Dr Elena Catalano


I am a dance scholar interested in the historical and anthropological study of movement and performance practices. In particular, I look at the transnational circulation of dancers and dances and research how this impacts identity and belief. I am interested in investigating the interplay between socio-political conditions and subjective embodiment and experience. I mainly focus on South Asian dance, but have done research also on African and European traditional dances. I have extensive experience in ethnographic methods. I have joined Kingston University Dance Department in 2014 and I teach dance anthropology, ethnography, post-colonial theories, research methods, as well as Indian classical dance (odissi) technique and yoga across all levels. I am presently investigating spirituality and wellbeing in the practice of odissi, and developing a research proposal on the perception of non-Asian individuals professionally involved in the practice of Indian classical dance both in India and in the UK.

Academic responsibilities

Dance lecturer


  • PhD Ethnochoreology/Ethnomusicology, Durham University (2010-2014) (fully funded by Durham University)
  • MA Dance Cultures, Histories and Practices, University of Surrey (2009-2010) (partially funded by Surrey University)
  • MA in Cultural Management, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (2008-2009)-(fully funded by Bollenti Spiriti Puglia)
  • MA in Anthropological Theories and Methods, Universita' La Sapienza (2005-2007)
  • BA in Anthropological Theories and Methods, Universita' La Sapienza (2001-2004)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Teaching and learning

Undergraduate courses taught


I presently researching issues of belief in dance, in particular articulation of spirituality and prayer in western dance context. I am also interested in transnational practices and artistic mobility and these impact on individual and collective identities. 

I am interested in supervising research on South Asian dance, dance tourism and artists' mobility. I can provide support with research using ethnographic and embodied methods and generally rooted in anthropological, cultural and post-colonial studies. I can also support research with an element of practice if related to the above theoretical framework.


Shaping Experience in Dance: Transcultural Perspectives on Body, Mind and Self in the Practice of Odissi', Journal of Dance and Somatic Practice 2014 June, Volume 6, Issue 1.

Sankofa: Politiche e Pratiche della Danza in Ghana, EdizioniAltravista Pavia, July 2010.


Choreographing Resistance, Resisting Definitions: Ananya's contemporary Odissi and her pledge to social change, Pulse South Asian Dance and Music Magazine, Autumn 2016.

Developing a New Pedagogy for Odissi: the British Scenario, Global Rasika, February 2016.

Democratising Rasa (or the pleasure of the lay rasika), Global Rasika, July 2014.


Number of items: 4.


Sharma, Sonya, Catalano, Elena, Seetzen, Heidi, Minors, Helen and Collins-Mayo, Sylvia (2019) Taking Race Live : exploring experiences of race through interdisciplinary collaboration in Higher Education. London Review of Education, 17(2), pp. 193-205. ISSN (print) 1474-8460

Catalano, Elena (2014) Shaping experience in dance : perspectives on body–mind relationships in Odissi. Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices, 6(1), pp. 9-28. ISSN (print) 1757-1871

Conference or Workshop Item

Catalano, Elena (2016) 'Please don't mention me as a foreigner' : politics of authenticity, assimilation and appropriation in Odissi dance. In: Beyond authenticity and appropriation : bodies, authorship and choreographies of transmission - CORD + SDHS 2016; 03 - 06 Nov 2016, Claremont, U.S.. (Unpublished)

Catalano, Elena (2015) 'White skins, brown masks' : the unattainable embodiment of Indianness. In: Cut & paste : dance advocacy in the age of austerity; 04 - 07 Jun 2015, Tavros, Greece. (Unpublished)

This list was generated on Tue Dec 6 06:58:16 2022 GMT.