Meg Peslis joined CFPAA in 2018 as the tap director. She began dancing at age 12 and has trained under a variety of tap greats out of NYC and LA, such as Gregory Hines, Savion Glover, Michael Flatley, & Brenda Buffalino to name a few. She attended the Governors School of the Arts, Erie, PA, completing coursework in choreography, tap, and jazz. Meg has taught many tap master classes across the nation, has conducted numerous private lessons, and was an instructor at both the Pennsylvania Regional Ballet Company and Hershey School of Dance for over twelve years. Prior to teaching, she was a principal dancer with Sesame Street Live Touring Company for one year as Zoe and danced professionally for three months in Aruba. She earned the title of Miss Dance Olympus in 1992, Rising Star National Champion, and won two President’s Cup awards and scholarships at DEA Nationals. She has significant experience in choreography, group instruction, and the competition arena. Meg brings a great deal of professional dance experience and instructional background and is committed to sharing her strong passion for dance with others of all ages.
Bonnie Ryerson has had a rich and varied career as an actor/director. Passionate about theater from a young age, as a teenager she spent her summers working with writer/director Israel Horovitz at The Gloucester Stage Company as an actor and stage manager. She went on to attend The Boston Conservatory of Music as a drama major where she received her BFA. As a professional, Bonnie has worked at the Blackburn Equity Theater, The Lyric Stage, Worchester Foothills Theatre and The Dover Repertory Company. She toured a one-woman show, “Staying on Track”, for the National Cancer Society. She is a veteran of two national tours with the Hampstead Players. Her New York credits include, “Vital Signs” at the Samuel Beckett Theatre, “Montevideo” at The Harold Clurman, and “Perfect Crime” at The Duffy Theatre. As a commercial actor she has many national TV/Radio spots to her credit, Friendly’s Ice Cream, Parade of Shoes, Bally’s Total Fitness among them. As a teacher, Bonnie has worked at the Worchester Children’s Theatre, Sprouts Outreach, The American Dance and Drama School and the Performing Arts High School in NYC.
Eva Swontek-Tap, Ballet Instructor and Discover Dance Director: Eva began her training at the age of 8 in the Baltimore area taking classes at the former Kathleen's Dance Centre, The Ballet Theatre of Maryland and the Baltimore School of Performing Arts. She has studied under such names as Patsy Swayze (mother of Patrick), Fran Peters, Vyacheslav Mesropov, Frank Hatchet and the late Gus Giordano. In her teens she was accepted into the Dynamic Elite Performing Arts Company and competed at the national level for such organizations as Dance Masters of America, Dance Educators of America and Showstoppers. Eva's performing credits as a dancer include ballets The Nutcracker and Cinderella. As a singer/actress she has appeared in productions of No, No, Nannette, 42nd Street, and Alice in Wonderland. She has also appeared in commercial work and the TV program "Baltimore's Dramatic Makeovers"
In college Eva auditioned for and was accepted into the Towson University Dance Performance and Education Program enhancing her experience with hands on therapy work with people with special needs, movement analysis and choreography focusing on Modern Dance and Ballet. She has volunteered with public and private schools in both the Baltimore/Annapolis, MD and Myrtle Beach areas, as well as the Girl Scouts of America introducing children to the performing arts. She has been involved with the "Stars Over Waccamaw Talent Showcase" and has choreographed the Miss Conway High School Pageant, Blackwater Middle School’s Annie, and numerous competitions solos/duets. Ms. Eva holds a Dance Masters of America Certification.
If hindsight is indeed twenty/twenty, it is clear that the trajectory of John’s life in the performing arts was squarely set on him creating musical theatre. Born into a musical family, (his dad, Artie Ryerson, played guitar with jazz legend Charlie Parker as well as Elvis Presley! His brothers Art and Rich and sister Ali are accomplished musicians – Ali’s latest jazz flute cd reached last year’s Billboard top 10!). But the musical gene did not have the same hold on John as his siblings, as the ensuing years found him exploring other forms of expression. Today, John is as much a Songwriter/Musician as he is a Playwright/Actor – a good combination to create musical theatre! As an actor, John studied at The American Academy Of Dramatic Arts in NYC as well as with Lee Strasberg at the Strasberg Institute and the famed Actor’s Studio, NY and LA. He attended Wesleyan University as a Film/Music major. John has been a resident actor at The Bristol Valley Playhouse, The Bucks County Playhouse, The Arena Stage, Wash., DC., and enjoyed a couple of National Tours with The Hampstead Players. As a musician, John was the songwriter, lead singer and keyboard player for the band, STRUGGLE. STRUGGLE played the original band club circuit in Boston and NYC including the famed NY rock club, CBGB’s. The band produced two well received albums, and their video, “You Gotta Be Kidding”, played on MTV. Along with his wife, Bonnie, John created the Pied Piper Youth Theater almost twenty years ago. As co-directors, they have mounted more than fifty productions and have had the unparalleled pleasure of seeing young people grow and develop as actors and people. To their list of productions, John has contributed original plays and musicals: “Tech-night (The Day of The Big Show”, “The Record Release Party”, “A Christmas Carol”, “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory”, “Monologue Showdown”, “Alice In Wonderland”, “Jack and The Beanstalk” among others. His rock musical, “Piper’s Song” was produced at The Gene Frankel Theatre, NYC to enthusiastic audiences.
Carolina Forest Performing Arts Academy (CFPAA) based in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, opened in August 0f 2009 as a comprehensive performing arts facility wherein students, from ages 2 to 82, receive superior technical and artistic performing-arts training further enhanced by an organizational culture that fosters the life-skills of creativity, integrity, work ethic, perseverance, collaboration, and commitment. Whether a student is the once-a-week recreational student, a committed CFPAA competitive dancer, or a passionate pre-professional, each student can expect to be treated equally while receiving the benefit of proven high-quality training unsurpassed in the Grand Strand. More of a metropolitan performing arts complex than a local dance studio, CFPAA is a perfect springboard to a professional career, CFPAA has seen numerous alumni go on to become actively working professionals in the world of entertainment, all citing CFPAA for being the principal factor in their professional success. This is a unique value we offer our clients who seek only the highest levels of training found in the Grand Strand and Pee Dee Regions for their pre-professional performers. CFPAA is a community in and of itself, whereby students feel empowered to stand tall, take risks, and express themselves without judgment. At CFPAA, all are welcome; all belong.
Now in our 12th season, CFPAA offers professional training services in recreational, competitive, and pre-professional dance, musical theater, voice, piano, acting, guitar, tumbling, talent coaching, pageant consultancy, and even ukulele! CFPAA provides dance training that exceeds The National Core Arts Standards to which our courses are aligned and implemented alongside a vetted membership with the National Dance Educators Organization. In addition, CFPAA currently serves as the region’s chapter of The National Honor Society for Dance Arts and is partnered with the nationally recognized Pied Piper Youth Theater (South) to further enhance the superior training we provide our clients.
CFPAA has consistently been voted Best Dance Studio by the viewers of WMBF and the readers of The Myrtle Beach Herald. In addition, we were most recently named Best Dance Studio by the readers of the Carolina Forest Chronicle for the ninth year in a row. CFPAA has won countless regional, state, and national titles and has been named a Studio of Excellence by the National Association of Dance Competitions and Conventions. CFPAA has been awarded the Spirit of Encore Award twice, and in 2019, earned the distinction of Top Dance Studio at Encore Regionals.
CFPAA invests in its staff by paying instructors well above the national and state average and by offering benefits and incentives not customarily found in our industry. These practices make it possible for us to offer our clients superior services provided by the most highly qualified and experienced professionals in the region.
CFPAA provides pre-professional training that actively contributes to the available professional workforce in entertainment. CFPAA has seen numerous, verifiable alumni go on to become actively working professionals in the world of entertainment that cite CFPAA for being the principal factor in their professional success. We provide many social and cultural improvements in the community and surrounding areas for children, teenagers and adults. We expand social and cultural interaction, and provide an overall community feeling of well-being and togetherness. We provide an organizational culture that fosters the life-skills of self-discipline, creativity, integrity, work ethic, perseverance, collaboration, and commitment.
Sally is a professional dancer, singer, and actor. She received her Bachelors in Performing Arts degree from Oklahoma City University and is currently working on her Masters in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology from the University of Florida while residing in Myrtle Beach, SC. Sally's performance career expands in many areas. She had the opportunity to perform in the Broadway workshop, Stilyagi, written by Lisa Kron, directed by Michael Mayer (Ensemble, New York Stage and Film), toured Nationally with Dirty Dancing (Understudy Penny & Vivian/Ensemble), and also performed in numerous regional productions. Many of those include: Paint Your Wagon (Emily/Mary/Ensemble, The Muny), Oklahoma (Aggie, The Muny), Monty Python's Spamalot (Ensemble/Minstrel, The Muny), An American in Paris (Featured Ensemble, Ogunquit Playhouse), Will Rogers Follies (Ensemble/Zulecki, Pioneer Theatre), Will Rogers Follies (Ensemble, Maltz Jupiter Theatre), Singin in the Rain (Understudy Cyd Charisse & Zelda/Ensemble, Arts Center of Coastal Carolina). Concert/Benefits: Muny Centennial Gala (Ensemble, The Muny), Omaha Symphony (Ensemble, Omaha Symphony Orchestra). Aside from live theatre, Sally had the opportunity to be seen in the TV series, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Oklahoma maid, Amazon Prime), and Vinyl (Concert Goer, HBO). Sally most recently managed a functional fitness training facility in Conway, SC, and was also previously a Barre Fitness Trainer when living in NYC. She is currently on faculty at Showstopper National Dance Conventions, and Endless Talent Conventions and is a professional judge for Stage One, Endless Talent, and Encores dance competitions. She is also a Choreographer and Teacher across the East Coast, and is a Certified Plant-Based Health Coach with the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.
