Boston Ballet

Throughout her 18 years dancing with Boston Ballet, Larissa Ponomarenko performed classical and contemporary roles with ease and elegance. But offstage, she was just as entrancing. During my years as a student at Boston Ballet School, I remember my classmates and myself peeking into her rehearsals, gawking at the effortlessness of each step. We knew it came from her Vaganova training, but still couldn’t believe her precision. Though she is often overlooked, Ponomarenko is a cherished icon for many.

 

Larissa Ponomarenko, long a revered principal at Boston Ballet, has been with the company through multiple versions of Cinderella—most recently James Kudelka's in 2005 and 2008. Now, as ballet master, she's guiding dancers through Frederick Ashton's classic rendition, which BB performs through this weekend. Pointe talked to Ponomarenko about the similarities and differences between the fairytale worlds of Kudelka and Ashton, and about dancing and coaching the ballet's title role.

Sometimes even dancers themselves don't realize how hard they work. But this fascinating time-lapse video, capturing a day of class and rehearsals in Boston Ballet's Studio 7, makes it clear just how much goes into the ballet dancer's average workday.

To a dancer, watching the film (which was created by David Gifford and Adrian Dalca of MIT with high-tech GoPro cameras) feels strangely dream-like. We've known days like this, and yet seeing one in a pseudo-abstract context is like having an out-of-body experience.

Boston Ballet is about to take off for England for a six-performance run at the London Coliseum next week. To show off the company's range, the dancers will be performing Nijinsky’s Afternoon of a Faun, Balanchine’s Serenade and Symphony in Three Movements, resident choreographer Jorma Elo’s Plan to B, Forsythe’s The Second Detail,  Wheeldon’s Polyphonia and Kylián’s Bella Figura. How does a dancer prepare for such an intense program overseas?

Walking may seem like the simplest moment you have on stage. But the way in which you take a step can reveal volumes about your character. In Pointe’s April/May issue, four dancers spoke with writer Joseph Carman about how they approach the walking and running in their signature roles. Here, Boston Ballet principal Erica Cornejo offers her take on Kitri’s steps.

 

ERICA CORNEJO

Boston Ballet

Audition season is one of the most grueling parts of a dancer's year. But don't let cattle call burnout keep you from getting into the company of your dreams. To offer a dose of inspiration, Pointe peeked inside an open call for Boston Ballet and picked artistic director Mikko Nissinen's brain for his best audition advice. In the feature, he gives the best defense of falling I've ever heard: It just means he's sure to notice you. He also offered this tip:

 

Boston Ballet principal Misa Kuranaga is one of the most inspiring dancers I've ever met. After losing her apprenticeship with San Francisco Ballet, instead of giving up, she begged the School of American Ballet to train her. She went back to school, back to the basics, completely reworking her technique. Now she's one of ballet's most beloved stars. This photo is one of my favorite outtakes from our August/September cover shoot.

If you dream of exploring your voice as a choreographer, you might want to check out Boston Ballet’s Choreographic Intensive. The program, which runs July 30-August 4, gives advanced dancers ages 18-24 a chance to translate their ideas into movement with Helen Pickett and Jorma Elo as their guides. (Check out former student Leah Hirsch’s guest blog about the intensive during its inaugural year).

Last week, Boston Ballet hosted its first-ever Choreographic Intensive in Marblehead, MA. Student Leah Hirsch has been blogging daily from the Intensive for Pointe.