Tommy Neblett

Dean of Dance

Tommy Neblett joined the Conservatory in 1994 and is dean of dance.

He has been in the dance profession for more than 40 years, first as a performer and then as a choreographer, educator, and administrator. For the past twenty-five years, he was coartistic director, with his wife Diane Arvanites, of Prometheus Dance and the Elders Ensemble (a group of post-professional dancers aged 60 to 93).

As a performer, Neblett danced primarily with Dan Wagoner and Dancers, Laura Dean Dancers and Musicians, Concert Dance Company of Boston, Maryland Dance Theater, and Prometheus Dance, which has six times been named one of the year's ten best by the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, and the Boston Phoenix. He also performed in films, fashion shows, nightclubs, operas, and theater productions.

Neblett and Arvanites’s dances have been performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Bates Dance Festival, Joyce SoHo, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, and up and down the East Coast, as well as in Spain, France, Denmark, Venezuela, Ecuador, and China. Their work in opera has included Nixon in China, Alceste, and The Pearl Fishers for Opera Boston, and Rinaldo, Idomeneo, and The Husbands for the Boston Opera Collaborative.

Neblett has previously been on the dance faculties of Harvard University, Emerson College, Walnut Hill School for the Arts, the Dance Complex, and the Oure Idraetshojskole in Denmark.

In 2019, Neblett was a judge at the Busan International Dance Competition in Korea. In October 2020, he will be a judge at the International Ballet Grand Prix in Singapore.

I like to work with highly trained, technical dancers with an edge. Technique for technique's sake doesn't interest me for long. It's what that dancer has to offer as a performer, and who that dancer is as a person, that interests me most.

Professional Awards and Recognitions

  • Artist Fellowships in Choreography (Massachusetts Cultural Council, 2014, 2012, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1996)
  • Citation for Outstanding Artistic Achievement (Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, 2008)
  • Gold Star Award for Innovative Arts Programming (Massachusetts Cultural Council, 2005)
  • Creativity Grant (National Endowment for the Arts, 2000)