Katerina Pantelides - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Katerina Pantelides

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Katerina Pantelides

Associate Lecturer

Thesis: ‘Russian Émigré Ballet and the Body: Paris and New York c.1920-50’, 2015

Supervised by Rebecca Arnold

Funded by Arts & Humanities Research Council

My thesis examines Russian Ballet’s impact on the representation and experience of female embodiment c.1920-50. It thus explores how emigres who established a Russian ballet tradition in Paris c.1920-35 and New York c.1920-50 influenced notions of embodiment in fashion, cinema and exercise culture. Equally, the thesis examines how Russian émigré ballet as a discipline was shaped by the artistic innovations and societal changes it encountered in the West. In the wake of Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes (c.1909-29) ballet was highly experimental in its collaborations with other art forms, principally: visual art, music and contemporary dance. However, Russian ballet’s courtly Imperial heritage and incorporeal, utopian aesthetic, were also reinforced and appropriated into mass culture.

Unlike previous studies, which largely concentrate on the Diaghilev ballet’s direct links with art and design, this thesis seeks to cover new ground in focusing on how notions of ethnic authenticity, modernity and gender were communicated through the body. In its search for the ‘ballet body,’ defined as a body with balletic attributes rather than a ballet dancer’s body specifically, the study encompasses the roles of key individuals, including the ballerina Anna Pavlova, the choreographer George Balanchine, and the art director Alexey Brodovitch, alongside the cumulative contributions of emigre Russian dancers, designers and critics.


  • Courtauld Institute of Art: PhD candidate, 2011-5
  • Courtauld Institute of Art: History of Art MA, Special Option: ‘The Aesthetic Body: Science, Aestheticism and the Image of the Body in British Art, c.1860-1900,’ First Class Honours, 2010
  • University of Edinburgh: English Literature MA, First Class Honours, 2009


  • MA Core Methodologies Teaching Assistant, October-December 2013 and 2014
  • Private Tutor of Humanities Subjects at GCSE and A-Level


Research interests

  • Dance
  • the Body
  • Modernism
  • Intangible Dress
  • Classicism in Art and the Body
  • Russian Art
  • Psychoanalysis

Conference papers

  • ‘Dancing in the City: Balletic Body Image in 1940s New York,’ Dance and Fashion symposium, Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City. October 2014
  • ‘Timeless Bodies?: George Balanchine’s Neoclassical Dancers, c.1928-40’, What is the History of the Body?, Symposium, organised by the Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, London. March 2014
  • ‘The Siren Mode: Ballet and Fashion c.1927-1929’, Fifth Global Fashion Conference, organised by Inter-Disciplinary.Net at Oxford University. September 2013
  • ‘Divining the 1920s: Precocious Body Image in Vaslav Nijinsky’s 1913 Ballets, Revisiting the Rite: Centenary of The Rite of Spring Conference, Kellogg College, Oxford. May 2013
  • ‘Fashion and the Ballets Russes’, The Rest is Noise: Paris Weekend at South Bank Centre, London. February 2013
  • ‘Heterotopian Schemes: Russian Émigré Ballet and the Body in 1920s Paris’ at States of Suspension: Politics and Histories, Aesthetics and Affects, 1516-2012 conference, University of Chicago. November 2012

Recent publications

  • ‘Dancing in the City: Balletic Body Image in 1940s New York,’ Essay for ‘George Balanchine/Reinvention Ballet’ course-reader. Course taught by Professor Lynn Garafola at Columbia University.
  • ‘Made for Love?: Feminine embodiment in George Balanchine’s Ballets and Haute Couture Eveningwear c.1927-33,’ Catwalk: The Journal of Fashion, Beauty and Style, September 2014
  • ‘The Siren Mode: Ballet and Fashion c.1927-1929’. E-book publication accompanying the Fifth Global Fashion Conference, organised by Inter-Disciplinary.Net at Oxford University, September 2014

Other academic activity

  • Member of the Courtauld Post-graduate Advisory Group
  • Contributor to Documenting Fashion: A Dress History Blog
  • Co-founder of Fashion Research Network (FRN), a collaboration between PhD candidates at the Courtauld Institute of Art and Royal College of Art. The organisation unites, and promotes the work of a diverse range of PhD level and early career scholars in fashion and dress, including historic dress researchers, researchers by practice, curators, and industry professionals.

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