Fairy-like and technically flawless, Larissa Ponomarenko is a ballerina’s ballerina. She began her studies at the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia, winning third prize at the first Vaganova Ballet Competition in 1988, and went on to join the Donetsk Ballet Company in her native Ukraine. After brief stints as a guest artist with Tulsa Ballet and Ballet Mississippi, Larissa landed at Boston Ballet in 1993. Since then she has become one of Boston’s most beloved ballerinas, dancing nearly every principal role in the company’s repertoire. Her nuanced interpretation of Marguerite in Val Caniparoli’s Lady of the Camellias even won her a nomination for the International Ballet Prize at Benois de la Danse in 2005. —Margaret Fuhrer
I would like to start by saying, “Thank you.”
Though I consider myself a modest person, I must admit you are a very good student (the kind of student I would wish to work with if I were to move into the field of teaching). You are obedient and self-disciplined, absorbing details and attentive to corrections. You never miss class, and you take good care of your body. You spend a lot of time in the theater watching all the classical ballets in the Kirov repertory. Your analysis of the interpretations of different dancers has helped me become the artist I am today.
All of it, in combination, I believe, allows you to get the most out of the great training your ballet school [the Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia] has to offer. This is why I would like to express my gratitude to you, my student self.
But I do wish that you would be more daring and confident in everything. It wouldn’t hurt to be more curious about different genres and forms of art—to explore more outside of the ballet. And find the time to continue your piano lessons! You don’t have much interest in it now, but you have talent and that is precious.
Finally, I want you to add more of a sense of humor and laughter to all your hard work, to love yourself, and to live every minute of your life to the fullest.
16-year-old Larissa performing the Bluebird variation from The Sleeping Beauty at the Vaganova Academy. Photo: courtesy of Boston Ballet
There's a reason Mia Michaels' nickname is "Mama Mia." The legendary choreographer invests deeply in her dancers, whether they're competitors on "So You Think You Can Dance," members of the Radio City Rockettes, or part of her own elite assistant squad. And now, Michaels is launching a project that aims to give more dancers access to her gifts as a teacher and mentor.
And that's a wrap on "Dancing with the Stars" Season 24, ladies and gents! It's certainly been one for the books. From injuries to shocking eliminations, let's just say Season 24 has had its emotional ups and downs. But despite all that, the season made for some seriously phenom dancing and some killer performances. And as usual, we've loved watching every second of those cha chas, foxtrots, and waltzes.
Let's get right to the exciting stuff, though: Last night's winning couple of "Dancing with the Stars" is...
Nearly 80,000 dance-loving Instagram followers can't be wrong: Quinn Starner is one to watch. And what's just as impressive as the 15-year-old's rabid online following is her ever-growing list of competition accolades. Quinn, who trains at Indiana Ballet Conservatory and Stars Dance Company, been named first runner-up at The Dance Awards for two years in a row (as a junior and a teen); was the 2016 West Coast Dance Explosion Teen National Champion; earned first place in contemporary and third place in the classical division at Youth America Grand Prix Regionals in Pittsburgh last year; has won the Grand Prix Award at ADC|IBC; and was a gold medalist at World Ballet Art Competition Grand Prix. Plus, she made it to the Academy round on last year's "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation," and has performed as Clara in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Here's what Quinn has to say about her favorite songs, teachers, and career highlights.
Want a chance to get personally involved in the HOTLY anticipated TV show "World of Dance"? Of course you do. That's why J. Lo. and the rest of the "WOD" team have launched an interactive version of the upcoming NBC series that lets Snapchatters get in on the action.
On Saturday morning, Russell Horning—aka 15-year-old Instagram king @i_got_barzz—was already kind of famous. His admittedly bad but weirdly mesmerizing dance videos had earned him shoutouts from the likes of Rihanna (and dance tributes from the likes of Josh Killacky).
But by Sunday morning? By Sunday morning, Russell Got Barzz had reached an entirely different level of memedom. Because Katy Perry tapped the teen—signature backpack and all—to perform "Swish Swish" with her on "Saturday Night Live." And the internet lost its darn mind.
If, like me, you've ever wondered (and wondered) how that stunning opening scene in La La Land came together, do we have a treat for you.