By Kathy L. Collins

Retired Prima Ballerina, Cory-Jeanne Murakami Houck-Cox, of Valencia Lakes, was recently honored with several awards for her choreography.

At the Youth American Grand Prix held during the weekend of January 3 through January 6 at the Straz Center for Performing Arts in Tampa, five of Houck-Cox’s ballet choreographed works were named to the Top 12 Ensemble Finalists. This included StarLily, a classical ballet ensemble for ages 9 to 11. Petit Paris. a Pas de Deux; La Soiree, a¬nother Pas de Deux; Yavari, a contemporary pointe work; and Moves, an intriguing contemporary ballet ensemble for ages 12 to 14.

Houck-Cox was presented with a special invitation to have Moves performed at Blake High School in Tampa at “Festival of Dance.” In addition, she received the People’s Choice Award by the Federated Dance Competition in Lakeland in February for her classical pointe ensemble, Concerto Lumiere.

Houck-Cox said, “I am thrilled that five of my Ensemble ballets were named to the Top 12. It was also tremendous that the young dancers were recognized at this leading ballet competition. We were all genuinely pleased that all five were invited to compete in the finals of the Youth American Grand Prix in New York City.”

Houck-Cox is Faculty and Director of Ballet for Bay Area and Brandon School of Dance Arts. Houck-Cox added, “The dancers have dedicated a tremendous amount of time in their ballet classes and rehearsals over the past few years. It is extremely fulfilling to see them dance beautifully and be rewarded for it. It is fabulous that Brandon School of Dance Arts is well known for its strong ballet program in a competition studio.”

Houck-Cox’s work has been performed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She has also been a recipient of the National Endowment of the Arts.

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