Maria Tsorokean (nee Wheeler)
It hasn’t always been ballroom. In fact, it easily could not have happened at all. Surprisingly few years ago, Maria walked into a studio (she wasn’t even aware it was a dance studio) to try a Zumba class. After the class was over, an onlooker (who turned out to be the studio owner) approached her and asked if she had danced before. Skipping to the end of that story, she took one lesson and was immediately hooked.
A lifelong resident of Cincinnati, OH, Maria is the oldest of five. Even though her time in the ballroom is relatively recent, she has been dancing since she was less than 3 ft. tall and wore diapers under a tiny pink tutu. Trained in ballet, tap, jazz, clogging, and modern, Maria is no stranger to leotards and foot blisters. Maria also enjoyed performing on stage for many years, and has been seen in many theater productions, including “The King and I” and “Guys & Dolls”.
Secretly, Maria is a bit of a nerd. Before she made dance her full-time career, she taught middle school math. She can also boast the useless knowledge of being able to recite the Periodic Table of the Elements, and in college her classmates paid her to proofread their essays and research papers (“your” is not the same as “you’re.” And something does not “needs cleaned,” it “needs TO BE cleaned.”) She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Cincinnati in 2010.
Maria and Alyenendrov met at their dance studio. They partnered professionally shortly thereafter, training in American Rhythm. Discovering they had a bent for Cabaret and Theater Arts, they began to focus more and more on those styles. At Alyenendrov’s suggestion, they also began studying Argentine Tango together, despite the pushback from Maria (because she and Argentine Tango did not fall in love at first sight. Or second. Or third). But she eventually grew to love the beauty and intricacy of the dance and now counts it among her favorite styles.
Maria and Alyenendrov began dating several years after their dance partnership began and got married in 2019. They share a love of country, the symphony, bacon, action movies, hard work, and Ancient Egypt. Some of their favorite date spots are the gun range, the gym, and the Aronoff Center for the Arts. They are so blessed to be living their dream, and are so excited for what their future holds!