of Boston Ballet,
for full 18 years
Palermo Ballet Summer Intensive is proud to present Larissa Ponomarenko. Adored by Company members and students alike, Larissa will be teaching Classical, Variations, and Acting classes.
Ponomarenko joined Boston Ballet's artistic staff as Ballet Master in 2011.
A graduate of St. Petersburg’s famed Vaganova Ballet Academy and a student of Soviet Prima Ballerina Ninel Kurgapkina of Kirov Ballet, Ponomarenko became Boston Ballet's Principal Dancer in 1993. (Prior to that she danced with Ukraine's Donetsk Ballet as well as Mississippi and Tulsa ballet companies.) Ponomarenko remained Boston Ballet’s Prima Ballerina for full 18 years.
“I was lucky to take a series of Larissa Ponomarenko's MasterClasses and to be invited to take her company class with Boston Ballet. Her effortless arm movements as she showed us the combinations were breathtaking to watch. Every step she made demonstrated a level of artistry and elegance I aspire to. After Larissa's class, the fluidity of my arm movement improved significantly and I gained a better understanding of the artistry I can present on stage,” says 16 y.o. alumna Hannah Baugher.
“Larissa's artistic talent to express emotion through dance is awe-inspiring. Her devotion to Art is astounding and her ability to show us the importance of all the intricate details that comprise a role is very powerful,” says 15 y.o. Madeline Glinski, Level 5 student and a Russian Pointe Brand Ambassador.
"I owe everything to my teachers. I mean, I owe everything to everybody, but my teachers were incredible," Larissa told The Boston Globe in 2011, on the occasion of becoming a Ballet Master with Boston Ballet.
“I had a wonderful opportunity to work with Larissa in a repertoire class where we learned short excerpts from John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet, my favorite ballet of all time. Larissa explained the artistic and technical aspects along with the story, so that we learn to act and embody the characters better,” says 15 y.o. Rory Myers, Level 5 student and a Gaynor Girl.
Ponomarenko's versatile repertoire included Odette and Odile in Swan Lake, Kitri in Don Quixote, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Tatiana in Onegin, Kate in the Taming of the Shrew, the title roles in Giselle and Cinderella, Medora in Le Corsaire, Swanhilda in Coppélia, Nikiya in La Bayadère, and countless others.
“Giselle dies of a broken heart. Ponomarenko may come close to breaking yours,” The Boston Globe wrote on the occasion of her Giselle premier.
Boston Ballet's Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen commented to The Boston Globe about Larissa's opening-night Tatiana in John Cranko's Onegin, which she danced in 2002, with a touching “She was divine. I don’t know if I ever saw better.”
“Larissa Ponomarenko, her exquisite classic line, high, well-stretched extensions, lightning-quick turns, and flawless pointe work were breathtaking,” echoed Dance Magazine.
Ponomarenko has also performed a wide repertoire of Balanchine works including Symphony in C, Who Cares?, The Four Temperaments, Diamonds, Emeralds, Mozartiana, La Valse, Divertimento No. 15, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Serenade.
Her extensive contemporary repertoire included works by John Cranko, Jiří Kylián, Nacho Duato, Kenneth MacMillan, Antony Tudor, Paul Taylor, Mark Morris, Christopher Wheeldon, and Twyla Tharp, among others.
Over the years, Ponomarenko has worked closely with Boston Ballet Resident Choreographer Jorma Elo and has served as a muse for many of his ballets. She has also created roles in original works including Rhyme, choreographed for her by her husband Viktor Plotnikov.
She has appeared internationally in galas and as a Guest Artist with English National Ballet in London, NBA Ballet Company in Tokyo, Opera Theatre of Rome, and Teatro Comunale of Florence in Italy.
She was nominated for the Benois de la Danse award in 2005 and is a recipient of the E. Virginia Williams Inspiration Award.
Watch Larissa being interviewed on the occasion of becoming a Ballet Master in 2011, with some beautifully shot footage of her class, and praise by her Boston Ballet colleagues. “It is not often you find an artist and an individual of her caliber. She has been an example within the company for many years through her artistry, hard work, kindness and individuality,” says Boston Ballet’s Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen.