Mohler Dance Academy Faculty
All Mohler Dance Academy classes are taught by adult instructors. We have assembled a faculty of highly-educated and caring teachers that are dedicated to providing your dancer with the highest level of training in a nurturing and non-competitive environment.
Tressa Mohler, MDE – Owner and Director
Tressa Mohler, Owner and Director, is an accomplished educator in all forms of dance including ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, modern and creative movement for young children. With over 30 years of teaching experience, she has the ability to instill the necessary foundation in young children to better equip them for their future in dance, school and life. Her ability to teach all levels and ages is undeniable.
While earning her degrees (BA in Dance and BA in Business Management), she studied under Rory Foster (ABT and author of Ballet Pedagogy: The Art of Teaching), Eileen Cropley (Paul Taylor Company), Harriet Ross, Randy Duncan, Julie Cartier, Joel Hall and more. From 1995-1998, she was Dance Department Head at the Valparaiso Conservatory of Performing Arts, developing the dance curriculum and organizing many outreach programs and performances.
Tressa believes in the importance of continuing her own business and dance education on an annual basis by attending teacher seminars, conferences and movement workshops throughout the country and has been certified as a Master Dance Educator through the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters.
Beyond owning and operating Mohler Dance Academy for over 12 years, she has founded and is director of M3 Dance, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit dance company offering additional performance opportunities for young dancers and sharing the art of dance through community outreach initiatives.
Tristan Bruns - Instructor (Tap)
While studying at Columbia, in 2003, Tristan was accepted into the Chicago Human Rhythm Project's performing ensemble, BAM!, under the direction of Lane Alexander. This was Tristan's introduction to the professional dance community. He was a member of BAM! for seven years, performing at locations such as China, Mexico, and Spain, and at local venues such as the Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park, Harris Theater for Music and Dance, and the Museum of Contemporary Art.
In 2008, Tristan expanded his professional career by joining The Cartier Collective, under Julie Cartier, and shortly after, MADD Rhythms, under Bril Barrett. Tristan's credits outside of local dance companies include a featured performance in the Chicago Dance Crash production of Busta Keaton, several appearances at Dance Chicago, and local theater performances of his own vaudeville-style comedy-dance act, Tapman.
Currently, Tristan has turned his attention to creating his own dance business ventures, including a tap dance company under his direction, aptly named The Tapmen, and his own production company, Tapman Productions, LLC. Tristan's goal with his new ventures is to have a vehicle through which to showcase his own work, and to grow as an artist and producer in Chicago.
Kaitlin Collins – Instructor (Hip Hop, Jazz)
Kaitlin began dancing at Bataille Academie of the Danse where she trained until she was 18 as a member of their Elite Dance Company. While studying Spanish and Italian languages at Illinois State University, she danced with the Illinois State University Competitive Dance Team and competed at NDA Nationals in Florida in Jazz and Hip Hop. She then pursued her love of hip hop by co-founding and co-directing Urban Movement, a semi-professional hip hop and urban dance company based out of Illinois State University. Kaitlin also danced with Cereal Killaz, a side project of professional dancers of Chicago based out of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Kaitlin has performed in the Halftime Show at the 2012 Orange Bowl choreographed by Mandy Moore, the "Don't Forget Your Bit" promotional video for the University of Illinois' new Engineering Building, the opening performance for Red Man on tour in Chicago with Hip Hop ConnXion HQ, and most recently, Kaitlin performed in Rome at The Yellow Bar. Today, Kaitlin is a member of Hip Hop ConnXion HQ, a professional hip hop company in the Chicago suburbs, of which she has been a part of for the past 5 years. Kaitlin is also an interactive entertainer with A-Z Entertainment, bringing the joy of dance and music to all kinds of events from day camps and mitzvahs to corporate events and birthday parties.
Renee Heitman - Instructor (Ballet, Musical Theater, Acro, Jazz)
Renee Heitman brings a diverse background that includes the performing arts and business. She holds a B.S. in Arts Administration, dance emphasis from Butler University where she participated in a unique curriculum that combined daily classes in dance technique with related courses in the arts, arts administration and business. She also holds an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management and has used her experience to work in marketing and administrative capacities within corporate, agency and non-profit environments.
As a company member of the Butler Ballet, Renee performed in classical ballet productions as well as original works set across a variety of dance forms. She also performed in musical theatre productions, on campus events and was an active member and President of Sigma Rho Delta, an honorary dance fraternity. In addition to dance, Renee was a gymnast early in life and grew up playing the piano and cello. She has participated in orchestral and choral music groups as an ensemble member and accompanist.
Combining her love of dance and music, Renee enjoys the opportunity to contribute choreography to musical theatre productions at the community and school level. Choreography credits include: Grease, How to Succeed in Business, Once Upon a Mattress, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as well as junior productions of Annie, Fiddler on the Roof, and Music Man, among others.
