Meet Our Staff

certified professionals

Our Staff

At Tapio School of Dance & Gymnastics our staff members are Red Cross First Aid trained and are safety certified professional members of the USA Gymnastics, Amateur Athletic Union, Dance Masters of America, National Dance Educators Organization, and Professional Dance Teachers Association.

Susan T. Breland
President and Owner of Tapio School of Dance & Gymnastics, Inc. since 1978 and teaching since 1971, Susan graduated from Charleston Southern University in 1978 with a bachelor of science in Physical Education. She studied as a dance major at Coker College in Hartsville and performed with the Coker College Dance Ensemble throughout South Carolina and on the ETV Network as well as performed with the Coker College Gymnastics Performance Group in 1974 – 75. As a staff dance and gymnastics professional, Susan taught at the NADAA national conventions held in Myrtle Beach and taught college gymnastics courses at Charleston Southern University as a part of their Physical Education curriculum for college students. A member of the USA Gymnastics and a safety certified skills evaluator; Susan is the Special Olympics-South Carolina Sports Head for Gymnastics, has organized and directed the State Competition since 1988 and served as the South East Gymnastics Coach for the World Games in Ireland in 2002. She is a professional member of the NDEO and PDTA.

Steven Breland
Third generation affiliated with Tapio School of Dance and Gymnastics, Inc., Stevie began as a gymnastics student at age three and grew up in the family business. He has been our After School and Super Summer Day Camp counselor since the age of fifteen and is the Gymnastics Program Director. Stevie is one of the head coaches for the Tapio Gymnastics Team and has been our instructional gymnastics teacher/coach since 1999 as well as our tumbling instructor who has coached many of our local schools’ Junior Varsity, Varsity, and College of Charleston cheerleaders. He attends USA Gymnastics State, Regional, and National Congress yearly and is a safety certified skill evaluator and professional member of USA Gymnastics and Amateur Athletic Union. Stevie volunteers at the state and regional level clinics as a training instructor. He attended the University of South Carolina and is a 2007 graduate of the College of Charleston. Stevie is the proud father of Crew Thomas who will participate in his first recital this year.

Johanna Runey Tapio
Johanna established Tapio School of Dance in 1956, owned and operated the school for over twenty years. Still affiliated with Tapio School of Dance & Gymnastics, Inc. in heart, mind, and soul, she enjoys watching her former students, who now have their children, their grand children and now their great grand children in our recitals.

Patricia J. Tapio
Head Coach of the Tapio Gymnastics Team since 1972, Tricha has over 30 years of dancing and gymnastics experience. She coached many of our Gyminee’s to individual State Champion titles as well as USAG State and National team titles. Tricha travels to Woodward Gymnastics Camp yearly and attends State, Regional, and National Congress through the USA Gymnastics program. She is the director of the Isle of Palms Recreation Department’s gymnastics program, a nationally rated judge, and a professional member of USA Gymnastics as well as a USAG safety certified skills evaluator. She volunteers at training clinics for compulsory and optional gymnasts throughout Region 8. She has served on the South Carolina State Board for Gymnastics since 2000 and has been affiliated with South Carolina-Special Olympics as the head judge for 18 years.

Jan W. Buckheister
Jan is our preschool dance teacher and has been a part of our Tapio family since the age of 3. She grew up in our program as a student, a teacher in training, and a teacher of tap and ballet. When not teaching, Jan serves as our office manager. She has a BS in Math from the College of Charleston, and has taught at First Baptist Church School and the O’Quinn School in Mount Pleasant. She has been the director and recreational gymnastics teacher at the Mount Pleasant Recreation Department for over 35 years.

