Meet the Team

carol ceniti mpdc

Carol Ceniti

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Carol Marion Ceniti
Director of the Madison Professional Dance Center (MPDC)
Jazz – Lyrical – Musical Theater

Carol received her B.S. in Physical Education and Dance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has been active as a dance instructor, performer, and choreographer nation-wide for the past 29 years; training with professionals from jazz and modern companies, including Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, River North Chicago Dance Company, Spectrum Dance Theatre, Nicholais/Murray Louis Dance Company and the Joseph Holmes Dance Company. Carol has served as Jazzworks Dance Company’s Artistic Director and principle choreographer since 1985, contributing 60 works to the company’s repertoire. Under her direction, the company has earned a reputation for being “sophisticated, technically proficient, and tremendously entertaining…” (The Wisconsin State Journal), and “one of the gems of Madison’s performing arts landscape” (The Overture Center).

Carol teaches all levels of jazz dance and choreographs for the dance companies at MPDC. Carol’s choreography is dynamic and athletic, often combining movement vocabulary from ballet, modern and jazz dance. Her work has been described as “Innovative…charming and breezy…no clichés” (Dance International). Career highlights include receiving one bronze and two silver medals at the International Choreographer’s Competition at the Jazz Dance World Congress, performing her work at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, as well as in Wiesbaden, Germany, setting her work on the Amsterdam School of the Arts Dance Company in Holland, receiving the 1999 Wisconsin Dance Council Leadership Award and the 2003 and 1997 Choreographer’s Fellowship from the Wisconsin Arts Board. Carol travels throughout the United States, teaching dance majors at university dance programs and setting her choreography on regional dance companies.

sharon butler madison professional dance center

Sharon Butler
Tap - Jazz - Ballet

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Sharon Butler is a native of Madison and is happy and proud to be a part of MPDC.  Sharon recently retired after 42 years of teaching dance.  Sharon was the owner and artistic director of West Side Performing Arts for 30 years and co-director of Performing Arts for Children for 10 years.  Sharon is proud of being the 1999/2000 Tremaine National Dance Teacher of the Year.  She is also very proud to have three alumni that have been performing in several Broadway Shows, and 40 students working professionally in touring companies and as teachers.  Jamie King, WSPA alumni, is the artistic director for Madonna, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Ricky Martin, Spice Girls, Rihanna and most recently directed the “Michael Jackson:  One The Immortal World Tour” for Cirque du Soleil.

Sharon will enjoy still being a part of the dance world at MPDC.

Karen Smith English
Ballet - Modern

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Karen began her training at Northern Illinois University, studying ballet and modern dance and receiving a BA in Theater Dance Performance.  Upon receipt of her degree, she was offered a scholarship to study with the Joseph Holmes Dance Company in Chicago.  Her professional career took off while dancing principle roles with Emergence Dance Theater under the direction of Sandra Schramel.  As a soloist with the Lynda Martha Dance Company of Chicago, Karen toured the U.S. and performed in Amsterdam.  Other performance credits include creating and performing in The Passage of Time: Fair System Project, a joint choreography project with Andy Taylor-Blenis at Eastern Illinois University.  Karen’s choreographic works were commissioned by Dance Wisconsin for three seasons as well as by the Connolly Dance Company.  In 2004, she served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Connolly Dance Company and was featured as a guest artist for their winter season.  Karen has been teaching dance for 29 years.  Her teaching credits include five years at the Milwaukee Ballet School, seven years at the Monona Academy of Dance, two years at The School of Madison Ballet, eight years at the Madison Professional Dance Center, and four years at the Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center for the renowned ballet teacher, Homer Hans Bryant.  Karen was also a guest on faculty at the Rockford Ballet School for their Summer Intensive in 2002.  Currently, Karen is on the faculty at Steps Dance Center in Aurora IL, and is very happy to be back at the Madison Professional Dance Center.

imani english dance teacher at mpdc

Imani English
Modern - Ballet

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Imani English

A native of Madison, WI, Imani began her dance training under the direction of Jean Adams at the Monona Academy of Dance and the Madison Profession Dance Center’s pre-professional company.

