- Certified in Progressing Ballet Technique
- Dance Masters of the Bluegrass Chapter #40 President
- Former Education Chair
Maria Whaley has over 35 years of experience in dance performance, teaching, choreographing, and directing. In addition to her work at Ashland Regional Dance Theatre, Mrs. Maria founded and serves as director of the Ashland Youth Ballet, the resident company of the Paramount Arts Center, since 1989. She began teaching after training and performing at Virginia Intermont College, the Atlanta Ballet, and a variety of teachers from influential programs such as Joffrey Ballet, Julliard, and American Ballet Theatre. Throughout her career, Mrs. Maria has staged productions from state pageants to regional and community theater to concert dance to lecture demonstrations. A former Kentucky Arts Council Roster Artist, Mrs. Maria has conducted residencies and workshops in many school districts in Kentucky and Ohio, and continues to provide professional development seminars to integrate the arts into the core curriculum. Her students have been awarded local, state, and national titles/awards and have been selected to attend renowned training programs from American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, Nutmeg Conservatory. Virginia School for the Arts, The Rock, Pointe Park College, and many more. Her students have gone on to professional careers as professors of dance, on and off Broadway performers, dance and theater instructors, and to dance nationally and internationally.
Mrs. Whaley is a graduate of Marshall University with a Master of Arts from the University of Dayton in Theological Studies. Mrs. Whaley also teaches at St. Joseph High School in Ironton, OH where she teaches theology at the high school level and teaching/directing performing arts at the grade school and high school levels.
Mrs. Maria and her husband, Larry, have three grown sons who have all danced and tumbled growing up. In her limited free time, Mrs. Maria enjoys walking every morning, gardening, and spending quiet time at home with her dogs, and being involved in her church community.