Larissa Ponomarenko


Larissa Ponomarenko

Ballet Master

of Boston Ballet,
Principal Dancer
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.


Teaching correct shoulder placement

Ponomarenko joined Boston Ballet's artistic staff as Ballet Master in 2011.



In Boston Ballet’s Swan Lake, photographed by the veteran ballet photographer Gene Schiavone


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.



Ponomarenko enthusiastically showing a barre combination in a recent 2017 MasterClass


“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.



Teaching Boston Ballet company class in 2011. Photos by The Boston Globe


“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.



Paying particular attention to arms is Ms. Ponomarenko’s specialty. Practicing the Aurora variation with Madeline Glinski, IBT student and the Russian Pointe Brand Ambassador


Demonstrating an arabesque to young Level 4 students


"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.


Reaching for better lines: students learn the importance of artistry in a repertoire class


“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.



Larissa Ponomarenko in the leading role of Tatiana in John Cranko’s Onegin: with Gael Lambiotte as Onegin (left) and Viktor Plotnikov, her husband in real life, as the old Prince Gremin (right)

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.



In Boston Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet as Juliet (left) and Sleeping Beauty, as Princess Aurora (right). Photographed by Gene Schiavone and Eric Antoniou, respectively

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.



Eccartè and attitude, from a photo shoot with Rosalie O’Connor


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.


Larissa behind the scenes at a Gala concert (left) and onstage as the Tsar Maiden (right) from a beautiful Russian ballet The Little Humpbacked Horse, or The Tsar Maiden, photographed by Gene Schiavone


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.