Artistic Director Marla Hirokawa opened Covenant Ballet Theatre of Brooklyn (CBT) on September 12, 1987, in Sheepshead Bay. CBT has since moved into the Homecrest neighborhood in 2007, from there to Marine Park in 2013, and to its current home in Gravesend in 2017. Each year students participate in performance opportunities beyond the typical recital, with original narrative ballets conceived and choreographed by Marla. Despite many challenges including most recently the covid-19 pandemic, CBT has shown resilience, and creativity, and continues to be a beacon of culture and excellence in southern Brooklyn.
Since its founding, CBT has operated with a firm heart commitment to maximum inclusion, spreading the love of dance and rigorous dance instruction in a racially and ethnically diverse immigrant and culturally underserved population. The academy's diversity has been the organic result of maintaining high standards within a nurturing and supportive environment. It was incorporated as a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization in 2007 in order to expand its offerings and make them more accessible to families of all income levels, and it offers multiple scholarships for study.
CBT students have gone on to study at virtually every major dance school in New York and beyond, including the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Ballet Hispanico, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre, School of American Ballet, Joffrey Ballet School, Ballet Academy East, Manhattan Movement & Arts Center, Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, Nutmeg Ballet Conservatory, Boston Ballet School, and more. They have also attended the School of Performing Arts: A Division of the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, Joffrey Academy at Fort Hamilton High School, Talent Unlimited High School, Professional Performing Arts High School, Brooklyn High School of the Arts, and Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in New York City.
CBT alumni have earned degrees in fine arts, dance, and/or physical therapy from Juilliard College, Marymount Manhattan College, Purchase College, Point Park University, Western Michigan, Hofstra University, Hunter College, and Indiana University. They have apprenticed with the Suzanne Farrell Ballet at Kennedy Center and danced professionally with the Martha Graham Dance Company, Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco), Ballet Repertory Theatre, City Ballet of San Diego, Tulsa Ballet, Aszure Barton and Artists, Ballet Theater Munich, Tanz Munich Theater, the Metropolitan Opera, Donald Byrd's Spectrum Dance Theater, Balasole Dance Company, American Musical and Dramatic Academy, and more. They have also gone on to establish their own dance companies and to teach dance to the next generation of students, including at CBT.