Alongside her achievements as a dancer, Elena is committed to her academic career as dance anthropologist and ethnographer. In the last ten years, she has carried out ethnographic fieldwork and research in Europe, Africa and India, receiving generous fundings to complete her projects and publishing part of her work in both scholarly and popular journals. 

Her research interests span from gender and ethnicity to power and difference in dance practices, from embodiment and somatic experience to artists' transnational mobility, from Indian classical dance, to African and European Traditional Dances.

This research experience has strongly influenced her dance practice both as a performer and as a teacher. Whether on stage or in the dance studio, Elena interweaves rigorous technique with a sharp anthropological account of the cultural and philosophical principles that underpin Odissi dance.