Ballet & Pointe Instructor
Madison Campbell grew up in Des Moines, Iowa where she first started her ballet training with Emery and Melissa Uyehara and performed in numerous productions with Iowa Dance Theatre. She supplemented her training at summer intensives such as; Joffrey Midwest, San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet, School of American Ballet, Philadelphia Ballet, and Nashville Ballet.
After graduating early from high school, Madison studied with Miami City Ballet School, The School of Philadelphia Ballet, and Nashville Ballet where she performed in various company performances, toured locally and to the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and participated in several community outreach events. Madison started her professional career with Cleveland Ballet in 2016, and within the same year began teaching. She has worked with all levels of students from 2-22 yrs and loves the challenge each age brings. She has helped children learn roles in the beloved Nutcracker, aided in several school productions, organized outreach performances and programs, and been a guest instructor at various summer intensives. In addition to starting her teaching career; Ms. Campbell is continuing her education in Social Work and Family and Human Development.
Madison loves watching all of her wonderful students grow to become young professionals in all aspects of their lives and believes dance creates a community unlike any other artform.
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Since 1978, Canton Ballet has offered Peter and the Wolf annually to area schools as one of its community outreach programs. A traveling production of Peter and the Wolf and lecture demonstrations for all ages are available for schools along with in-school dance residencies focusing on Preschool age children.
Sharon Walsh is a pianist and composer with over fourteen years of professional experience playing for the Tulsa Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Canton Ballet, Marymount Manhattan College, Ballet Hispanico & the Juilliard School. She has been a guest pianist for the Aspen Sante Fe Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Kansas City Ballet, Ballet Arts, American Ballet Theater, Ballet Tech, The French Academie of Ballet and The Nederlands Dans Theater 2. Guest artists she has played for include Jeff Edwards, Francois Perron, Caridad Martinez, Carol Roderick, Jacques Beltrame, William Whitener, Richard Marsden, Dawn Hillen, Kenny Larson and Viviana Durante. Sharon loves to instinctively incorporate jazz, broadway, opera, modern and personal compositions into her repertoire on request.
Born in Noci, Italy, Luca Sportelli started his dance education at a local dance studio before moving to Naples, Italy, at the age of eleven to study at the San Carlo Ballet School. He then transferred his studies to Romanian ballet teacher, Sylvia Humaila, where he danced until 2014.
That summer Luca received a full scholarship to study at the San Francisco Ballet School. One year later he started his professional career, dancing with such companies as Columbia Classical Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Moscow Ballet, and Kharkov Ballet, touring in the USA, Canada, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, China, and the Ukraine.
Luca is passionate about sharing his knowledge of dance with the next generation. He has taught at several dance studios, including Milele Academy in Nashville, TN, and Ohio Ballet Theatre, locally.
Master Guest Teacher
Zachary Catazaro was born in Canton, Ohio, and began his dance training at Canton Ballet under Cassandra Crowley, Angelo Lemmo and his mother Jennifer Catazaro Hayward, where he also received instruction from Laura Alonso. After graduation, Mr. Catazaro studied at the School of American Ballet the official school of the New York City Ballet in 2006. In October 2007 he became an apprentice with New York City Ballet, and joined the Company’s corps de ballet in October 2008. He was promoted to soloist in February 2014 and elevated to Principal dancer in 2017. Notable featured roles at New York City Ballet include the title role in George Balanchine’s Apollo, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, Romeo in Peter Martins’ production of Romeo + Juliet as well as Prince Siegfried in Martins’ full length production Swan Lake, among many others. Mr. Catazaro has also been featured in Jerome Robbins’ West Side Story Suite as Tony and Bernardo and performed in Robbins’ Dances at a Gathering and NY Export: Opus Jazz. In 2018 he was featured in Walt Disney’s film “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” dancing with American Ballet Theater’s Misty Copeland and appeared as himself in the Hulu documentary film “Ballet Now.” Mr. Catazaro danced with the Cleveland Ballet from 2021 until his retirement in April of 2023. Additionally, he has been a guest Principal at Bayerisches Staatsballett and Étoile Ospite with Teatro Dell’Opera di Roma and most recently, Los Angeles Ballet. On top of free lance dancing engagements, Mr. Catazaro has been studying at Liberty University’s School of Aeronautics through American Winds Flight Academy in Akron, Ohio. He has earned his Private Pilot Certificate, an Instrument Rating, and is currently working on his Commercial Certification and Bachelor’s of Science in Aviation.