Kimberly Chesley-Breland
Kim joined our staff at Tapio School of Dance & Gymnastics, Inc. in 2003. Kim has a bachelor of arts in Dance with a minor in Musical Theatre from Marymount Manhattan College in New York. Kim appeared on and off Broadway during her college career in show such as DANCERS AT WORK, THE BOYFRIEND, SINGERS CABARET, and as a dancer at Walt Disney World, Florida. She was featured dancer in SWINGIN’ at Swing 46, NYC, performed with the Wisconsin Dance Ensemble in the NUTCTACKER and PETER RABBIT, and was the soloist in BEGINNINGS at the University of Wisconsin. Kim has been studying Ballet and Tap for 32 years as well as Jazz and Modern for 27 years. She is a member of the National Association of Dance Masters, and attended American College Dance Festival, Tremaine, Jazz Workshops at Steps I New York, Broadway Dance Center and numerous conventions and competitions around the country. Kim has taught around the country at Conventions and judged competitions. She was Performing Arts Director at Camp Friendship before relocating to Charleston. Kim teaches all genres of dance and is the ballet teacher at the Isle of Palms Recreation Department. Kim is certified as a dance teacher through Dance Masters of America and is a professional safety certified member of USA Gymnastics. Kim’s choreography has received awards for “Best Choreography”, “Most Entertaining”, “Best Technical Execution”, and many more. She has also choreographed for Wando High School’s Musicals for the past five years, as well as Wando Chorus. Kim is the Dance Company Director and established the Tapio Dance Company’s “Stars” Competitive and Performance Teams.

Erica Skibinski Slaughter
Erica joined our staff in June 2009. Graduating from the College of Charleston in 2006, Erica has her masters in secondary education and teaches at Goose Creek High School. She was a member of the CofC Dance Team, the Cougarettes, from 2002 until 2006 and performed with the J2 Performance Group under the direction of James Johnson. Erica has been competing dance since 1996 with Robin Horneff’s Performing Arts Center in New Jersey and has performed and competed in NYC, Orlando, Las Vegas, Daytona, Hershey Park, Atlantic city, and Ellis Island. She is a member of Dance Masters of America certified in Jazz. As a production choreographer, Erica has managed eighty plus students on the Tapio Dance Company and awarded platinum high score choreography for the last four years at every competition they have attended. TDC looks forward to many years to come from Erica for excellent production choreography but will lose her to Columbia as she follows her new husband, Chuck. We wish her well and lots of love and happiness in their new life together!

Elizabeth Anne Romagnuolo (née Demaline)
Elizabeth and her husband, Joe, along with their 3 daughters relocated to Charleston in 2004 from Canada. She is a registered teacher with the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) and holds an RAD teacher’s diploma, and as such, she is obsessive about solid ballet technique. She trained under the tutelage of Christine Powel Wooten as a young girl, and then studied at the prestigious Oakville School of Ballet outside Toronto, Canada under Elizabeth Patterson (former RAD examiner) and studied Vagonava with Vitek Wincza. For college, she graduated from the well-respected Ryerson University’s Theatre School Dance program in Toronto, where she was fortunate to study with some of Canada’s best teachers, including the late Glenn Gilmour (National Ballet of Canada (NBC) and Cecchetti examiner), Anuschka Roes (head of teacher program, NBC), Audrey Looker, Florentina Lojekova, Maisee McFee and Nadia Potts (Principal Dancer, NBC; former partner of Baryshnikov and Nureyev), and study in both performing and teaching streams. After college she performed and choreographed for multiple shows and events in Toronto. In addition to her ballet training, she also holds her ISTD (Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing) intermediate certificates for both national and modern, training in Graham and Limon techniques, and, studied Jazz with great Canadian Jazz teachers including Eva von Gencsy (La Ballet Jazz de Montreal) , Stelio Calagias and George Randolph.

She has continued her dance education, taking class at Graham studios, Steps on Broadway and the Broadway dance center, in NYC and Ballet Divertimento in Montréal, and regularly travels to DC, Toronto and Atlanta for pedagogical workshops.

