. “We have first-rate chefs instructing and equipping our students with extraordinary skills. Our culinary students not only learn to create their favorite dishes, they also get to eat their favorite dishes. And, when they leave, they go home with the recipes and often some leftovers.”

From 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on April 13, students will have the opportunity to acquire fine-cooking techniques in “The Complete Italian Meal.” The course instructor will guide students through the preparation of the traditional dishes of an Italian meal, preparing antipasto, primi, secondi, contorni and dolci.

A sure bet for the seafood lover, “Daily Catch” will be offered from 5 to 8 p.m. on May 13.  Students will learn how to prepare the fish of the day—cod, haddock or flounder—in the most economical, delicious and simple ways, whether baked, fried, broiled, poached, stuffed or stewed. 220 Sandwich Rd., Bourne

508-759-7711 |

The Yarn Hound in Dennis offers free “sit ‘n’ knit” groups, as well as beginner through expert-level knitting classes.

The Yarn Hound in Dennis offers free “sit ‘n’ knit” groups, as well as beginner through expert-level knitting classes.

Yarn Hound owner Roseanne Smith calls her 200-year-old Cape cottage a “knitter’s paradise,” offering  free “sit ‘n’ knit” groups, as well as a collection of beginner- through expert-level knitting classes designed to meet the needs of both the classic and the fashion-forward knitter. Specialty class themes change from month to month and include socks, magic loop, sweaters, children’s clothes and thrummed mittens.

One of the Yarn Hound’s most well attended groups is “Charity Crafting,” which meets 2 to 4 p.m. every Thursday. This is an atypical, cause-driven circle that meets to produce items that will be donated to various local nonprofit organizations. The group is inclusive – open to knitters and crochet-ers, alike. Attendees are asked to bring their own tools, however, the yarn will be donated to the cause.

“We have so much fun in this group,” says Smith. “We laugh, we have coffee and cake, and best of all, we get to do all this while helping others.” 620 Main St., Dennis

508-385-6951  |

The Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM) is a nationally recognized, year-round cultural institution that fuses the creative energy of America’s oldest active art colony with the natural beauty of the Outer Cape that has inspired artists for generations. PAAM offers instruction and studio arts workshops in numerous creative endeavors.

Program administrator Grace Ryder-O’Malley highly recommends “Artists in their Studios,” an occasion to study with artists in their private studios, for a supportive multi-session workshop experience.

“These workshops are more intimate and very illuminating,” says Ryder-O’Malley. “We are so grateful to have the opportunity to offer them.”

Students will explore how the artist’s studio is set up, and come to understand the inspiration and approach to their work while learning more about themselves as artists. Workshops take place throughout Cape Cod.

Another uncommon course offering is “Cuts and Folds: Explorations with Paper,” on April 11 and 12. Students will look forward to creating unique work using old-world fold-and-cut and contemporary pop-up methods. Instruction includes demonstrations accompanied by information on and images of other contemporary paper artists. Students are encouraged to use their imagination and bring any paper materials they would like to try utilizing, including recyclables, scraps and old drawings that may be repurposed. 460 Commercial St., Provincetown | 508-487-1750 |

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