Maria Babanina was born in St. Petersburg in 1952. She studied the piano and musicology at the Leningrad Conservatory and specialised in historic research of ballet music.
She taught at the Vaganova Academy, worked as music coach at the Maly Theatre in St. Petersburg and became a pianist with the Kirov Ballet, now Mariinsky Ballet, in 1978. Since September 1990 she has been a pianist for the Bayerisches Staatsballett and performed on stage, too, for example in Trois Gnossiennes, Other Dances, Songs without words, Zakouski, Jerome Robbins' In the Night and Hans van Manen's Adagio Hammerklavier. She has been responsible for the musical research and new music arrangements of the score for La Bayadère as well as for the musical arrangement of Ray Barra's Raymonda, Le Corsaire (M. Petipa/I. Liška) and Paquita (A. Ratmansky/M. Petipa).