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Boston Ballerina To Become 'Ballet Master'

This article is more than 8 years old.

Boston Ballet is losing one of its most experienced performers, but it’s gaining a “master.”

Principal dancer and icon Larissa Ponomarenko is retiring from the stage after 18 years with the company. In her new role as Ballet Master (sounds powerful, doesn’t it?) she will have the chance to channel her knowledge and grace to the next generation of dancers — through teaching, coaching and assisting with the production of upcoming performances.

Roman Rykine and Larissa Ponomarenko in George Balanchine's "Diamonds" (Gene Schiavone/The George Balachine Trust)
Roman Rykine and Larissa Ponomarenko in George Balanchine's "Diamonds" (Gene Schiavone/The George Balachine Trust)

For decades the Ukrainian ballerina has entranced Boston audiences in classic repertoire roles — Odile in "Swan Lake," Juliet in Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, Aurora in "The Sleeping Beauty," the Sugar Plum Fairy and Snow Queen in "The Nutcracker."

But Ponomarenko has also tackled new works by contemporary choreographers such as Twyla Tharp, Mark Morris and Christopher Wheeldon.

“Larissa is truly a beacon both on and off stage,” Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen stated in a news release. “It’s 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. I am thrilled to have her remain with Boston Ballet and grow into the new role of Ballet Master.”

Ponomarenko studied at the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersberg, and before joining Boston Ballet in 1993 danced with Donetsk Ballet in Ukraine, Mississippi Ballet and Tulsa Ballet. She’ll transition from principal dancer to her new master role as during the 2011-2012 season.

This program aired on May 20, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

Andrea Shea Twitter Senior Arts Reporter
Andrea Shea is WBUR's arts reporter.

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