Reeci knew from an early age that she had a passion for dance and would want to share that love by teaching. Theresa graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from University of North Carolina. Charlotte, with relevant courses in Choreography and Ballet Pedagogy. Theresa has years of experience teaching ages two-eighteen in multiple genres, including jazz, tap, ballet, hip hop, contemporary, and lyrical. Her competitive choreography has received high marks as well as placing in the top overalls. In 2016, Theresa was honored to receive a Best Choreography Award. Theresa has assisted in the choreography and staging of High Steppin' Country Pre-show for the past few years, and has quickly worked her way up the ranks to hold the position of Company Manager for CFPAA.
Kim Rothberg was raised in Horry County and is a graduate of Carolina Forest High School. She attended Coastal Carolina University and graduated with a Bachelors in Elementary Education. Kim has taught at Carolina Forest Elementary for 10 years, where she teaches fifth grade. She is a Robotics and Rubik's Cube team coach, as well as an assistant for her school's yearly musical productions. Kim was a South Carolina finalist for the Presidential Award in Mathematics Teaching in 2016. She is the proud mother of one son, Connor, who enjoys singing, dancing, and computer gaming. Kim is very thankful to be a part of the CFPAA family.
Mr. Joey Trail was the 2015-16 Horry County Schools District Teacher of the Year and went on to be named a South Carolina Honor Roll Teacher for being named South Carolina Teacher of the Year-Top Five for 2016-17. In 2015, he received the state Leadership Development Award from the South Carolina Council of Teachers of English, and in 2014, was named Regional Teacher of the Year by Barnes and Noble. Trail graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2012 from Coastal Carolina University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in middle level education. Three short years later, he became a Board Member of the Coastal Carolina University Board of Visitors.
Before entering public education, Trail had garnered seventeen years of professional experience in entertainment. A former Wesleyan Scholar, he was named National Male Vocalist in 1994, and was the top scoring finalist in the Silver Wings Recording Contract Contest held in Nashville. Joey Ray held the starring role in the national tour of Lost in the Fifties. He was a featured vocalist and dancer at the Carolina Opry in The Carolina Opry Live and Good Vibrations shows for five years before spending two years in Branson, Missouri, performing with Starlite Entertainment and the World Famous Platters. Joey Ray also performed with Steve Gatlin in Celebrate America, and Big Band Swing. He has traveled to over twenty-three countries performing for various cruise lines, including Holland America and American-Hawaii Cruises, where he received critical acclaim with his cabaret, A Salute to Duke Ellington. He played Lamar in Godspell, Bully in Up from Slime, and a featured vocalist and tapper in Sophisticated Ladies. Joey Ray has appeared on WSLS/NBC, TNN, and RFD-TV. His proudest performance moment was getting the opportunity to sing with Patti Labelle. Trail has guest starred in A Night with Joe Garrell and Friends at the Theatre of the Republic, as well as starring in Amazing Grace-A Gospel Celebration at Charleston Music Hall. Joey Ray was the lead singer of the band Diversity, contracted with Beach House Entertainment for two years. Trail is a well-known event adjudicator, judging numerous school and regional talent competitions, the Miss Sun Fun Pageant, preliminary pageants to Miss South Carolina USA and Miss USA as well as the Miss North Carolina, USA Pageant.
Trail served as a teacher and eventually an instructional coach for Horry County Schools for six years while serving as General Manager of CFPAA. Trail now serves as the Owner and Director of Operations. He is responsible for our region's first chapter of the National Honor Society for Dance Arts, and as a member of the National Dance Educator Organization, the vetted alignment of CFPAA's curricula with the national core standards for dance arts. While serving as Director of Operations for CFPAA, the academy has won the Spirit of Encore Award twice, as well as Top Competitive Dance Studio. In addition, CFPAA has been named a national Studio of Excellence by the National Association of Dance Competitions and Conventions.