Amilcare Iannucci Graduate Fellowship in the Humanities, 2021-2022

Anna Paliy, FAS Centre for Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies

Anna is a doctoral candidate in the Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies at University of Toronto. She holds an Honors BA (UWO, 2014) in Comparative Literature and an MA (UofT, 2015) in Comparative Literature and Book History & Print Culture. Since 2018, Anna is a member and social media coordinator at University of Toronto's Institute for Dance Studies, as well as a 2019 alumna of the Emerging Arts Critics Programme co-organized by the National Ballet of Canada, Canadian Opera Company, and Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Her essays have been published in the student journals Kino, Semicolon, and Transverse, while her music and dance reviews appear in The Dance Current and The WholeNote magazines as well as the Blue Riband arts blog. As a former competitive rhythmic gymnast, Anna now enjoys practicing multimedia painting and circus acrobatics in her spare time.

Project Title: Moving Dance from Stage to Image: Ballet in Women’s Visual Art, 1910-1930

Anna’s dissertation analyses the action sketches of Eastern European ballet performances created by five female spectators in Paris and London during a period of intense cultural upheaval. Deeply rooted in interdisciplinary themes and methods, her research is centred on the circulation of artwork made in reaction to performance: it raises questions about audience reception and spectatorship, the female body and the female gaze, women’s intercultural responses to dance forms, and – most of all – the dynamics of pleasure involved in creating, performing, and consuming art.

Annual Theme: Pleasure

Whether understood as light amusement or passionate pursuit, as pure enjoyment, sensual gratification, bliss or hedonism, pleasure may be the most agreeable motivator. Yet pleasure has been described as “curious and appalling,” one of modern civilization’s most deadly poisons. Through its diverse manifestations – as intellectual satisfaction and the pleasures of knowledge, across studies of media audiences, addiction, virtual sex – when, and how, has pleasure become divorced from ideology, politics, and power? Uneasiness concerning pleasure resonates readily with humanists’ tendencies to formulate our subjects of study as constellations of problems, but is there space in our discourses for unironic joy?