Olivier Besson joined the Conservatory in 2004 and is an associate professor of dance. He teaches improvisation, contact improvisation, contact skills, improvisation in performance, and the course Dancer's Toolkit.
Most notably, Besson's work has been presented internationally at the National Institute of the Arts (Taiwan) in 1997, Die Pratze (Japan) in 2006, the Art of Movement Festival (Russia) in 2006, Canaldanse (France) from 2000 to 2007, Companie Vertige (France) from 2005 to 2010, and LshVa (India) in 2016. He has collaborated with many individuals in the United States and abroad, including Chris Aiken, Cathy Young, Jane Shockley, Lisa Schmidt, Debra Bluth, Ming-Shen Ku, Toshiko Oiwa, Liz Roncka, Emmanuelle Pépin, Chandra Cantor, and musicians/composers Mike Vargas, Peter Jones, and Sharan Leventhal.
Besson's introduction to improvisation came through his exposure to contact improvisation, which he studied with Robin Field and Andrew Harwood. He furthered his study of improvisation and real-time composition with Julyen Hamilton and subsequently started developing his own methodology. During that time, he also studied and performed Bugaku (court dance from Japan) with Arawana Hayashi. Other training includes Butoh with Maureen Fleming and Action Theater with Ruth Zaporah and Sarah Hickler.