Dance scholarship recipient, Mikhail Calliste, and CBTB Artistic Director, Marla Hirokawa. (Photo courtesy of Covenant Ballet Theatre of Brooklyn, Inc., 2010)
The Covenant Ballet Theater of Brooklyn, a non-profit dance academy, needs your help. Needing $19,000 to
restore its facilities to pre-Sandy conditions secure a new space, CBT has started a “Fund Anything” donation campaign to raise the money. Here is a description of the problems facing CBT from founder Marla Hirokawa:
Loss of vital funding and the ancillary effects of Hurricane Sandy have brought CBT to a financial crisis. The company has to give up its 3500 sq ft home on 2085 Coney Island Avenue and vacate by May 31st, a month short of our normal program end date. CBT Dance Academy is a small school with a big heart that has been spreading the love of dance in south Brooklyn where artistic, cultural offerings and activities are few. Without a home, CBT cannot continue reaching its diverse and multi-cultural population nor continue in its quest to break the negative male stereotypes in ballet with a tuition-free Boys Program (taught by male instructors). CBT has raised professional dancers. It has created historic ballets that have honored real heroes. It has been a safe and warm place where the pre-professional and recreational student can meet and train. It is a place where the young novice can dance alongside professional dancers in artistically meaningful productions. It is a dancing family to youths, adults and professional dancers. CBT cannot continue without a home.
If you would like to donate to the CBT and keep this proud institution afloat, click here. Based on how much you donate, you could receive gifts including mugs, t-shirts, DVDs and concert tickets. To date, they have already raised over $4,000 and have 84 days left to reach their goal.
Correction (5/17/2013 @ 12:00 p.m.): This article originally indicated that the funding was to restore the group’s space after taking damage from Sandy. That was inaccurate. The funding is to secure a new space altogether, after they are being forced to move due to Sandy-related funding shortfalls.
Our friends from Covenant Ballet Theatre (CBT) and Sean Casey Animal Rescue Project (SCARP) held their first “rescuethon” or dog walk-a-thon on Saturday, May 5, in Marine Park.
While the dancers danced and the dogs walked, the rain came down, but that didn’t dampen anyone’s spirit. Even if the weather was gloomy, the event was anything but! There was a great turnout from both humans and canines.
Members from CBT’s Junior Company danced performing dances that were canine-related, such as “How much is that doggy in the window?” and “The puppy song.” Dogs from SCARP were available for adoption. A few even found new homes.
Artistic Director of CBT, Marla Hirokawa, planned this event to help raise money for the academy’s scholarship program and for the Sean Casey Animal Rescue Center.
The”rescuethon” was a success and CBT plans to have another walk next year…hopefully, with the sun joining in!
Come join our friends Covenant Ballet Theatre and the Sean Casey Animal Rescue Project for a great day in the park on Satuday, May 5. Walk your dogs and raise some cash for two local non-profits.
But sign up soon, registration ends on May 4. Register online at www.cbtrescueathon.eventbrite.com
Red Scare, Photo: Barry Yanowitz
I hear from many of my fellow Brooklynites, usually the Wisconsin-born hipster of the north, that Southern Brooklyn is a cultural wasteland. “There’s no dance. There’s no theater. There’s no music. There’s no food worth a damn.”
Frankly, they’re wrong. We may not have much, but what we have is pretty damn “choice.”
Last week, my wife and I were treated to a performance by Sheepshead Bay’s own Covenant Ballet Theater at Kingsborough Community College’s Leon M. Goldstein Performing Art Center of three original pieces. That’s right. Original art conceived, realized and performed – right here in Southern Brooklyn.
See more photos and read our coverage of Covenant’s performance.
(Photo by Ray Johnson)
Since 1987, Covenant Dance Studio, now operating as the non-profit Covenant Ballet Theatre of Brooklyn taught dancing to local area students. Recently, they have had to replace their Bay dancing shoes with Midwood ones. Lucie Santoro, Project Manager, said that the move was a welcome one, adding that the school is thriving in their new ground floor location at 2085 Coney Island Avenue. While they were not happy having to uproot themselves from the Bay, it helped them to face the fact that the face of the Bay had changed for the worse over the years. Aside from the building being in disrepair, the streets were dirty and they attracted vagrants who often found a place to rest at the school’s entrance. Santoro said,
Management didn’t give us very long to move and we were, kind of, on the ‘hot seat’. While we did look for a place in Sheepshead Bay, the rent was too high and what we did find needed so much work, with the building owners not willing to help us out with any renovation.
Amongst the locations they looked at, Joanne’s Discount Center at 2209 Ave X and a location above a former sweatshop at Gravesend Neck Road and East 17 St, were unsuitable. Santoro feels that local businesses are being squeezed out of Sheepshead Bay to make way for huge developments, for which there aren’t enough tenants; and, as a result, community connections to the arts are being lost. She adds that while other dance schools, such as, Nika Ballet Studio and Atlantic Ballroom, Inc., still operate on Sheepshead Bay Road, the CBTB’s vision and purpose in encouraging dance as a community art of performance and expression is unsurpassed. For Covenant Dance, the bay will always be home, since its founder and Artistic Director, Marla Hirokawa, still resides there. Now that the re-opening announcements and celebrations are cleared out of the way, the dancers are ready to grow in leaps and bounds–so, who knows if they won’t be needing to grow right back into the bay.