Cory-Jeanne Murakami Houck-Cox is a choreographer, teacher, and retired prima ballerina. She began her ballet training in New Mexico with Mariko, Suzanne Johnston, followed by international medalists Arvola & Ahonen. She began dancing professionally at fifteen receiving scholarships to Ballet West, Houston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and Nagoya, Japan. She performed with Ballet West & Pajarito Ballet Theatre. Her expertise is in ballet, but she has also studied and performed jazz, lyrical, modern, contemporary, musical theater, flamenco, studied hip-hop with Tabitha & Napoleon, and tap.
Cory-Jeanne who has danced and performed internationally in Mexico and London, was the first American ballerina to be chosen to dance with ballet superstar Irek Mukhamedov, International Grand Prix Awardee, of the Royal Ballet, for his premiere tour as a Guest Artist to the United States. They received rave reviews for their roles in “La Bayadere” and “Tarantella.”
Cory-Jeanne has been a Guest Artist/Adjunct Faculty for USF, LaRoche College, Armand Hammer United World College, Cal State Los Angeles, and Lichine’s of Beverly Hills. She has staged ballets for Pacific American Ballet Theatre, Phoenix Ballet, Ballet Arts of Tucson, Colorado Ballet, and Ballet Theatre International.
Cory-Jeanne worked with Pacific American Ballet Theatre, Los Angeles, CA. An ardent advocate for youth & minority concerns, she co-founded an art in education program, “A Beginning Chance” (ABC) for high-risk disadvantaged youth in the LA Unified School District. Over four years, CJ devoted over 1,000 volunteer hours. She was appointed by Mayor Riordan to the LEARN Task Force, 2000 Partnership, and to the Arts and Racial Harmony Task force for Rebuild LA.
By special invitation, Robert Redford invited her to attend the Sundance Institute’s Choreographers &Video Lab, as well as the Sundance Institute’s Producers Lab. She has co-authored two screenplays, both of which made the prestigious Sundance Screenwriter Lab finals.
In 1996 and 1998, she was honored by the New Mexico Governor and awarded the Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of America. In 1997 CJ was invited to perform at the Presidential Inauguration Gala & Balls. In 1998, CJ performed with Ballet Theatre International at the Kennedy Center for the Historic First Annual Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and Cinco De Mayo Celebrations in the critically acclaimed ballets that she helped create, “Winter War” and “Proud Heritage.” Both ballets were recipients of The Irvine Foundation and prestigious National Endowment for the Arts awards.
For her work in arts and multicultural organizations, Cory-Jeanne was named a 2000 Scholar Fellow to the renowned Aspen Institute. Cory-Jeanne has been a District Governor and National Board Member of the Japanese American Citizens League, and as such, has been a leading spokesperson on multi-racial issues around the country. December 2002, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with Honors from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. She was a recipient of the Deserving Academic Merit Scholarship, Dean’s List both her Junior and Senior years, and is a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, and Omicron Psi Honor Societies. Summer of 2007, Cory-Jeanne received the Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts Teacher of Excellence Award for her work as a dance educator in the state of Virginia.
Her students are currently at: Ballet West, Odyssey Dance, and Alvin Ailey, Broadway & Cruise tours. Her students have been with: Paris Opera, Royal Ballet of London, Ballet Hispanico, Alvin Ailey, Joffrey Ballet II, Royal Winnipeg, Eugene Ballet, Dallas Met, Margo Sappington, Joffrey-NYC, Melissa Thodos and Maria Benitez. Her students have attended with scholarship and/or apprenticed at: Kirov Ballet Academy, Boston Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Nutmeg Ballet, CPYB, Ballet Austin, Washington Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, North Carolina School for the Arts, Interlochen, Jacobs Pillow, Gus Giordano, Miami City Ballet, and Houston Ballet.
Her choreography awards include: Crystal Awards for her original choreography “Bella Luna” in 2014 and “The Awakening” in 2015; “People’s Choice Award 2013,” by the Federated Dance Competition: five works awarded “Top 12 Ensemble Finalist” 2013-Regional Youth American Grand Prix; “Top 12 Ensemble Finalist” 2012 –Regional YAGP; StarQuest 2009 Overall First Place with her restaging of “La Bayadere”; and Hall of Fame Overall First Place Choreography with her original work “1000 Cranes.” Cory-Jeanne is an ABT® Affiliated & Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 5 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.
In 2016, Cory-Jeanne was elected to the national Board of Directors (Policy) for the prestigious National Dance Education Organization, the leading U.S. organization of dance educators that sets national standards for dance and is the parent organization for the National Honor Society for Dance Arts.