Larissa Ponomarenko
Ballet Master
of Boston Ballet,
Principal Dancer
for 18 full years

Masterclass Weekend Initiative is proud to present among its teachers Larissa Ponomarenko, a former Principal Dancer of Boston Ballet and company's Ballet Master for the last 6 years.


Ponomarenko joined Boston Ballet's artistic staff as Ballet Master in 2011. A graduate of Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, she 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 18 full years.


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


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.

Teaching a class: Boston Ballet, 2011


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


Watch her 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.