Downtown Brooklyn

Brooklyn’s extraordinary Covenant Ballet Theatre brings back a beloved classic to Downtown Brooklyn stage

Steeped in poignant history, “Orphan Train” is unforgettable story ballet

October 23, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
Share this:

Full slideshow below

JAY STREET — One of the newest performance spaces created in Downtown Brooklyn is The Theater at City Tech, part of the recent renovations of New York City College of Technology at 270 Jay Street. Brooklyn’s own Covenant Ballet Theatre (CBT) will bring a gripping story ballet, “Orphan Train,” to that stage on Thursday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m.

Marla Hirokawa: choreographer, artistic director, and founder of Covenant Ballet Theatre.

An original narrative ballet, Orphan Train was conceived and choreographed by CBT Artistic Director and Founder, Marla Hirokawa. The ballet presents the extraordinary story of Rev. Charles Brace, founder of the New York Children’s Aid Society and 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. The performance will feature CBT dance students ages 10-18 alongside professional dancers. The performance will also include a re-staging of Ms. Hirokawa’s Diamond Caper, a short work chronicling the theft of the legendary Hope diamond.

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.” Orphan Train premiered in 1997 in Brooklyn, NY. It was restaged numerous times in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Athens, GA. In 2012, Orphan Train was the first ballet ever showcased at the New York International Fringe Festival. The production will be dedicated to the memory of Alice DePass, founder of Encore Dance Theatre in Athens, GA, and a longtime colleague and friend of Ms. Hirokawa and supporter of Orphan Train.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

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 CBT’s first return to the stage since March 2020 and is made possible by the NY State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor, the NY 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 [email protected].

Full slideshow below

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment