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Covenant Ballet Theatre returns to the stage with beloved, historic ORPHAN TRAIN

Covenant Ballet Theatre of Brooklyn (CBT) announces its return to the stage with the beloved historical ballet Orphan Train and other works. Its public performance will take place at The Theater at City Tech, New York City College of Technology (300 Jay St), on Thursday, November 9, at 7pm.

An original narrative ballet, Orphan Train was conceived & choreographed by CBT Artistic Director and Founder, Marla Hirokawa, in 1997. The ballet follows early social work pioneer Rev. Charles Brace, founder of the New York Children’s Aid Society and of the “orphan train” movement, the first placing-out program in America for over 150,000 abandoned immigrant children in New York City from 1854 to 1929. Dancers will include students ages 10-18 alongside professional dance artists. The performance will also include a re-staging of Ms. Hirokawa’s Diamond Caper, a shorter work chronicling the legendary Hope diamond. The production will be dedicated to the memory of the late Alice DePass, founder of Encore Dance Theatre in Athens, GA, a longtime colleague and friend of Ms. Hirokawa and a supporter of Orphan Train.

Orphan Train premiered 1997 at Poly Prep Country Day School in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. It was restaged numerous times at venues in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and with Encore Dance Theatre in Athens, GA, under the direction of the late Alice DePass. In 2012, it was the first ballet to be selected to be performed as part of the New York International Fringe Festival. Music includes a compilation of musical scores by David Diamond, Alberto Ginastera, Peter Sculthorpe, Peggy Stuart Coolidge, and Heitor Villa-Lobos. The narrative ballet tells a “moving and heartbreaking story with a nod to Agnes de Mille and Martha Graham,” states author Oscar Moore in a review of the 2012 NY Fringe Festival production. “Stark reality is wonderfully conveyed by this fine company of actor/dancers who with a look or a gesture augment the excellent choreography.”

Since 1987, CBT has invested in the children and families of South Brooklyn, where cultural activities and resources are limited. In an accepting yet rigorous environment, CBT fosters the love of dance through pre-professional training in its studios and educational programs in NYC schools, and through dozens of original ballet productions conceived and choreographed by Ms. Hirokawa. The 2023 production of Orphan Train marks the first return to the stage for the company since March 2020, and is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and Apple Bank.

Tickets for Covenant Ballet Theatre’s performance of Orphan Train, starting at $55, are available at For further information, visit CBT’s website, call 718-891-6199, or email

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