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Olivier Besson

Contact Improvisation; Improvisation Faculty

Olivier Besson is an improvisational movement artist who hails from France and is based in Boston. From 1980 until the mid 90s, Besson studied contact improvisation with Robin Feld, Nancy Stark Smith, Lisa Nelson and Andrew Harwood, and improvisation/real-time composition with Daniel Lepkoff and Julyen Hamilton. During that time, he also practiced and performed Bugaku (court dance from Japan) with Arawana Hayashi. Other training includes Butoh with Maureen Feming and Action Theater with Ruth Zaporah.

Besson is the recipient of a finalists award for choreography from the Massachusetts Artist Foundation and was selected for the Moving Men Concert, produced by Boston’s Dance Umbrella. Most notably, Besson’s work has been presented in the U.S. at the Dance Theatre Workshop (New York City), Judson Church (New York City), New York Improvisation Festival, Walker Art Centre (Minneapolis), Boston Dance Umbrella, Florida Dance Festival, Dance Place (Washington DC), The Boston Conservatory, Boston University and Radford University (Virginia). His work has also appeared internationally at the National Institute of the Arts (Taipei, Taiwan), Die Pratze (Tokyo), Art of Movement Festival (Yaroslav, Russia), Micadanses (Paris) and with Compagnie Vertige (Nice, France). He has collaborated with many individuals, including Chris Aiken, Lisa Schmidt, Debra Bluth, Ming-Shen Ku, Pamela Newell, Toshiko Oiwa and musicians/composers Mike Vargas, Peter Jones, Jane Wang and Grant Smith.

Locally, Besson has been a guest dancer for Dawn Kramer, Micki Taylor-Pinney and Diane Noya, and he performs contact improvisation with the company, Helix Rising. His ongoing performance projects involve collaborations with Liz Roncka in Boston and Emmanuelle Pepin in Nice (France). Besson is currently on faculty at The Boston Conservatory and has been on faculty at Canal Danse (Paris), the French National Circus School (CNAC), Bates Dance Festival, Emerson College and the School of Fine Arts at Boston University. He has taught residencies at the National Institute of the Arts (Taipei, Taiwan), Le Centre Choregraphique de Danse / Daniel Larieu (Tours, France), the University of Minnesota, and Radford University (Virginia). Besson has also taught master classes for teen and pre-teen programs at Walnut Hill, Cambridge School of Weston, Jeanette Neil Dance Studios, Brookline High and Cambridge Rindge and Latin.

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