Miss Elena Catalano, MA
Elena achieved her BA and MA Degree in Ethno-Anthropology with Distinction, at University La Sapienza, Rome, Italy (2008). She specialized in Ethnography and Ethnomusicology, carrying out an intensive fieldwork in Ghana, in order to explore issues of ethnicity in dance and music performance. Her dissertation, awarded the 'Premio Paola Bianchi 2009' as original research on African Studies, was published in 2010, by Altravista Edizioni, Pavia, with the title Sankofa: Politiche e Pratiche della Danza in Ghana. In 2009 she also completed a MA in Cultural Management, Performing Arts curriculum, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, in Barcelona, Spain.
Elena moved to UK in order to further her theoretical as well as practical knowledge in dance, pursuing a MA in Dance Studies at University of Surrey. Here she achieved a Distinction with a practice-based dissertation on Indian classical dance and music and she was awarded the ‘Pauline Hodgens Prize 2010' for her outstanding dance analysis. During her fieldwork in India she used performance and ethnographic methods to explore issues of gender identity and power relationships in the field of Indian classical performing arts.
Currently Elena is pursuing her PhD in Ethnomusicology under the supervision of Prof. Martin Clayton and Dr. Laura Leante. In her research proposal, 'Shaping Experience and Meaning through the Dancing Body', she focuses on Odissi, an Indian classical dance form, to investigate the lived experience of embodiment and cognition in relation to the dance practice. Elena is particularly interested in exploring, in qualitative terms, the strategies that Odissi practitioners put into play in order to embody, master and perform the dance skills. Through her ethnographic approach to embodiment and cognition, she is also examining the relationships between subjective experience and culturally shared values.
For this purpose Elena is carrying out a practice-based fieldwork in India, under a 3-year scholarship granted by the Government of India.
Apart from being an Odissi dancer, Elena is also an emergent choreographer. In her artistic practice, she draws on several dance traditions, in order to explore issues of identity, location and dislocation, bodily experiences and cultural meanings. She has also been awarded the prestigious DanceWEB Scholarship, an intensive program for emergent choreographers, in the frame of ImpulsTanz Festival 2011.
- Embodied Cognition in relation to Music and Dance
- Issues of gender and ethnic identity in Performance
- Odissi: Indian classical dance