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February 6, 2020  

John Lam: Boston Ballet Principal Dancer a Gay Vietnamese-American Reflects on his life Leading to Coming out, Marrying and Having two Kids

February 6, 2020


I am speaking with John Lam, the principal dancer at the Boston Ballet.

John is joining me via Skype from his home in Quincy Massachusetts.

His parents immigrated to California from Vietnam. He grew up in an underprivileged household and discovered his love for dance at the age of 4 at Marin Ballet, through the Performing Stars of Marin a children's program that has helped some of the most impoverished children in the Bay Area. 

John’s parents were definitely not expecting him to be gay, become a professional dancer, mary a man and raise two sons. He constantly had to fight against the expectations of his culture, his peers, and his family.

John Lam: When John was 14,  at Marin Ballet, Mikko Nissinen cast the young dancer. 16 years later, John and Mikko continue to work together, John as Principal Dancer and Mikko as Boston Ballet's Artistic Director.

At age 35 John is the first Vietnamese American male in history to become a principal dancer in a major ballet company.

At the beginning of the podcast, I mention a story in Dance Magazine that states that almost 60% of the men in dance companies were gay. The same article writes that as if to protect their own macho image,  Americans, in particular, love to embrace the idea that the stereotype of male dancers automatically being gay. Here is the link