VK Preston

Assistant Professor
UC A307, University College, 15 King's College Cir, Toronto, ON M5S 3H7


VK Preston is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies. She is the recipient of the esteemed 2018 Gertrude Lippincott Award from the Dance Studies Association's prize for best essay in the field of dance studies for "Baroque Relations: Performing Silver and Gold in Daniel Rabel’s Ballet of the Americas." VK arrived in Toronto following a year as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Brown University’s Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies and SSHRC postdoctoral fellowships at McGill. VK’s work on the witch trials, performativity, and dance emerged in fellowships at the École normale supérieure in Paris and La Cité internationale des arts. After completing a Ph.D. at Stanford University’s Department of Theatre and Performance Studies, VK was awarded an early career fellowship at the Australian Research Council’s History of Emotions Project and a short-term research fellowship at the John Carter Brown Library. Dr. Preston’s writing appears in The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Reenactment, Performance Research, Theatre Journal, The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Theatre, and Canadian Theatre Review. In 2014, Alanna Thain and VK Preston won the Richard Plant award for best article in English on a topic in Canadian theatre and performance studies.

VK is a member of the executive at the Institute for Dance Studies and comes to performance scholarship by way of practice. Dr Preston’s research includes studies of baroques, environmental humanities, the witch trials, dance, theatre, dis/ability, and queer performance. VK enjoys participating in research communities, and these have included the Mellon Dance Studies in/and the Humanities, Early Modern Cross-Cultural Conversions at the University of Cambridge’s CRASSH, the Sense Lab in Montreal, KlangKunstBühne at Universität der Künste in Berlin, and the Mobile Academy in Warsaw.

VK’s current writing projects include studies of art and performance entangled with the colonial invasion of the Americas, from baroque performance to performance art. Areas of teaching specialization include performance historiography (1500-1850), new materialisms, affect studies, archival research, dance theory, political theatre, & dramaturgy.

Selected work

Preston, VK. 2018. “Reproducing Witchcraft: Thou Shalt Not Perform a Witch to Live,” TDR / The Drama Review (62)1 (T237). Special issue: on reproduction. Ed., Rebecca Schneider. 143-159.

Preston, VK. 2017. “Baroque Relations: Performing Silver and Gold in Daniel Rabel’s Ballets of the Americas.” In The Oxford Handbook of Reenactment. Ed., Mark Franko. New York: Oxford University Press, 285-310. http://www.oxfordhandbooks.com.myaccess.library.utoronto.ca/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199314201.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199314201-e-34 

Indelible Refusal: Bodies, Performances, and Walking Resistance, with Stephanie Springgay (OISE) https://walkinglab.org/indelible-refusal/

Preston, VK. 2015. “How do I touch this text?: Or, the Interdisciplines Between, Dance and Theatre in Early Modern Archives.” In The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Theater. Ed., Nadine George-Graves. New York: Oxford University Press, 56-89. 
Non-UofT users: http://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199314201.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199314201-e-34

Preston, VK. 2016. “A Dictionary in the Archives: Translating and Transcribing Silenced Histories in French and Wendat” (Performance Research 21(5), Trans/Performance, special issue, ed. Amelia Jones), 85-88. https://journals-scholarsportal-info.myaccess.library.utoronto.ca/details/13528165/v21i0005/85_adita.xml

Contributor to Imagined Theatres: Writing for a Theoretical Stage (2017), ed. Dan Sack. New York: Routledge. (University of Toronto Library, full access).


PhD, Stanford University
MA, SUNY Binghamton
BA, Concordia University