Maria has been immersed in the arts community since her childhood in Kiev, Ukraine. Her love for music started early on and was ignited by her preschool music teacher, who let her play with musical instruments while other kids were napping. Later, she spent several years in music school honing her piano skills. Even then the instructors saw within her a capacity to help others. That, along with high rankings, made her one of the most often sought after partners for music and dance performances.
Maria moved to the USA in 1997. And she was looking to continue her passion for dance, which began in school and has continued ever since, even through different stages of her life, including establishing her professional career as a CPA and motherhood. In her search for a good ballroom studio, Maria met Rebecca Sweet in 2004 and Viva Dance Studio became her home. She spent most of her free time learning various styles of dancing, including American Rhythm, American Smooth, International Latin, International Standard, and a variety of social dances (Argentine Tango, Salsa, Mambo On2, Cha-Cha-Cha/Boogaloo, Bachata, Lindy Hop, West Coast Swing, and more recently Kizomba and Zouk).
In her journey to become a better dancer, Maria has trained with amazing Viva Dance Studio coaches, Rebecca Sweet and Heriberto Perez, as well as many other well-known coaches and judges. She is also a graduate of Mestre Petchu’s 40 hour Kizomba, Semba and Tarraxinha Teacher Training course, as well as Alex and Desiree Dominican Bachata Teacher Certification program.
She has been a part of Viva Dance Studio performing dance team, Saoco De Mambo, since its inception in 2005. During that time, she has coached with Eddie Torres, Adolfo Indacochea and Melissa Rosado. As part of the team, Maria also performed at various venues, including DC Capital Congress. Eventually, Maria graduated to become one of the directors of Cleveland’s premier mambo shines and styling team, Azucar! Her team performed nationwide at numerous congresses, studios, and clubs.
Maria’s dancing and teaching philosophy: everyone CAN dance! – “dance with your heart, and your feet will follow!” ☺