As a child, Maria Hansen studied ballet, tap, jazz and gymnastics. In 1986, she began to study Ballroom Dancing. She instantly fell in love with the idea of partner dancing and decided that this would be the path that her life would take.
Maria began her career in Professional competition in the American Smooth and American Rhythm divisions, but later switched to International Style Standard and Latin.
After only a year of competing, Maria became a finalist in the United States National Rising Star Latin Championship. She had also began competing in the Ballroom division, and soon after decided to pursue that style exclusively.
In 1990, Maria began a partnership with Stuart Cole. Within 3 years, the couple made every final in the United States. They even climbed to win the 2nd place spot at the United States Championships in 1993. As a result, Stuart and Maria had the honor of representing the U.S. at the World Championship held in Denmark. They also represented the United States in the infamous Team Match at the Blackpool Dance Festival in England.
In 1996, Maria partnered with Nicholas Cotton. As with Stuart, Maria and Nicholas went on to make every final in the U.S. and also went on to win the Ohio Star Ball Showdance Championship with the infamous “Toilet Paper Number” (see video below). This win made them the North American Showdance Champions of 1997.
Maria’s last partnership was with Paul Holmes. Together, they made every U.S. final, but both partners were towards the end of their careers and decided to retire together after a year.
After retirement from competitive dancing, Maria took her adjudicating exams and is now an in-demand judge across the country. In 2008, Maria became very interested in studying kinesiology, postural and movement correction at the CHEK Institute in California and has implemented many of these ideas into her teaching and training program.
Maria is also a co-organizer of the Vegas Open Dance Championships with Mikal Watkins and former partner, Paul Holmes.