Dunedin proves perfect fit

Gina Miles in her Dunedin fitness studio opposite the former chief post office. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Gina Miles in her Dunedin fitness studio opposite the former chief post office. Photo by Craig Baxter.

Gina Miles has several reasons for looking forward to the opening night of Mamma Mia! in Dunedin next month.

Not only has she had a long-time involvement in musical theatre but she was also involved in getting the cast fit for the show.

Mrs Miles (31), who returned to Dunedin after a stint living in Bermuda, was approached by director Doug Kamo to see if she would run a ''boot camp''.

She was preparing to open her own fitness studio, Gina Miles Fitness, in the city and jumped at the opportunity.

The aim was to increase the fitness levels of the cast and have them ''show ready'' before starting rehearsals, as well as serving as a good bonding exercise.

Boot camp was held three times a week for eight weeks and Mrs Miles was delighted with the ''amazing results''.

She also enjoyed being back within the circle of musical theatre, where there were still some familiar faces and also some new ones.

Mrs Miles, nee Todd, was born and raised in Dunedin, where tap-dancing was her original passion.

She and her siblings were well-known in the tap-dancing world.

She started when she was about 3 and began teaching from her parents' garage when she was 15. She gave up when she was 18.

She performed in her first musical theatre show, West Side Story, when she was 16 and met her future husband, Steve, a conductor, when both were involved in a theatre restaurant.

At the end of 2010, the couple moved to Bermuda, where Mr Miles worked at a private school.

Mrs Miles, a fitness enthusiast, started teaching Zumba classes at a gym and also did some personal training.

She then trained in two new disciplines - Piloxing, which incorporated boxing, pilates and dance, and Metafit, a metabolic workout.

The couple returned to Dunedin last September and Mr Miles has a PhD scholarship at the University of Otago.

Bermuda was a ''beautiful'' place to live and they felt very lucky to have had that opportunity.

But it was also quite isolated and the couple missed a lot of the things they used to do in Dunedin.

Mrs Miles also wanted to open her own studio, and a studio on the ground floor of a Princes St building, across the street from the former chief post office, was perfect, with its growing business community.

Nowhere else in New Zealand was certified to teach Metafit and Piloxing and she was very excited to be the first to bring those genres to Dunedin.

The small nature of her business meant she had a nice relationship with clients.

''There's just me - I can talk to everybody by their first names,'' she said.

Mrs Miles also enjoyed the familiarity of being back in her home city, of walking down the street and seeing people she knew.

She has been asked to judge tap dancing competitions in July and, in September, she will be involved in a theatre restaurant production.

''I'm living the dream at the moment. Hopefully, it'll continue,'' she said.

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