She has received scholarships from The Wisconsin Dance Council, The Anthony Quinn Foundation, Dance Chicago and was also awarded the Rahm Emmanuel Scholarship to attend intensive programs at River North Dance Chicago.

Ms. English is a 2014 graduate and Valedictorian of the Chicago High School for the Arts. There, she performed repertoire from Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Muntu Dance Theater, the Joffrey Ballet and performed with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Memoria. Imani has performed works by renowned choreographers such as Harrison McEldowney, Kristofer Storey, Demis Volpi, Christopher Huggins, Jennifer Archibald, Tahehiro Ueyama, among others.

Imani joined DanceWorks Chicago in 2014 and in 2016 joined Dallas Black Dance Theatre’s DBDT: Encore! where she spent two seasons. During that time, she also performed with the Dallas Opera in Samson and Dalila and most recently with Tony Award winning Dallas Theater Center in their production of the Broadway musical Hairspray.

Ms. Imani and has been on the faculty of the Dallas Black Dance Academy, The Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center, and Steps Dance Center, and has also taught for prestigious summer intensives in the Chicago area including, River North Chicago summer program, “Made In Chicago” Dance Intensive, and DanceWorks Chicago’s Dance360 program.

She looks forward to sharing her passion for teaching at MPDC!

Valerie Homburg
Ballet - Jazz - Lyrical

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Valerie’s journey into the world of dance began at the age of two due to her inability to avoid running into inanimate objects. Unbeknownst to her parents, this problem-solving tool would quickly become one of the most essential aspects of her life. Valerie danced at several studios in Madison until finding her home at The Madison Professional Dance Center, where she studied under the care of Carol Ceniti. She was a member of MPDC’s Senior Company for six years and team captain her Senior Year. Valerie has also gained experience by attending Jazz Dance World Congress, River North Dance Chicago workshops, and multiple other summer programs. She was also a member of Monona Grove’s Dance Team and captain for two of the years. She was three times voted as the Most Valuable Dancer and was also recognized with multiple awards by Badgerette Pom Pon and UDA programs.

Valerie has performed in Madison Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker and was The Sugar Plum Fairy in Verona Youth Ballet’s production in 2011. She also had the opportunity to perform with the late company Jazzworks.

Additionally, she played an integral role in putting together and performing a multi-faceted performance through UW Madison’s OMAI First Wave. She is a UW Madison graduate in Conservation Biology and Environmental Studies.  While at the UW, she had the opportunity to study many different styles of dance through elective courses.  Valerie turned her focus towards teaching in 2011, and has taught ballet, jazz, and lyrical at MPDC. The rewards of teaching are boundless, and she is excited to continue sharing her passion with others.

Ariel Juarez
Hip Hop

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Ariel Juarez (AJ), a native of Argentina, has been dancing for 16 years.  He began his training in Latin ballroom, but quickly discovered a love for lyrical jazz, musical theatre, hip hop, and modern contemporary styles. 

AJ studied dance at the Julio Bocca School of Musical Theatre and immediately began performing in productions of “Applause” and “Aladdin” in Argentina’s Broadway.  For 2 years he was a member of Chet Walker’s Fosse Company before he became a featured dancer on Royal Caribbean Cruises and Celebrity Cruises. 

For 3 years, Ariel danced and choreographed for popular TV programs including Argentina’s “Dancing with the Stars,” “Singing for a Dream,” and “Dreaming to Dance.”  He continues his training to tis day with trips to Los Angeles, Argentina, Chicago, and New York because he feels a dancer can always improve.  AJ is excited to bring his passion for dance to Madison Professional Dance Center and share the joy of the music.

trinity_lunsten madison professional dance center

Trinity Lundsten
Hip Hop

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Trinity has been dancing since she was 3 years old.  She began dancing with the Visceral Company in Chicago at age 6 and was trained in ballet and Contemporary under the tutelage of Nick Pupillo. 

She discovered hip hop at 10 and began training in hip hop to complement her study of ballet and Contemporary. 

Trinity began traveling and training nationally to improve her technique. She has trained in Florida, Colorado, Texas, Los Angeles, St Louis, Argentina, and more. 

