Larissa Ponomarenko
to Teach Giselle Act I


Boston Ballet’s 2019 / 2020 Season will open September 19 with Giselle, a ballet that Company hasn’t performed since 2009. Often called “the greatest romantic ballet of all times,” this time around it will be staged by the former favorite in the role, company’s legendary Principal Dancer and beloved Ballet Master, Larissa Ponomarenko. Larissa will put her personal touch on this ballet, passing the torch to the young generation of dancers.


Just a few weeks prior to the upcoming premier, Larissa will be working with with PBSI students in Palermo.

We are excited to announce, she chose to teach variations from Giselle Act I, Peasant Pas de Deux! In her Acting Classes, Larissa plans to focus on subtle details of Giselle Act I.

Larissa Ponomarenko as Giselle in Boston Ballet’s production of 2007. Photo by Rosalie O’Connor


“Giselle dies of a broken heart. Ponomarenko may come close to breaking yours.”  The Boston Globe, 2007

What a thrill to be learning from a Principal Dancer, whose performance in this role resulted in such a stellar review!



“It is not so much the technique but the QUALITY of Ponomarenko's dancing that carries the day. In Act I she is at first all insouciance and flounce, demurely pulling away from Albrecht (Roman Rykine) before tapping fingers with him, wet by kisses. When she learns of Albrecht's true identity and that he is engaged to Princess Bathilde, her collapse, both physical and mental, is complete. She is as fragile as spun glass. Off-kilter, she trips backward as if pulled by magnetic force.” The Boston Globe, May 2007. Photos by Rosalie O’Connor


“This is a Giselle that stays with you long after you leave the theater. You'll be chilled to the bone, but also warmed to the heart.”  The Boston Globe, 2007


“In Act II, as a Wili, Ponomarenko is at once ethereal and crisp, wispy as a vision — which Albrecht takes her to be — yet anchored by legs of steel.” The Boston Globe, May 2007. Larissa with Patrick Armand as Albrecht and Alexandra Koltun as Myrta (left), photo by Eric Antoniu, and with Gaël Lambiotte as Albrecht (right), photo by Rosalie O’Connor



“I’m a huge fan of Larissa as a ballerina, and the luckiest guy to have her on our coaching team as a ballet mistress; she’s absolutely incredible. I thought, I would really love to see when she gets to have the say exactly how it is staged. And she jumped at the opportunity,” says Mikko Nissinen, Artistic Director of Boston Ballet


A few days ago we asked Larissa about her relationship with the legendary ballet: 


“I am so excited about staging Giselle! I love this ballet, a treasure that withstood the test of time, full of beauty and grace. To this day, I find Giselle to be a feast for the eye. And a feast for the soul, too: dramatically, it presents full spectre of emotions but, most importantly, it reminds us of tremendous love and its capacity to forgive.


 I’ve had amazing experiences working on Giselle:


At my Vaganova Academy graduation performance, in [then] Leningrad, I started with the Second pas de deux of the Second Act. I danced it on the Mariinsky [then Kirov] stage with Marat Daukayev, at the time Principal Dancer of Kirov Ballet and People’s Artist of Russia! For a student that was an incredible honor and a frightening responsibility.


My coach was Ninel Kurgapkina. She was incredibly strict but an absolutely brilliant coach who gave me a phenomenal base, pouring so much valuable information and details onto me... Like a sponge, I was trying to absorb as much as I could! Working with Marat and Ninel is a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life. I am so grateful for this experience, it is something I hold very dear.


Then, throughout my career, I had wonderful partners as Albrecht(s): Patrick Armand, my husband Viktor Plotnikov, Vadim Pisarev, Gaël Lambiotte, Roman Rykin...



Partnered by Roman Rykin in the role of Albrecht (left) and in Act II (right). Photos by Rosalie O’Connor



And I kept growing in the part of Giselle, with the help of ballet giants like Tatiana Legat, Tatiana Terekhova, Sergei Berejnoi, Maina Geilgud, Anna Marie Holmes, and Bruce Marks. To them I am eternally grateful for the wisdom, knowledge, expertise, and love they shared with me. And I feel truly blessed to be able to share the special things I learned from these incredible Artists and Masters.


I’m still in the very early stages and not sure of all the details of my staging yet: Boston Ballet has only just finished the previous season, and we are enjoying a much needed holiday. The rehearsals will start after I get back from Palermo.


The more I think about staging Giselle, the more I am convinced that one doesn’t have to try very hard... you will succeed just by not spoiling it! I feel my experience provides a good base, like a wonderful canvas to paint on, for this endeavor.”


“One thing I can promise you: my staging of Giselle will be a labour of love, care, and respect, in pursue of an honest interpretation.”


Giselle will be on at Boston Ballet September 19 — 29, 2019!