Maria has been teaching dance throughout the St. Louis area for over 25 years. She grew up training under her mentors, Deborah, Tracy, and Karen Davenport at Performing Arts Centre in St. Charles, MO, where she is currently on faculty.
Maria is a former member of Manhattan Tap, under the direction of world renowned tap dancer and musician, Heather Cornell. Maria joined the ensemble for their European and Midwest tours. She had the extreme honor of touring with late tap dance great, Dr. Buster Brown, and was an original cast member in Manhattan Tap’s “Excursion Fare,” which featured Keith Terry and Crosspulse and premiered at the Joyce Theater.
Since returning to St. Louis in 1999, Maria joined the faculty at COCA, serving as Tap Program Coordinator, COCAdance Company Associate Director, and Pre-Professional Program Director. She is a former member of the R. L. Reed Tap Heritage Institute Board of Directors, and assisted with the production of the annual St. Louis Tap Festival.
In 2017, Maria founded moSTLy TAP, a professional performance ensemble, to boost enthusiasm for tap dance and encourage audiences to enjoy rhythm in new ways. In 2018, under the leadership of Phillip Russo, moSTLy JAZZ was formed. The ensembles produce live music and dance performances at community engagements and venues throughout St. Louis. In 2019, Maria developed STL Rhythm Collaborative, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit education organization passionate about providing accessible performing arts opportunities for all. The organization has growing music and dance education programs, free community events for all ages, and presents live music & dance performances through the professional ensembles, moSTLy TAP & moSTLy JAZZ.
Maria is honored to be an adjunct professor of dance, teaching ballet, jazz, and tap dance at Missouri Baptist University and Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville.