Larissa Ponomarenko is a former principal dancer of Boston Ballet, who joined the company in1993 and had been it’s leading ballerina for 18 years . Her vast and incredibly versatile repertoire , ranging from classical and neoclassical productions to modern and contemporary works , included principal , title and lead roles in ballets by M.Petipa, A.Bournonville, J.Cranko, F.Ashton, K.MacMillan, G.Balanchine, A.Tudor, P.Taylor, J.Kudelka, B.Stevenson, S.Welsch , V.Caniparolli . As well as J.Kyllian , N.Duato, Twyla Tharp, M.Morris , L.Monte , M.Corder, B.Wells, M.Pink, L.Berdo.
Larissa originated roles in works by C.Wheeldon , S.Baynes, D.Pelzig , V.Plotnikov , and became a muse for a Boston Ballet resident choreographer Yorma Elo , creating roles that involved speaking and singing on stage.
Describing her dance in a few quotes among many:
“How impressively the Boston Ballet has raised the standard of technique was clear on Saturday night in cast led by Larissa Ponomarenko as Medora , a Greek maiden, and by Viktor Plotnikov as Conrad ,….” - The New York Times , by Anna Kiosselgoff.
“She’s Poetry in Motion” - head line for the feature story in Boston Magazine, by Rebeca Nemser.
“A great dance-actress… “ - Boston Globe , by Christine Temin.
“Ponomarenko will take your breath away with her long lines and expressive movements.” - Katrina L. Tentor.
“....She is one of the greatest dancers of our time.” -Alan Helms.
“For Ms. Ponomarenko, Aurora and , by implication, classical ballet technique itself were embodiment of ideal beauty. Her placement and balances made her a symbol of harmonious order.” - Boston Herald , by Theodore Bale.
“Ponomarenko’s mad scene is a convincing unraveling of a soul distancing itself from life. ........Giselle dies of a broken heart. Ponomarenko May come close to breaking yours. “ - Boston Globe , by Christine Temin.
“Ponomarenko’s interpretation of Marguerite is gloriously nuanced. The ending , a solo she performs barefoot, ..... Is wrenching.”…… - Boston Globe , by Christine Temin.
The interpretation of the role of Marguerite landed Larissa a PRIS BENOIS DE LA DANSE nomination, the International Ballet Prize for which she was nominated by Eva Evdokimova.
In 2011 Larissa retired from dancing and joined Boston Ballet’ artistic stuff team
and now continues to serve the company as ballet master and coach . Her first
staging of the full length ballet Giselle was recently performed by the company in
September 2019 to a great acclaim and exciting reviews.
Besides Boston Ballet , Larissa’s coaching career as a guest Master Teacher presented her an opportunity to travel and teach for institutions like Washington Ballet , Harvard University , Yale University . Larissa had been a part of International Masterclass Workshops in Prague , Czech Republic ; Essen and Dresden , Germany and Palermo, Italy . Larissa taught at Summer Intensive Courses for Schools such as : San Francisco Ballet , Boston Ballet , CPYB, Atlanta Ballet , Kansas Ballet , Pittsburgh Ballet, Colorado Ballet , First State Ballet Wilmington DE, Festival Ballet Providence School and Southland Ballet in California .
Born in Odessa , Ukraine , Larissa started ballet training in her home city under Vladimir Issaev , who dramatically changed her life by writing a letter of recommendation on Larissa’s behalf and advising her to audition for Vaganova Ballet Academy in Saint Petersburg , Russia. After being excepted , passing a competition of 200 students for one place , Larissa spent 8 years living and studying ballet in Saint Petersburg , receiving a top training from highly distinguished teachers such as : N. Kurgapkina , T.Borovikova , I.Gensler , O.Sokolov , L.Komisarova, K. Sergeev , N.Serebrennikov , N.Dudinskaya, M.Daukaev , N.Yananis , T. Shmyrova , V.Korneev etc. For the duration of 8 years , as a student , Larissa performed on the stage of Mariinsky Theatre ( than Kirov ) , as she was regularly used in all Kirov Ballet classical productions that involved children. Among many , she was chosen to represent the school , performing in the cities like Moscow, Russia; Paris, France; Amsterdam, Holland; Dresden, Germany In 1989 Larissa graduated under legendary N.Kurgapkina and for her graduation performance was honored to dance pas de deux from Giselle with Kirov ballet principal dancer and star Marat Doukaev. Larissa’s first company was Donetsk Ballet in Ukraine , where she performed her first Giselle as a lead with Vadim Pisarev as her partner , also where she met her future husband Viktor Plotnikov.
Prior to joining Boston Ballet , Larissa and Viktor have worked for Mississippi Ballet and Tulsa Ballet .
As a dancer , Larissa appeared in numerous international Gala Performances
and Festivals , including Dance For Life inToronto , and 100th anniversary of
Ballet Russes in New Orleans . And performed as a guest with companies in
Teatro Comunale of Florence , Italy
English National Ballet of London, Great Britain
NBA Ballet Company of Tokyo, Japan
Opera Theatre of Rome, Italy
Larissa holds diploma of a finalist of IBC in Jackson , MS - year 1990 And the Best Non Competing Partner Award from the same competition - year 1994. Larissa is very appreciative of all the incredible teachers , coaches and mentors she worked with throughout her dancing career . Some of the great giants in Ballet World that changed her perception and influenced her greatly are : Tatiana Legat , David Wall , Sergei Berejnoi, Caroline Lorca , Tatiana Terekhova, Sorella Englund , Maina Guilgiud , Anna- Marie Holmes , Bruce Marks , Larry Long, Arthur Romanenko, Suzane Farrell , Maria Callegari, Lyla York, Evelyn Heart , Reid Anderson, Victoria Simon, Florence Clerc , Roslyn Anderson.