Distinguished Alumni Award

COCA Distinguished Alumni Award Wall

COCA believes all students who participate in the arts gain confidence, discipline, and a diverse worldview. Some are able to combine those life skills with learned technique and natural talents to achieve success as professional artists. COCA proudly recognizes these former COCA students for their talents, dedication, and success in the arts by honoring them with the COCA Distinguished Alumni Award.

In addition to receiving prominent recognition on a Wall of Fame in COCA’s building, winners of the COCA Distinguished Alumni Award are recognized on the COCA stage at a special event and serve as role models and mentors for current COCA students.

Distinguished Alumni Award Nominations

Nominate yourself or a deserving COCA alum for consideration for the COCA Distinguished Alumni Award. 

Nomination Form

Past Recipients of COCA’s Distinguished Alumni Award

Amy Allen, Freelance Dance Professional

Hettie Barnhill, Freelance Dance Professional

Ronald Belger, Freelance Dance Professional

Brandon Bieber, Musical Theatre Professional

Will Bonfiglio, Professional Actor & Director of COCAbiz at COCA

Betsy Capes, Founder & Casting Director, Capes Coaching

Jodie Capes, Executive Director & Co-Founder, Capes Coaching

Greg Cuellar, Professional Actor

Jamal DeAndre, Professional Commercial  Dancer & Entertainment Consultant

Joanna Dee Das, PhD, Dance Professor & Historian, Washington University in St. Louis

Sara Dobbs, Musical Theatre Professional

Antonio Douthit-Boyd, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater & Co-Artistic Director of Dance at COCA

Lisa Einstein, Dancer, Camille A. Brown and Dancers

Tracy Einstein, Faculty, American Academy of Dramatic Arts

Jo Firestone, Comedian/Writer, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Lesley Garrison, Mark Morris Dance Group

Elizabeth Giardina, Fashion Designer, Proenza Schouler, Derek Lam

Joe Grandy, Broadway Producer & Performer

Rodney Hamilton, Ballet Hispanico

Cornithea “Rio” Henderson, Professional Dancer & Choreographer

Lindsay Jones, Dance Heginbotham, Pam Tanowitz Dance

Chavo Killingsworth, Houston Ballet

Jacob Lewis, Dance Artist

Brie Lowry, Kentucky Ballet Theatre

Yvette Lu, Professional Actor & Performer

Joye Forrest Mack, Miss Missouri USA

Kelly Marsh IV, Complexions Contemporary Ballet

Kaitlyn Mayse, Professional Musical Theatre Actor & Dancer

Charles McCall, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet

Jamie McKitrick, Musical Theatre Professional

Erin Moore, Phildanco

Leah Morrison, Trisha Brown Dance Company

Lauren Morrow, Arts Administrator, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Christopher Page-Sanders, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance

Christina Ramirez, Musical Theatre Professional

Kameron N. Saunders, Professional Choreographer

Jonathan Savage, Actor, Bad Cinderella

James Smith, Freelance Dance Professional

Brennan Stylez, Actor, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical

Jessica Taylor, DamageDance

Shacura Wade, Disney’s The Lion King

Jordan Ward, Professional Dancer

Mari Watson, Freelance Dance Professional Holly Wilder, Dancer & Choreographer, Founder of Wilder Project

Positions listed above reflect the professional positions at the time of award recognition.