Renee is excited to share her passion for the arts and the joy that comes from moving to music with students of all ages.
Tatyana Mazur – Instructor (Chicago Ballet Conservatory)
Tatyana Mazur graduated from the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg and danced professionally with the Odessa Government Theatre of Opera and Ballet. Tatyana holds Masters degrees in Ballet and Dance. For 12 years, she directed the Government Children’s Dance Company, Yaroslavna, from Kiev, where she successfully staged many ballets including The Nutcracker, Snow Queen and Paquita. As director of Yaroslavna, she toured France, Germany, Italy, Israel and more. From 1998 to 2002 she instructed the classes at Akron University’s Dance Institute in Ohio and staged Snow Maiden and Swan Lake. Tatyana has now been in Chicago for over 17 years serving as Ballet Mistress and staging classical ballet programs with Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Coppelia, La Bayadere, Giselle and more.
CARSON REINERS – Instructor (Contemporary)
Carson Reiners is originally a NYC performer/choreographer/visual artist who relocated to Chicago in 2014. She has been the recipient of the 2016 Krannert Center Emerging Artist Grant, 2016/2017 Principle Dance Studio Residency, 2015 IAP grant from the city of Chicago, 2015 recognized choreographer for DanceChance Redux 6.0 and has shown work at High Concept Labs, University of Chicago, Harold Washington Library, Gerald Arpino Black Box Theatre, Goethe Institute, Aplomb Gallery, Hubbard Street Studios, Chicago Dance Month and more.
Prior to living in Chicago, Carson was based out of NYC where she danced for years under many prominent choreographers and had her work presented at Judson Church, Dixon Place, Tada Theatre, Brick Theatre, Reverb Dance Festival, WestFest, KoDaFe. Much of Carson's professional career has taken her abroad and she has worked in international projects in Europe, India, Peru, South Africa, and Israel for significant periods of time. This has included the project and tour of "Kindling" in India, the international collaboration "Crossings" in South Africa, and "Las Sacerdotistas de Machu Picchu" in Peru. She attended CODARTS in Rotterdam, Netherlands and graduated with a BFA in dance from the Anton Bruckner Universitat in Linz, Austria. She is an avid movement educator and can be found teaching throughout the state of Illinois.
Anna Spelman – Instructor (Chicago Ballet Conservatory)
Anna Spelman began training at the age of three in Philadelphia, PA and by the time she was nine, she was studying ballet seriously at the San Diego Ballet School and later at the Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham. Anna danced on scholarship at the School of American Ballet in New York where she studied under George Balanchine at the age of eleven. During her ten-year professional career with ABT, Anna toured the major US cities as well as France, Italy, Japan and Israel. Anna danced and acted in the films “Hair” choreographed by Twyla Tharp and “Dancers”, directed by Herbert Ross and filmed in Livorno, Italy. Her television credits include: Live from Lincoln Center, PBS special Twyla Tharp with ABT, and American Ballet Theatre in San Francisco, and Don Quioxite ABT with Mikhail Baryshnikov at the Met, and the David Gordon television special Dance in America.
She has worked closely with choreographers in both ballet and modern dance including George Balanchine, Kenneth MacMillan, Jerome Robbins, Antony Tudor, Frederick Ashton, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Merce Cunningham, David Gordon, Paul Taylor and Twyla Tharp. Anna continues to fuel her passion for dance by teaching her craft. Anna has completed her intensive training in the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum and is a certified ABT instructor. She resides in Naperville with her husband and their four children.
Randall "Taye" Walker - Instructor (Hip Hop)
Randall Walker, also known as Taye, is a native Californian who began dancing in his adolescent years. He ventured into the art of street dancing, being trained in various types of Hip Hop and battle dancing. Within this realm, he was recognized as a skilled dancer, securing him a spot to perform at Carnival, the Choreographer's ball. Randall's ambition and dedication was noticed by one of MC Hammer's top choreographers, which led to the opportunity to tour with acts like MC Hammer, Halo, and Mindless Behavior. Randall has performed as a background dancer on stage for over nine years. He has appeared on music videos by artists such as Skrip, JMoss and Halo. Some of his recent accomplishments include the American Music Awards 2012 and a dancing appearance on the set of the movie "Dreams."
Always striving to give back, Randall regularly works with a program that performs motivational dance plays, addressing the issue of bullying, in community schools throughout the country. Taye continues to perform in various venues and events while instructing young dancers. His unique teaching style employs a positive, uplifting approach that energizes and inspires.
The following teachers have either set pieces on our dancers or have conducted master classes at our studio:
- Iddrisu Alhassan
- Bril Barrett
- Lauren Blane
- Julie Cartier
- Randy Duncan
- Jay Fagan
- Connie Fagan-Sweeney
- Stephanie Paul
- Jeremy Plummer
- Kaitlin Webster
- Jeff Wolfe