Boston Ballet Principal Dancer John Lam to Join Boston Conservatory Faculty

His 20-year performance career coming to an end, Lam will transition to teaching in the Conservatory’s Dance Division. 

May 1, 2024

After two decades with Boston Ballet, principal dancer John Lam will be stepping away from the spotlight in May 2024—but he won’t be going far. This coming fall, Lam will move from one esteemed local institution to another, joining the Dance Division faculty at Boston Conservatory at Berklee as an associate professor.

Lam will make his farewell performance in Boston Ballet’s Spring Experience, May 9 through 19 at Citizens Opera House, dancing in the world premiere of The Space Between by Ken Ossola. In September, he will launch a new career in dance education, teaching ballet technique, contemporary ballet repertory, and somatic courses at Boston Conservatory. Lam also will serve as a rehearsal director for the Conservatory’s mainstage dance performances.

“I am honored to join the Boston Conservatory at Berklee family and share my lived experiences with the students,” Lam says. “Over the course of my career, I have been fortunate to learn from brilliant and inspiring mentors who demonstrated the value of hard work and perseverance in achieving greater expression and understanding through dance. It is my intention to bring this same passion to all of our shared endeavors as we continue to develop this world-class dance program.” 

Lam says he was drawn to Boston Conservatory’s multifaceted curriculum and inclusive approach to dance education. “I am particularly excited to amplify the potential of our students and engage their unique strengths with such a diverse and talented faculty. The potential for collaboration and growth is unlimited, and I am thrilled to be part of the creative process at Boston Conservatory.”

Lam started his training at age 4 with Marin Ballet in his home state of California. When he was 11, he began working with Finnish dancer Mikko Nissinen, who’d taken on the role of artistic director at Marin. Their meeting would have an enduring impact on Lam’s career, as Nissinen became Lam’s first male role model in the professional ballet world. Fast-forward seven years—with Nissinen at the helm of Boston Ballet and Lam newly graduated from Canada’s National Ballet School—their paths crossed again when Nissinen invited Lam to join Boston Ballet II, the company’s professionalizing program for up-and-coming dancers. 

Lam joined the main company’s corps de ballet in 2004, became a soloist in 2008, and was made a principal in 2014. Praised as one of their “most versatile and expressive soloists” (the Boston Globe), he has been integral to Boston Ballet’s reputation as a premiere dance company, and a fixture in its wide-ranging repertoire, which spans both classical and contemporary ballet. His 20 consecutive seasons of Nutcracker performances have also made Lam a favorite with families for whom the ballet is an annual holiday tradition.

WATCH: Lam reflects on his performance career in a Boston Ballet artist profile. 

Lam has worked with contemporary ballet’s leading choreographers and coaches, among them Sorella Englund, Merrill Ashley, Karen Kain, William Forsythe, Stephen Galloway, Noah Gelber, Helen Pickett, John Neumeier, and Christopher Wheeldon. His career potential was recognized early on, when in 2005 he won a dance fellowship from the Princess Grace Foundation, which elevates “extraordinary emerging artists in theater, dance, and film.” 

In addition to his stage work, Lam has choreographed and produced several dances on film including Dance IsMovement in StructureSHE/ICloseThe Air Before MeQuiet Beauty, and moving pARTS. His films have been screened at international festivals, including the San Francisco Dance Film Festival and the Portland Dance Film Festival.

Well-versed in both classical and contemporary techniques, Lam has much to offer Boston Conservatory’s contemporary dance program, says Dean of Dance Tommy Neblett. “John Lam is not only a consummate artist, he is a consummate professional,” Neblett says. “His decades of experience at the highest level of dance will be a huge asset to our student dancers as they begin taking the first steps of their own dance careers.”

Learn more about Boston Conservatory’s top-ranking B.F.A. programs in contemporary dance and commercial dance.