Maria began dancing at the young age of four, began competing as a pre-teen, and began instructing as a young adult. Maria studied a variety of dance styles at Betty Hill Dance Studios in Des Moines, Iowa. There, she learned and competed in tap, ballet, jazz, musical theater, acrobatics, pointe, and partnering. Additionally, she assisted and instructed at Betty Hill Dance Studios for nearly a decade, along with additional studios in Central Iowa. At the same time, she choreographed jazz, high kick, and pom numbers for local high school dance teams. And Maria performed professionally, most notably on Disneyland's stages.
While instructing in a variety of dance styles in her adult years, Maria earned undergraduate degrees in Chemical Engineering and French from Iowa State University, along with a Masters in Business Administration. Following university, Maria led a second career as a chemical engineer for 3M Company and later a product development director for UnitedHealth Group in the Twin Cities. More recently, Maria rededicated her life to creative arts as an instructor at Woodbury Dance Center for a number of years prior to establishing Lake Area Dance Center.
Now a teacher of greater than 25 years, Maria finds herself lucky to continue to pursue her sole lifelong passion - DANCING - whether in administering the studio's activities, managing all teaching and administrative staff, or instructing recreational and competitive dancers of all styles and levels of proficiency. Maria strives to keep abreast of the latest and greatest in dance attending dance workshops conducted by renowned choreographers as well as maintaining a vast dance network of former instructors, well-reputed colleagues in the creative arts, student alumni, and fellow dancers as an adjudicator for competition production companies, or a guest choreographer at studios throughout the Midwest. Outside of dance, Maria enjoys spending time with family including her husband Francois, her daughter Alison, and her son Anthony.
Most of all, Maria is proud to see her students dedicate their life to dancing in some form beyond their time spent at Lake Area Dance Center. Alumni have gone on to study dance as university students, to perform professionally with dance teams and companies, to instruct and choreograph for next generations, to continue to take class as adult students, and/or to apply their learnings as students to careers in exercise science and physical therapy... or simply LIFE!