Strength & Conditioning Specialist
Jason Exposito is a Physical Therapy Doctor specializing in Differential Diagnosis and Manipulation Therapy at Aultman Massillon Physical Therapy. His journey into dance began as an adult starring in Don Quixote alongside his wife, Kristen, igniting his passion. Since 2019, he’s been a regular adult guest artist at Canton Ballet, performing roles in The Nutcracker, Alice in Wonderland, Snow White, The Little Mermaid, and The Wizard of Oz.
Kristen Mulligan-Exposito was born and raised in Canton, Ohio. At a very young age after seeing the Canton Ballet perform its beloved Nutcracker, she instantly fell in love with dance. Unable to pursue her passion at that time, she went on to study music. She is a pianist and currently teaches privately. Her dance journey began in Julie Grasse’s adult beginner ballet class. Adding more classes, she eventually joined the Canton Ballet Company, becoming alumna in 2021.
January 1, 2023 Kristen accepted the position of Artistic Assistant at the Canton Ballet. Having the opportunity to share her love of this beautiful art form and help others to love it as well, is one of her greatest joys. She is grateful for all the Canton Ballet has to offer in our community. She counts it an honor and a privilege to serve in this role.
She and her husband, Jason Exposito, reside in Louisville, Ohio.
Anna Spinelli began her ballet studies at Canton Ballet. She has trained with renowned teacher Laura Alonso, as well as studied at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and North Carolina Ballet. Anna went on to study dance at Slippery Rock University where she was selected to perform in multiple pieces. Upon returning to Canton, she joined Canton Ballet as an instructor while attending Kent State University. Anna has performed lead roles for Canton Ballet, including Dewdrop and Marzipan in The Nutcracker and Glinda the Good Witch in Wizard of Oz. Anna obtained a degree in Middle Childhood Education and is currently teaching Mathematics at St. Joan of Arc School. She was married to her partner Erik in November 2023.
Angela (Natale) Ayotte recently joined Canton Ballet as the new Office Manager, but her roots go back to her days as a student, eventually becoming an alumna in ’94. After graduation, she pursued her love for the arts at Wright State University, focusing on dance. Her connection to Canton Ballet extends to her family – both her daughter and grandson are current students at the school. In addition to her work at the ballet, Angela volunteers throughout the community, currently serving as co-president of the Home & School Association at St. Joan of Arc School, a parish council member of St. Joseph Church, & co-administrator of St. Joseph’s Cupboard.
Resident Costume Designer
Mrs. Kaplan earned her Masters Degree in Fashion Design in Ukraine and created costumes for well known Russian dancers at the Odessa Opera House. She brought her Russian technique of costume and tutu design to the United States in the early 1990’s and began designing and creating for Canton Ballet. Mrs. Kaplan’s tutus are truly a work of art and reflect her passion for both the dancer and the role. She says, “a beautiful costume puts power into the dancer. When the dancer wears the perfect tutu the transformation into character is complete.” The challenge of creating a tutu that is not only beautiful and true to character but also comfortable for the dancer and sturdy enough to withstand the rigors of dance is a challenge Mrs. Kaplan enjoys.
Ms. Raub is a Stark County native and strategic leader with almost a decade of experience serving in diverse non-profit and grant-funded settings. She holds a Master of Business Administration from Walsh University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Mount Union. She brings to the ballet a background in successful fundraising, community outreach efforts, and project management. Most recently, she directed a federal grant at Walsh University, which included responsibilities for leading strategic planning, marketing and communications strategies, and event planning.
