Larissa Ponomarenko, born in the Ukraine, graduated under Kurgapkina at the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg. She also trained with Shmyrova, Serebrennikov, Gensler, and Yananis. While in school, she toured throughout Europe, including performances in France, Holland and Germany.
In 1990, Ms. Ponomarenko was a finalist in the International Ballet Competition held in Jackson, Mississippi, and in 1994 was named best non-competing partner at the same competition. Ms. Ponomarenko was a principal dancer with Donetsk Ballet Company in the Ukraine and toured throughout the United States and Russia with the Company. She was a guest artist with Tulsa Ballet Theatre and Ballet Mississippi. Ms. Ponomarenko joined Boston Ballet as a principal dancer in 1993 with her husband, principal Viktor Plotnikov. As a principal dancer with Boston Ballet she has performed Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, the lead roles in Giselle, Medora in Le Corsaire, Kitri in Don Quixote, Kate in Cranko's The Taming of the Shrew and Tatiana in Cranko's Onegin, Marguerite in Val Caniparoli's Lady of the Camellias, Princess Aurora and the Bluebird Pas de Deux in The Sleeping Beauty, Irma in Bournonville's Abdallah, Masha in Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Winter Dreams, Nikiya in La Bayadere, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, the lead roles in Michael Corder's Cinderella and Danses Concertantes, Esmeralda in Michael Pink's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Swanhilda in Coppelia, the Sugar Plum Fairy, Snow Queen and Dew Drop Fairy in The Nutcracker, the Paper Ballerina in The Steadfast Tin Soldier, Svetlana in Ben Stevenson's Dracula and the title role in his Cleopatra, leading roles in Balanchine's Mozartiana, Symphony in C, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Serenade, Divertimento No. 15, The Four Temperaments and Who Cares?, Rum and Coca Cola in Paul Taylor's Company and Elisa Monte's VII for VIII as well as Twyla Tharp's In The Upper Room and Waterbaby Bagatelles, Mark Morris' Maelstrom, Stanton Welch's Madame Butterfly, Nacho Duato's Without Words and Jardi Tancat. She created the lead role in Stephen Baynes' World Premiere Rococo Variations, and performed featured roles in Daniel Pelzig's 1998 World Premiere Set to music by George Gershwin and Cantabile, Laszlo Berdo's World Premiere Four Hands, Christopher Wheeldon's Corybantic Ecstasies, The Four Seasons, and Firebird. She created lead roles in Daniel Pelzig's The Princess and The Pea, Nine Lives: Songs of Lyle Lovett, and Flights & Fancy. Ms. Pono-marenko's principal roles also include Paquita, Raymonda Divertimento, and Pas de Quatre. The pas de deux roles she has danced include Flames of Paris, La Sylphide, and Le Corsaire.
In 1997, Ponomarenko made a guest appearance in Florence, Italy, where she danced the role of Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty. During the 1998-99 season, she was a guest artist with English National Ballet Company in London, where she performed Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker and Cinderella in Cinderella.