Meet the Teachers

Fitness League Teachers come from all walks of life and each bring their own personal flair and touch to classes. Learn a little more about what inspires and motivates them below.

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Pikkie Smith

Pikkie Smith

HONORARY VICE PRESIDENT, FITNESS LEAGUE UK

I have been a Fitness League teacher in Cape Town since 1978 and was the Head teacher for the Fitness League in Cape Town for over 20 years as well as the Teacher trainer for Fitness League, RSA. 

I studied at ‘The London College of Dance and Drama’ in London for 3 years and ran a dance studio in Toronto, Canada for 3 years.

I taught Fitness League classes in Fish Hoek and Newlands for over 35 years and choreographed and produced dance items from Cape Town and RSA for the Fitness League shows at the Royal Albert Hall, London since 1990.

I currently teach ‘Senior-fit’ classes in Fish Hoek and Newlands.

Cally Richardson

Cally Richardson

FISHOEK | NEWLANDS

I am the Head Teacher for the Fitness League in Cape Town as well as a Teacher trainer for the Fitness League RSA.

I studied BSC (Nursing), University of Cape Town, but have loved dancing all my life.

I trained as a Fitness League teacher in 1993 and have been teaching classes in Newlands, Pinelands and Fish Hoek for over 20 years. I am also a Pilates teacher.

I choreographed for the Royal Albert Hall show in London in 1995 (Hometalk); 2005 (Welcome to Cape Town);  and in 2010 (Soccer World Cup)

I currently teach in Fish Hoek and Newlands.

Alison Lund

Alison Lund

RONDEBOSCH | NEWLANDS

I live in Cape Town with my husband Jo where I qualified as a biology teacher at UCT. My career since then has taken many twists and turns.

My journey with the Fitness League started when I qualified as a teacher in 2002. It suited me well as I have always enjoyed gymnastics, dance and music. It has been a rewarding journey – I have loved the teaching, find the music uplifting and have met and formed friendships with some amazing women. The ethos of the League “Fun, Fitness and Friendship “ is so true.
One of the highlights of my journey has been travelling to the UK to participate in the Fitness League celebrations in the Royal Albert Hall and to meet and share ideas with the English teachers.

Gida Sancho

Gida Sancho

GREENPOINT

I qualified as a teacher with the Fitness League in October 2007. I started my Greenpoint class at the beginning of the following year and have been teaching ever since.

Starting as a member and now as a teacher I have had the privilege of befriending many diverse and amazing women all while promoting health and fitness.

The Fitness League is a family that I am proud to be a part of.

Terry Hodson

Terry Hodson

GEORGE

I am married with 3 children and 2 grandchildren and live in the beautiful city of George in the Southern Cape.

I qualified as a Teacher and librarian at UCT before starting my Fitness League journey.

I have a dance orientated background and previously studied Ballet, Modern, Spanish and Irish dance.

Marguerite Swan

Marguerite Swan

BRYANSTON | RANDBURG

I went to my first Fitness League class in Harrogate and then Manchester in the UK . Upon arrival in Johannesburg in 1976 I immediately joined the Yeoville class.

I trained as a Fitness League Teacher in 1997 and started teaching in 1998. I choreographed for New Zealand’s 60th Birthday show in 2007 (Red Roses for a Blue Lady) with red and blue sparkly bean-bags and have participated in five shows at the Royal Albert Hall.

I became Head Teacher for Gauteng in 2016 and currently teach classes based in the Johannesburg area.

Leslie Baragwanath

Leslie Baragwanath

WATERKLOOF

I previously danced professionally and taught classical ballet for over 20 years before starting a new chapter and qualifying at a Fitness League teacher in 2003 and choreographed the Gauteng Royal Albert item in 2005. I previously taught in Bryanston and Krugersdrop and am currently based at the BASD Studio in Waterkloof. The challenges of the past year have not deterred members and their enthusiasm and support remains ongoing.

My classes include stretching, toning and strengthening movements and effective breathing technique during movement is encouraged. Some dance elements are included in my low impact sequences in all classes and different apparatus such as balls, bands and weights are also incorporated to ensure ongoing variety.

I enjoy people, gardening, puzzles, good coffee and a glass of wine. I am also passionate about music – just ask any of my ladies.

Bridget O'Donoghue

Bridget O'Donoghue

BETTY O'DONOGHUE FOUNDATION | LANGA

I have been involved in the Fitness League since a child as my mother, Betty, was a Fitness League teacher. General good health and the benefits of exercising was experienced from an early age.

I qualified as a Fitness League teacher at 21 and started classes in Hout Bay. Further studying and family commitments resulted in my only classes intermittently.

I am the current Chairperson of the Betty O’Donoghue Foundation which trains and establishes Fitness League and Extend classes in areas of low resources, and I currently teach classes in Langa Cape Town.

