Born in Odessa, Ukraine, and trained at the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Ponomarenko came to the United States as a member of the Donetsk Ballet in 1990. After three years with Ballet Mississippi and Tulsa Ballet, she landed in Boston, where (except for a stint as guest artist with the English National Ballet in 1999) she has memorably danced ever since.
Ponomarenko has danced lead roles in most of the Boston Ballet repertoire, including Winter Dreams by MacMillan as well as Onegin and The Taming of the Shrew by Cranko. Works created on her include The Princess and the Pea and Nine Lives: Songs of Lyle Lovett by Daniel Pelzig. In 2005 she was nominated for the International Ballet Prize at Benois de la Danse for her performance in the title role of Lady of the Camellias by Val Caniparoli.
She also created roles in the premieres of Jorma Elo’s Plan to B and Brake the Eyes; Stephen Baynes’s Rococo Variations; Christopher Wheeldon’s Corybantic Ecstasies, Firebird, and Four Seasons; Daniel Pelzig’s Flights and Fancy and An American in Paris; and Viktor Plotnikov’s Elegant Souls, Short Stories for a Small Magazine, What Would You Make of It, Tension and Beauty, Bench, and Love and Liberté.
She has made guest appearances with the Opera Theatre of Rome, NBA Ballet Company of Tokyo, English National Ballet, and Teatro Comunale of Florence, and has participated in numerous international galas and festivals throughout the world.