As a 2008 alumna, Ms. Raub spent 14 years as a student of the Canton Ballet. She then attended Mercyhurst College in Erie, PA as a dance major before heading to Jackson, MS in 2009 to perform as a trainee with Ballet Magnificat! Upon returning to the area, she instructed ballet classes and has choreographed and performed for many community events, including those to raise funds for the Canton Palace Theatre, Lion’s Lincoln Theatre, and Canton Ballet.
Ms. Raub resides locally with her husband and son and enjoys spending time with their lovable rescue lab, Mitzy.
Jazz and Tap
Chelsea Mae Shump began her dance and theatre training under the late Richard Moore at Theatre 8:15 in Akron, Ohio where she studied musical theatre, ballet, jazz, and singing. When she was 12, Chelsea had the opportunity to choreograph, which later blossomed into choreographing about 40 pieces yearly for Theatre 8:15. After Richard’s passing, Chelsea decided to focus on ballet and modern and train under Brenda and Christopher Stygar at NorthEast Ohio Dance. At NEOD, she was a member of the Ensemble with lead roles in The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, and Paquita among others. At age 15, Chelsea danced professionally with MorrisonDance of Cleveland in collaboration with NASA. She also travelled frequently to study under tap greats Lynn Schwabb, Jimmy Tate, Dormeshia Edwards, and Sarah Savelli. In 2010, Chelsea became a professional dancer with RED Company real.edge.dance under Kelli Sanford where she performed as Principal and also a choreographer. From 2009-2013, Chelsea was the Assistant Director of Spotlight Theatre Company.
Chelsea has been an instructor at many schools teaching tap, jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, ballet, and musical theatre. Her choreography can be seen across the country and has won many choreography and entertainment awards nationally. Her passion for the performing arts leads her drive to constantly improve her own technique, her students’ technique, and her teaching skills.
Early Childhood Specialist
Julie Mizer-Grasse began her dance training at the age of six at Canton Ballet, where she was the youngest member accepted into the Company. She danced in many storybook ballets including the Nutcracker, Cinderella, and Hansel and Gretel as well as numerous original piece sets on the Company by award winning choreographers. Summer studies include Cleveland Ballet (Now San Jose Ballet) and renowned teachers such as Melissa Hayden and Gus Giordano.
After dancing with the University of Akron Dance Ensemble, she graduated, taught at several studios, came full circle, returned to Canton Ballet and is now the Early Childhood Specialist. Mrs. Grasse was the lead dance provider for ALL in the CCSD preschool department, having written the original curriculum. She was at Westbrook Park Nursery School for 25 years teaching music, movement, and dance. She is certified as an early childhood educator as well as being Playright, Leap & Learn and Youth Protection Advocates in Dance certified.
Ms. Catazaro Hayward began her ballet studies at Canton Ballet in 1978. She was awarded scholarships to George Balanchine’s School of American Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and Dallas Metropolitan Ballet before receiving a full-year scholarship to the School of American Ballet in New York City. While there, she studied with renowned teachers Suki Shorer, Stanley Williams, and Alexandra Danilova. Jennifer won first place in the Regional National Society of Arts & Letters competition in dance in 1985 and was awarded scholarships from the National Competition.
Jennifer attended the University of Akron and joined the School of Canton Ballet faculty in 1990. Jennifer’s students have danced professionally with such companies as New York City Ballet, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Dayton Ballet, and L.A. Dance Project. Jennifer is married to John C. Hayward, and they are the proud parents of four children. The eldest, Zachary, formerly a principal dancer with NYCB, is an international guest artist and a soon-to-be commercial pilot. Cameron is a soloist with Miami City Ballet Company. Bella is a senior at Capital University, and finally, Max, an up-and-coming dancer, is studying at the renowned American Ballet Theatre JKO School in New York City.