Founded in 2015 by Rebekah von Rathonyi, Central Illinois Ballet is a 501-(c)-3 nonprofit organization partially supported by donor funding and private and public grants. CIB emerged from its school, the Cornerstone Academy for Performing Arts. The Academy was established in January 2012 in the historic Cornerstone building of downtown Peoria with four instructors and six students. A few months later, in April of 2012, Rebekah von Rathonyi and Jennifer Reiter Hand joined the ranks as the school's Artistic Director and Academy Director.
The organization began outreach and lecture demonstrations taking dance, music, and singing into the area's nursing homes, schools, libraries, and Veterans posts. The school launched its first main stage production of "Alice in Wonderland", a narrated storybook ballet for children of all ages, in August of 2012. Recognizing that the greater Central Illinois community needed a professional dance company and school that would positively contribute to the standard of living, the performing ensemble was formed.
After Cornerstone Academy staged their first production of The Nutcracker at the Orpheum Theater in Galesburg, IL, the demand for more professional main stage productions quickly increased. After two highly successful seasons, the Board of Directors and Artistic staff formally separated the performance company from the Academy by founding the Central Illinois Ballet in January, 2015.