Maria Knisley – Studio Director

Maria began studying Ballet at age 4, taking her first classes in Dana Point, Ca. Over the years, she studied and performed for companies and people such as Lila Zali of Ballet Pacifica, Deborah Palesch of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet of Canada and Santa Rosa Ballet, Petrus Von Moyden of the Royal Danish Ballet and Redwood Empire Ballet, Maria Veigh of Marin Ballet and San Francisco Ballet, Marcella Contessi of North Bay Performing Arts, And Mary DiLillo, Debbie-Ann Medina, Laura Brannen, and Suzan Mathies of the Santa Rosa Junior College Dance Department where she was instrumental in the development of the Dance certificate program. Throughout her training, she studied several different methods of classical ballet including R.A.D. (Royal Academy of Dance), Checcheti method, as well as the Vaganova method. Maria began her family and began to attend college where she earned her teaching certificate in dance and an AA in fine arts. She later also completed a BA in Psychology.

Maria has been teaching Ballet and Jazz to children and adults for over 25 years in northern and southern California, and has enjoyed the opportunity to work with the Big Bear High School drama and music departments choreographing the plays and musicals since 2010. She now teaches ballet and jazz at her own studio, Moonridge School of Dance in Big Bear Lake, Ca.

She specializes in comprehensive Ballet training in a safe and positive environment. She believes that through the education of dance and the arts, students learn to thrive and succeed in their personal lives as well as their scholastic and professional careers. She truly enjoys sharing her passion and joy of dance and music with all of her students.