The Westport Weston Family Y's Dance Center has begun its fall/winter program under a new director.

Lillian Cenatiempo -- known to Y students and staff as Lillian Fama before her marriage last month -- has been named Dance Center director, succeeding Michele Conklin.

Cenatiempo previously headed the Y's petite and mini-company classes and has taught ballet, jazz and hip hop, the Y said in a news release.

"We're thrilled to have Lillian lead our dance program," Sally Silverstein, the Y's senior director for sports and recreation, said in the release. "She has a wonderful rapport with her dancers, and a strong background in jazz, tap and hip hop."

Silverstein also credited Cenatiempo's skills as a choreographer as a factor in the Y winning trophies at the Nexstar National Talent Dance Competition in New Haven.

For more than 25 years, the Y has provided a variety of classes, including ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, modern, hip hop and others for children, teens and adults.

Classes are offered for fun, and more advanced programs are for competitions.

"It's a blessing to be given this opportunity but slightly daunting to be leading a program that has such history to it," Cenatiempo said in the release. "I'm really excited to see what this year brings for the kids and our great staff and to see how the program continues to evolve."

She credits Conklin for building a program based on education and giving participants a solid foundation in the fundamentals.

As a former competitive dancer, Cenatiempo knows the joy of taking home trophies. But the base of dance participation must be enjoyment, she said.

"Competition is good, as long as you know at the end of the day that what you do in the studio and on stage is something you enjoy," she said. "Because if you're not having fun, you're not learning, you're not motivated. So we try to get our dancers to take competition performances with a grain of salt, to keep it in perspective."