Instructors

Nora Targonski-O’Brien

Nora Targonski-O’Brien is an Actor/Educator who moved from Philadelphia to Saint Paul in 2009. In the last year, she performed as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire at Yellow Tree Theatre and toured throughout the Midwest region with Climb Theatre as a Resident Artist and Teacher. Her filmography includes leading roles in Sins Of The Father, now streaming on Hulu and Amazon and In Winter available for purchase on Amazon. Nora has been proud to teach with the company since 2020 and values the self-empowerment and collaboration that Mayer Arts fosters within their camps and classes. 

Lara Layne

Lara Layne is a vibrant musical theater teaching artist based in the Twin Cities, where her passion for nurturing young talents shines. Since spring 2022, Lara has been an invaluable part of the Mayer Arts team, sharing her expertise in a wide range of productions, including Lion King, Encanto, High School Musical, Pinocchio, Strange World, Beauty and the Beast, High School Musical 2, and Aladdin.

Lara’s journey in the world of performing arts began at a remarkably early age when she first sang, acted, and danced at the tender age of 3. Her unwavering commitment to her craft led her to pursue higher education at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, where she majored in Theater Art and Communication Studies. Her time at Concordia solidified her skills and knowledge, setting the stage for a successful career in musical theater education.

Kaelin Walker

Kaelin Li Walker hails from El Paso, Texas and is currently a Master’s of Public Policy student at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She has a BFA in Dance Performance and a BA in Women’s and Gender Studies. She has performed with and choreographed for El Paso’s youth theatre company Kids ‘n’ Co, performed in numerous musicals at the UTEP Dinner Theatre, and appeared in productions with the UTEP Department of Theatre and Dance. After having taught taekwondo to children for seven years, working as an undergrad TA, and teaching dance to young people, she continues to develop her pedagogical methodology as well as fostering arts appreciation through her work with Mayer Arts.

Carina Birkholz

Carina got her first tutu on her third birthday and has been dancing ever since! Growing up, she trained in ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, and musical theatre. She graduated in 2020 with a B.A. in Dance from the University of Minnesota, and her M.Ed. in Elementary Education in 2021. Carina is honored and excited to share her passion for movement with others. (Photo by Isabel Fajardo)

Emma Swain

Emma Swain is a German-American playwright and theatre artist based in Minneapolis, MN; originally from Grayslake, IL. She holds a B.A. in Music Theatre & English from Carthage College, and currently works as a stage manager, house manager, crew member, childcare provider, and teaching artist across the Twin Cities. Emma’s playwriting work has appeared in readings/workshops nationwide, including Orlando Rep., the Lanford Wilson Festival, Long Island University in NYC, at the Region III Kennedy Center Festival in Madison, WI, and at various high schools and colleges. Her work has also been published in a Smith & Kraus’ 2021 monologue anthology, with Theatrical Rights Worldwide, and in some scripts literary magazine’s recently published LGBTQ+ monologue anthology. Upcoming: TEQUILA SUNRISE will appear at Southeast Missouri University in October 2023. https://www.emmaswain.com/

 

Calista Weidemeier

Calista is a Minneapolis-based teaching artist and performer. She attended Stephens College in Columbia, MO for Musical Theatre Performance. Post-college, she began pursuing her two biggest passions: theatre and education. She is also a teaching artist at Lyric Arts, SOAR Regional Arts, and this school year she will be a swing teaching artist for the Disney Musicals In Schools program through Hennepin Theatre Trust. She is also the Administrator for Buffalo Community Theater. She is thrilled to be a teaching artist at Mayer!

Julia Litecky

Julia began competitively dancing in fifth grade and continued ever since. She is a recent Iowa State University graduate who danced throughout college on the ISU InnovAtion team, while also choreographing for the school’s DubH Hip Hop club. In her time between graduating college and attending law school, she will be continuing her love of dance by teaching with Mayer Arts!

Kaylee Clauson

Kaylee is an incoming junior studying public relations and theatre arts at Concordia St. Paul. She also recently graduated from NYU’s performing arts industry program. Kaylee has been working as a theatre educator and director for the past two years in the twin cities area and surrounding. She is beyond excited to continue this work with Mayer Arts this summer.

Hannah Litzinger

Hannah is a sophomore studying exercise science and dance at Concordia University, St Paul. She has been dancing for 16 years and has assisted teaching musical theater and ballet classes for the past 3 years. She is excited for the opportunity to work at Mayer Arts this summer as a teaching assistant for many musical theater camps! 

Katelyn Hendrickson

Katelyn has been performing for 19 years as a dancer, singer, and actor. As a dancer, she is trained in classical ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, and pointe. She was also a member of her high school and college dance teams that competed in high kick, jazz, and pom. While in college, Katelyn danced for the College of Saint Benedict Dance team for four years, and medaled at UDA Nationals. She was also part of the on-campus A Capella group, CSBeats, for three years. Katelyn’s coaching and teaching experience involves coaching the Rocori High School Dance Team for five years, teaching youth theater and dance camps through Community Education,and head instructing dance classes at the Medina Just For Kix. Katelyn is currently a school counselor at Anoka Middle School for the Arts, a Fall Performance Dance Team coach for Anoka High School, and a Varsity Assistant Coach for the Two Rivers High School Dance Team. She is excited for a fun summer of assisting and teaching theater camps, and teaching dance classes for Mayer Arts!

Olivia Lundberg

Olivia Lundberg is a 2022 Centennial High School graduate and will be attending the University of Northwestern St. Paul in the fall to study acting and music. She has been performing since the age of six and has studied voice and acting for five years and dance for two. She is very excited to combine her loves of theater and childcare with Mayer Arts this summer.

Hope Easter

Hope Easter started dancing at age 9 at the Anne Hebard School of Ballet in New York where she studied Ballet and Jazz. She has also studied Tap, Hiphop and Character Dance at the School at Steps. She has performed with Catskill Ballet Theatre, a regional ballet company, dancing both soloist and corp de ballet roles in ballet productions such as The Nutcracker, The Snow Queen, and Peter and the Wolf. Hope has attended summer intensives at Steps on Broadway, the Nutmeg Conservatory of Ballet, Richmond Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Nashville Ballet, and the State Street Ballet. She spent a year training at the Richmond Ballet and spent a year as a trainee at the Nashville Ballet under Paul Vasterling.

From 2018 to 2019 she was coached under the tutelage of Aaron Orza, former dancer with the San Francisco Ballet. In 2020 Hope joined the State Street Ballet in Santa Barbara CA where she performed in various productions throughout the year including the Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty. Hope is currently performing with the Continental Ballet in their 2021-2022 season. She is incredibly excited to be joining the Mayer Arts team and to share her love of dance with her students.

Lindsey Oetken

Lindsey is an actor and teaching artist, originally from LeMars, IA. She obtained her BA in Theatre Arts from Simpson College and most recently, her MFA in Acting from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Children’s theatre and education has a special place in her heart. Her first theatre job in college was for a small children’s theatre in northwest IA. Later, she spent a year touring the nation as a Tour Actor/Director for the Missoula Children’s Theatre. Lindsey is excited to be able to share her love of theatre and the arts, as well as make a positive impact on her community.