Larissa Ponomarenko

IBT MasterClass Series


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


A graduate of Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Ponomarenko became Boston Ballet's Principal Dancer in 1993, after dancing with Ukraine's Donetsk Ballet as well as Mississippi and Tulsa ballet companies.
She danced with Boston Ballet for full 18 years.


Teaching a recent MasterClass at IBT Academy


“I was lucky to take Larissa Ponomarenko's IBT 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 our 16 y.o. alumna Hannah Baugher.


Teaching a Company class at Boston Ballet in 2011


"I owe everything to my teachers. I mean, I owe everything to everybody, but my teachers were incredible," Larissa said to Boston Globe in 2011, on the occasion of becoming a Ballet Master with Boston Ballet.



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


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. 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


She has danced works by John Cranko, Jiří Kylián, Nacho Duato, Kenneth MacMillan, Antony Tudor, Paul Taylor, Mark Morris, Christopher Wheeldon, and Twyla Tharp, among others.


Ponomarenko in class at Boston Ballet, 2011


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."


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, whom you are already familiar with as IBT's Guest Choreographer.  


Teaching a class: Boston Ballet, 2011



Watch Ms. Ponomarenko being interviewed by the company on the same occasion, plus some beautifully shot footage of her class, and praise by her Boston Ballet colleagues. 



Ponomarenko 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.