VK Preston is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Concordia University in Montréal, Québec and member of the University of the Arts’ internationally situated MFA research community in dance. VK’s work appears at intersections of history and performance studies, taking up kinesthetics and sensation through difficult histories and contemporary art. VK is currently working on their first monograph, The Wicked Problem: Witch Dances & Baroque Performance. Their research has appeared in TDR / The Drama Review, Imagined Theatres: Writing for a Theoretical Stage, The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Theatre, The Oxford Handbook of Danced Reenactment, and Performance Research. VK also works as a dramaturg and interlocutor with artists in contemporary dance and socially engaged practice.
The Wicked Problem: Witch Dances & Baroque Performance
This project explores the witch trials in the context of the stage during the long 17th century in France and the Americas. They approach the archiving of the witches’ dance as a “wicked problem” in performance research, bringing legal history into tension with performance theory. This analysis intersects with histories of law and performance articulated in speculative and philosophical writings during key periods of colonization and the imbricated emergence of racial capitalism and slavery across conceptions of embodiment and gender.