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.

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.

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.

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.

Ashley Padgett Perry
Ashley Padgett Perry is a lifelong dancer who as a youth trained under Nancy Giles at Southern Strutt Dance Studio in Columbia South Carolina. In her years as a competitive dancer, Ashley placed both regionally and nationally at various competitions and was able to study under artists such as Dee Caspary, Ray Leeper, Mia Michaels, and technical guru Paula Morgan. Looking to continue her dance career, Ashley moved to Charleston, South Carolina where she auditioned for The Charleston Dance Project. After auditioning, Ashley was featured as a principal dancer and performed in their critically acclaimed shows “Ebb and Flow” and “Funktionslust”. In 2013 Ashley was selected to perform in the world renowned Spoleto Festival as a dancer in the Opera “Le Villi” . Ashley has since focused on her passion to create technically sound dancers and innovative movement and choreography through teaching in the Charleston area. Currently Ashley is working with Tapio School of Dance-Gymnastics, traveling as a judge for Stage One Dance, and is an Artist Guest in Residence with Charleston County School of the Arts.

Emily Molinari
Emily Molinari is a Charleston native who grew up dancing here at Tapio on the first competitive dance team. Her time at Tapio was spent doing local performances, attending competitions and conventions, performing on Carnival Cruises, and performing in the opening number at the Stadium of Fire show, in Salt Lake City with the Blue Man Group and Miley Cyrus. After she graduated from Wando High school, she went on to get her Bachelors in Dance with a minor in Health Studies from Winthrop University. At Winthrop, Emily was trained in modern, ballet, jazz, and contemporary. She had the opportunity to perform in Winthrop Dance Theatre, the Rock Hill Rockhettes, Winthrop Dance Theatre Repertoire Group, as well as performing in and choreographing for different student choreography showcases. Emily also attended and performed at the American College Dance Association. In her time at Winthrop, Emily was able to learn from not only some of the best processors of dance in South Carolina but from different guest artists all over the country. Some of those being George Staib, founder of the Staib Dance Company in Atlanta. Maria Caruso was the founder of Bodiography, a contemporary ballet company based out of Pittsburgh and now Charlotte as well, and many more professional dancers and company directors. Emily is now teaching dance at Jennie Moore Elementary School in Mt. Pleasant, and is back at Tapio, teaching and choreographing for the competitive dance program and the recreational dance program.

Erica Slaughter

Erica Slaughter is looking forward to coming back to Tapio School of Dance and Gymnastics after being in Lexington, SC for the past five years. Miss Erica grew up in the competitive studio dance world in New Jersey, and made her way down South for college. At The College of Charleston she was a member of the Cougarettes Dance Team, and earned a degree and Masters in education. She has spent the last five years teaching and training dancers at The Southern Strutt in Irmo, SC with a focus on technique, strength, flexibility, Acro, and Jazz. Miss Erica is going on her 20th year of teaching dance and truly loves helping dancers grow and achieve their goals. She looks forward to working with dancers in the Lowcountry again this season. Miss Erica is mom to the newest Tapio Twinkling Star dancer, Grayson and wife to supportive dance teacher husband, Chuck!

Calvary Romleski
My name is Calvary Romleski, I am 18 years old. I graduated with honors from Spring Hill high school in June 2021. I am from Columbia, South Carolina. I enjoy running, walking with dogs, hiking, going to the river, and of course dancing! My previous dance experience was with the Southern Strutt dance studio. I have danced for a total 7 years and started dancing at Strutt my sophomore year in high school. I have experience in tap, and point but have trained and specialized in jazz, lyrical/contemporary, ballet, and hiphop. I love being with kids and setting an example in the classroom.