Let’s be honest. Every competitive Irish dancer dreams of stepping up onto the podium. And every Irish dance parent longs to see the pure joy on their child’s face as they accept an award for months of hard work. My goal is to help every dancer and parent experience this moment.
The mission of Podium Strength & Performance is to assist dancers in reaching their competitive goals through a safe and effective fitness training regimen. Since each dancer is unique, Podium will work to address each dancer’s specific and individual needs while keeping a focus on the fundamentals of fitness and dance.
The Podium Story
I have been a dancer all my life. I became a fitness professional as a young adult. And now I am a mom. I am also part of a very athletic and competitive family. No, really – sometimes we even have plank contests over the Thanksgiving holiday. Combine these things and you find me … a competitive fitness coaching Irish dance mom!
When I was three, my mom enrolled me in the usual American dance classes … ballet and tap. As I grew older, I became more interested in jazz and hip hop and then dedicated my life to two competitive dance teams and very long dance recitals … many thanks to my dad’s patience. In college, I discovered contemporary dance and performed in a modern dance company while traveling across the country and teaching with American All Star.
Fast forward through a couple of international and Superbowl performances, and I graduated from college and began my career as a fitness coach and instructor. I was choreographing for a dance show and teaching Pilates when I met my husband. And then we had our daughter. It was not until she turned two years old that I discovered the Irish dance world. I saw an incredible Irish dance show at Busch Gardens in Virginia and I JUST HAD TO LEARN HOW TO DO THAT!
So I began competing and LOVED it (well…except for the wig)! I worked hard, had some great teachers, made many wonderful friends, and reached my ultimate goal of Open Champion. At the same time, my daughter began to imitate my dancing, sitting for hours at the studio watching, and attending every feis (while making faces at me side stage). It then became obvious to me that the reason I had found Irish dancing was for her. She started at the age of four, quickly progressed, and became an Irish dance fanatic. Everything was going really well until...
She GREW! And the growth spurts would not stop. She began to have problems with her hip mobility, posture, foot strength, turnout, power, and stamina. The VERY good news was that I knew exactly how to help her fix these problems! So, I applied my experience and knowledge as a fitness professional and a lifelong dancer to training sessions for my own little Irish dancer. She was a willing participant (thank goodness), but I thought she would have more fun with mom’s coaching if I invited her dance friends to participate in training sessions. I then started to offer sport specific fitness training classes to all local Irish dancers. That’s how Podium Strength and Performance was born. And so far, so good … because my daughter and several of her Podium friends stepped up onto the podium for the first time at our 2017 Southern Region Oireachtas!
Sharing this experience with the Irish dance community, I truly hope to help dancers reach their goals. I look forward to working with you to address your dancer’s specific and individual fitness needs.
Certifications & Education
Master’s degree in Exercise Science, UNC Chapel Hill 2004
Certified Exercise Physiologist with the American College of Sports Medicine since 2005
Certified Stott Pilates instructor since 2006
Over 17 years of experience teaching and coaching as a fitness professional
Over 30 years of dance training in ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, ballroom and Irish
"I love training with Mimi Phillips. She showed me how to strengthen my core and my turnout and my posture improved. She encourages me, she motivates me, and she inspires me. She is a wonderful trainer and makes training fun!"
-Niamh (U10 - Prizewinner)
"Mimi is great with kids! You can tell she enjoys helping the dancers and they enjoy her classes. Her background as a dancer and fitness trainer helps her to really understand what the kids need."
"It was the best class ever.
It was so fun!"
-Ian (U11 - Prizewinner)
"Mimi is a very helpful and motivated trainer for Irish dance! She pinpoints exactly what you need to work on whether it be stamina, turnout, posture, etc., and gives you effective exercises and instruction on how to improve. She is experienced in the world of Irish dance and is an awesome trainer and supporter!"
-Zoe (U16 - Open Champion)
in Tampa, FL
These one-hour private training sessions will consist of an individual consultation, evaluation, and exercise demonstration culminating in a Podium training program created just for you!
*$70 per session, available upon request
Not in Tampa?
Ask about a Virtual Training session!
in Tampa, FL
The 5-week workshop series will address the following areas of dance fitness and relate them specifically to Irish dancing:Power, strength & staminaMobility, flexibility & turnoutCore stability & balanceAnkles & archesProgram planning, work ethic & performance Rest, recovery & injury prevention
New Dates Coming Soon!
Podium Strength & Performance will travel to your school to lead a workshop customized exclusively for your dancers. TCRGs may request specific areas of training they would like to see addressed or improved.
Now taking reservations for 2018 workshops across the Southern Region!
Ready to Work?
Have questions? Shoot us a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.