Elizabeth has been teaching for 35 years across Canada and in the US and loves bringing her joy and passion of dance to her students. Locally, she has also been a guest teacher for Charleston County School of Arts and Dance Masters of America. Her students have gone on to illustrious dance careers with the NBC, big screen and television movies, Broadway, and music videos. She is proud to have started a successful RAD training and exam program at Tapio, one of few in South Carolina.

Elizabeth is the proud mother of Marisa (USC), Meagan (Tapio Dance Company) and Sarah (Tapio Gymnastics Team) who have all taken classes at Tapio since 2005. Elizabeth loves teaching at Tapio School of Dance and Gymnastics, and she believes if you dance from your heart you will always shine.

Becky Kemp
Becky has been a recreational gymnastics teacher since 2003 at Tapio School of Dance & Gymnastics Inc. She attended Tapio’s since age 3 as a dance and gymnastics student and was one of our original Gyminee Cricket’s Gymnastics Team members in 1970’s. Becky attends the Woodward Gymnastics Camp as a “Mini Mom”. She taught at Charleston Catholic School, is now a teacher’s assistant Jennie Moore Elementary School in Mt. Pleasant. She is the proud mother of Allyssa and Mattie who are members of the Tapio Gymnastics Team.

Callie Breland
Callie is director of the Afterschool Program and the Summer Camps. She has a nursing degree from Trident Technical College. Callie grew up at Tapio’s and was one of our original summer campers. She bring a unique prospective to the programs and has tailored our camps to what children enjoy learning and playing during their summer breaks and after school activities.Callie is also a trained recreational gymnastics instructor and is safety certified by USA Gymnastics.

Jenna Breland
Jenna is a 2008 graduate of University of South Carolina with a double major in Biology and Geography. She is a jack of all trades at Tapio’s she completes administrative duties for the summer camps as well as trains new camp counselors and manages our junior camp counselors. During our Fall and Winter sessions she teaches recreational gymnastic classes and coaches the competitive gymnastic team. Jenna is a professional member of USA Gymnastics.

Tiffany Renee Cook
A member of our staff since 2010, Tiffany, a Charleston native, is our instructional and competitive hip hop teacher and choreographer. Trained in all genres of dance for twenty years and has been in competition world for fourteen years. She has studied under Dena Rizzo, Darrin Henson, and Geo and in 2005 was awarded the Hollywood Connections scholarship to Los Angeles. Tiffany is our number one choreographer for Hip Hop for the Tapio Dance Company winning many outstanding choreography awards. Tiffany and her family, Eugene, Riley, and Carsyn, reside in Summerville.

Chelsea Monique Taborn
Chelsea is currently in her 2nd season at Tapio School of Dance and Gymnastics. At age 6, she eagerly began her dance training at Dance Dimensions in Virginia Beach, VA. At age 12, Chelsea transitioned to her main studio, the Academy of Classical and Contemporary Dance in Chesapeake, Virginia. As a dedicated student, Chelsea has trained heavily in the areas of jazz, contemporary, tap, ballet, pointe, musical theatre, and hip-hop. Throughout the years Chelsea has taken multiple workshops, been apart of several performances, and gained awards from studios such as Denise Wall’s Dance Energy, Conservatory of Dance, and Dance Artistry Unlimited. Chelsea has earned numerous awards at conventions like Hollywood, Starbound, and Platinum Dance Competition, just to name a few! In year 2011, Chelsea began her college career at Marymount Manhattan College majoring in Dance with a concentration in Performance and Choreography. There, she trained with world-renowned teachers such as Phillip Trevino, Sabatino Verlezza, Damien Bassman, and Anthony Ferro. Currently, Chelsea is gaining her Bachelors degree at the College of Charleston, focusing on Dance and Costume Design. During her first year at Tapio, she won the “Outstanding Choreography Award in Contemporary/Lyrical” at Platinum Dance Competition. Chelsea loves being apart of such a close-knit, high-energy, hard working team.