I am a married mother of 4 children and hobbies are walking in the mountains, horse riding and gardening.

Read more about the
Betty O’Donoghue Foundation.

Marielienne Janeke & Joy Singleton

Marielienne Janeke & Joy Singleton

MENLO PARK

We share a Fitness League centre at the Vryburger Hall in Menlo Park, Pretoria. Our members benefit from two different styles of teaching, although the classes of both consist of a combination of aerobic and conditioning work.

Marielienne (on the left); joined the Fitness League in 1990 and trained as a teacher in 2001. I am is passionate about the League, and has served as National Secretary since 2004. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown i have again taken up home-based hobbies, working in my garden and experimenting with dishes from a variety of countries.

Joy (on the right); qualified as a Fitness League teacher in 1984. I have served as National Treasurer since some time in the 1990s. Apart from teaching, I loves cats, enjoy walking and doing jigsaw puzzles.

Caroline Bisset

Caroline Bisset

NEWLANDS | RONDEBOSCH | ZOOM

In 2007, I trained as a Fitness League teacher and was inspired to pursue this path because of my life-long love for dancing and my passion for keeping fit.
I have taught Fitness League classes ever since in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town. During lockdown, I had fun producing numerous YouTube video classes and also started teaching online via Zoom. I currently take two classes weekly – one in Bergvliet and one in Rondebosch.

My classes were recently described by a member as “challenging, yet enjoyable”. They usually comprise low impact exercises followed by pilates-like exercises on the mat. In my role as Head Teacher in Cape Town, I am closely involved in the running of the Fitness League.

Swimming (preferably in Dalebrook tidal pool!) and hiking are my favourite additionally activities.

Ursula Laverty

Ursula Laverty

HOUT BAY

I joined Fitness League in 1979 in Bryanston Johannesburg and enjoyed the exercises incorporating Music with Movement so much that I trained in 1989.

I taught in Lonehill for 10 years and then reallocated to the Cape where I continued classes in Bergvliet.

My Hout Bay classes started in 2007 and I continue to instruct at the community centre.

I accompanied the team to London in 2000, 2005 and 2010 where we performed with teams from all over the world in the Royal Albert Hall.

My hobbies include hiking our beautiful mountains, gardening, reading and baking.

Maureen Dalglish

Maureen Dalglish

CHARTWELL

I was invited by one of the Lonehill class members to attend a trial class which was then run by Ursula Laverty in 1997 – after the class I decided that the movements, the exercises, the music and the teacher were just what I wanted. Ursula’s class was later taken over by Anne von Vliet and when Betty O’Donoghue on one occasion took the class, she told us about “Extend” and how much the elderly folks enjoyed her Extend Classes. I then decided to qualify as an Extend teacher, tutored mainly by Judy van Gruenewaldt from Pretoria.

In August 2014 I hired the local Dance Studio in Chartwell for my Extend classes – but the members who joined were certainly not elderly – two ex-Ballet Dancers ad two ex-gymnasts among them and this made we rethink my plans … I had better requalify as a Fitness League Teacher to keep pace with my pupils.

My class members are mainly from Chartwell and we firmly believe in Fitness, Fun and Friendship – the girls have enhanced my life as much as they say I have added Flavour to their lives.

Janet Diederiks

Janet Diederiks

PRIMROSE

I was participating in classes with Melissa in Mondeor when she approached me and asked if I would be interested in training for a Fitness League teacher. After much thought, and knowing that I so enjoyed dancing for many years and loved the thought of “movement to music” (this is what I google searched at the time to find the classes) I was willing to take on this challenge.

I trained with Heidi and Helen at their studio in Primrose and used their classes as my training ground during 2008 until my exam in March 2009. It was such an exciting time as my ball routine from my exam inspired the idea of the routine which we took to London in 2010.
I was only teaching the odd class at the studio until Helen relocated to KZN and she offered her classes to me on a permanent basis.

Not only has this decision brought a constant of exercise to my life, but a group of amazing people that are now such an important part of my life.

Andy Frieslaar

Andy Frieslaar

SYBRAND PARK | ZOOM

Hi, I’m Andy and I teach classes in Kenilworth, Sybrand Park and Pinelands. My classes are filled with fabulous people and we’d love to welcome anyone new.

I love exercising to music because it doesn’t feel like hard work. I started Classical Greek dance classes at the age of 7 and over the years learned ballet, character and contemporary dance as well.
A highlight of my week is attending a “Mommy” or adult ballet class!

I’m currently studying for my Body Control Pilates teaching certificate so that I’ll have more to offer those who exercise with me.

As an avid chocolate eater and wine drinker, I’m forced to exercise with enthusiasm and vigour on a daily basis. I also firmly believe in the importance of exercise as a key tool in maintaining and enhancing mental health.
Find the exercise you love with people who energise you; and you’ve found your Island of Joy.

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