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
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
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
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
She has been asked to judge tap dancing competitions in July
and, in September, she will be involved in a theatre
''I'm living the dream at the moment. Hopefully, it'll
continue,'' she said.