Trinity has had the privilege of performing with The Squad out of Orlando and The Puzzle League out of Chicago, and competed with them as they won the World Dance Orlando, 2018 and World Dance Chicago, 2018.  She presently dances on the professional crew of The Puzzle League, who just placed 4th in the very prestigious international competition, Body Rock.  Trinity also currently trains with her friend and mentor, Ariel Juarez (Aj) from Madison, WI, and has been for over 3 years.

After spending several years as a substitute dance teacher and teaching assistant at conventions, Trinity has enjoyed teaching her own classes and choreographing competition dances in Huntley, Il.  Trinity is excited to join the Madison Professional Dance Center and work with their amazing students, parents, and faculty.   

Trinity is excited to join Madison Dance Company and work with their amazing students, parents, and faculty.

Jeannette Newberry
Contemporary - Ballet - Hip Hop

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Jeanette Newberry grew up dancing at the Madison Professional Dance Center, competing with the junior and senior dance companies.

She attended River North & Joffrey Summer Intensive Workshops in Chicago and Colorado during the summer to further her training.

Jeanette also performed with Dance Wisconsin for two seasons and performed in Canada at the Regional Dance Festival.

She has been teaching and choreographing for MPDC for the past 6 years.

Jeanette recently earned her degree from Edgewood College in elementary education with a minor in special education.  

lillian wilner mpdc ballet teacher

Lillian Wilner

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Lillian began her training at the University of Utah’s School of Ballet, under the direction of William Christiansen. She received a scholarship to attend high school at the North Carolina School of Fine Arts. Her early training also included scholarships to the Banff School of Fine Arts and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. Lillian trained in New York City with Maggie Black, Zenna Rommett, Laura Alonso and David Howard. She performed as an Apprentice with Les Grand Ballet Canadians before starting her professional career with the Alberta Ballet Company. Her professional career included lead roles in Allegro Brilliante, Raymonda, Paquita, Coppelia, Firebird, Cinderella, Promenade, Melodie, Effanesence/Knoxville, Alice in Wonderland and The Nutcracker, as well as numerous other roles. Lillian was a Principal with the Indianapolis Ballet and the Alberta Ballet Company. During her professional career, Lillian taught at various schools in Edmonton, Alberta, such as the Alberta School of Ballet, Lecky School of Dance and Dance Workshop Studio.

She attended Canada’s National Ballet School’s Intensive Teacher Training Courses for three years before moving to Wisconsin in 1988 with her husband. In 1988, Lillian opened her own school, The Wisconsin Academy of Ballet, in Spring Green, Wisconsin. She taught all levels of Ballet and produced and choreographed The Nutcracker for six years. She also was a guest teacher at Ballet Madison, the Madison School of Ballet and Kanopy Dance. In 2000, she closed her school to take a job with the Madison Ballet as the Ballet Mistress. In 2001, she began working at the Madison Professional Dance Center (MPDC), teaching Intermediate and Advanced Ballet, Pointe, Variations and Stretch & Strengthen. She started up the “Ballet Company”, working with a chosen group of ten dancers to prepare choreography and set variations for competitions. She moved back to Calgary, Alberta, in 2006, and taught at the Alberta School of Ballet, as well as the MacDonald Wilson Dance Academy. Lillian returned to Wisconsin in September, 2010, and has enjoyed teaching at MPDC and choreographing for the MPDC Company.

Sarah Zeisser
Jazz - Tap - hip hop

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Sarah is the former coach of the nationally ranked University of Wisconsin Dance Team and a former member of the nationally ranked University of Minnesota Dance Team. Sarah is also a former instructor for West Side Performing Arts in Madison, Wisconsin under the direction of Sharon Butler. Sarah currently teaches for the Madison Professional Dance Center in Madison, Wisconsin.

Sarah acts as a choreographer and consultant for studio-based, elementary, high school, all-star and collegiate dance teams across the Midwest.  Sarah is also a former instructor and choreographer for Universal Dance Association, and is a veteran judge for the National College Dance Team Championships and National High School Dance Team Championships hosted by UCA/UDA and televised on ESPN.

Sarah is an American Ballet Theatre® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.

Sarah possesses over 30 years of dance experience in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, modern, hip hop, and pom pon.