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VK Preston

Assistant Professor of History, Concordia University

VK Preston’s research examines intersections of performance and history that complicate cultural inheritances and formations of the performing arts. This research trajectory traverses social, theatrical, legal, and technological shifts involving embodiment, movement, and memory with a focus on dance and choreography. Their critical approaches to working with performance and material culture study the colonial invasion of the Americas, racial capitalism, punishment, the sensorium, and political violence. Their current project traces the representation of the witch across interdisciplinary sites, from baroque performance to prisons, archives, natural histories, and travel writings. VK works as dramaturge with Caroline Gravel’s Practical Happiness, a Song and Other Niceties and as a guest lecturer with the University of the Arts, Philadelphia’s internationally-situated Dance MFA. They are currently working on their first monograph.

SSHRC-IDG – “New Directions in Seventeenth-Century Performance Research: Intangible Baroques”


Preston, VK. “Queer and Indigenous Art: Performing Ice Times in Climate Crisis.” Theatre Journal 72.2, 143-162.

Kuppers, Petra, Pamela Block, Kristy Johnson, and VK Preston. “Public Intimacies: Water Work in Play.” Canadian Journal of Disability Studies. 8.1, 32-57.

Preston, VK. “Reproducing Witchcraft: Thou Shalt Not Perform a Witch to Live.” Edited by Beth Capper and Rebecca Schneider. TDR / The Drama Review, T237, 62.4, 143–59.

Preston, VK. “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.

Kuppers, Petra, Stephanie Heit, April Sizemore Barber, and VK Preston. “Mad Methodologies and Community Arts: The Asylum Project,” Theatre Topics, Devised/Collective Performance, special issue, 221-237.

Thain, Alanna and VK Preston. “Tendering the Flesh: The ABCs of Dave St-Pierre’s Contemporary Utopias.” TDR/The Drama Review 57.4: 28–51. CATR Richard Plant prize for best English-language essay in Canadian theatre and performance (2013).


Book Chapters:

Preston, VK. “Convening Muses and Turning Tables: Reimagining a Danced Politics of Time in Jordan Bennett and Marc Lescarbot.” In The Futures of Dance Studies. Edited by Susan Manning, Janice Ross, and Rebecca Schneider. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

Preston, VK. “Baroque Relations: Performing Silver and Gold in Daniel Rabel’s Ballets of the Americas.” Essay. In The Oxford Handbook of Reenactment, edited by Mark Franko, 285–310. New York: Oxford University Press. Dance Studies Association’s Gertrude Lippincott award for best essay in dance studies published in English (2018).

Preston, VK. “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, edited by Nadine George-Graves, 56-89. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.

Preston, VK. “Un/becoming Nomad: Marc Lescarbot, Movement and Metamorphosis in Les Muses de la Nouvelle France [1609].” In History, Memory, Performance, edited by David Dean, Yana Meerzon, and Kathryn Price, 68-82. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.


Theoretical-Performative Commissions & Commentaries:

Preston, VK. “Four Pieces for Temporary Liveness.” The School for Temporary Liveness, edited by Lauren Bakst. The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Philadelphia, 2020.

Preston, VK. “Trans-scriptive Things,” “The Last Wor(l)d,” and a gloss on Petra Kuppers’ submission in Imagined Theatres: Writing for a Theoretical Stage, edited by Daniel Sack. New York/London: Routledge.

Preston, VK. “Pluralizing Early America: History Across Disciplines.” Early American Literature 53.1 (2018): 301-304.

Preston, VK. “Curating Performance: Artist as Curator, Curation as Act.” Introduction to “Views and Reviews,” on the Montreal International Symposium on Curating the Performing Arts. Canadian Theatre Review 162: 76-77.


Faculty page

Podcast:Dancing Dissent,” Between, Across, Among. Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies in conversation with Kevin Lewis O’Neill.