Elma was raised on Waiben (Thursday Island) in the Torres Strait. Her clan is from the North Western and Central Islands of the Torres Strait.
Elma has had a rich and rewarding career as a dancer, choreographer, actor and teacher. She studied at NAISDA and joined Bangarra in 1999.
Her many choreographic credits include Bupau Ipikazil and Bupau Mabigal (NAISDA, 1994) Malu (Bibir dance company, 1998), the Torres Strait Island element of the Sydney Olympics Opening Ceremony (2000), Emeret Lu (Bangarra, True Stories, 2007; named Best New Work in 2007 Dance Australia Critic’s Survey) and About (Bangarra, Belong, 2011).
Elma’s film credits include Oscar and Lucinda, Reef Dreaming, Farscape, Spear and the ABC radio broadcast Not Your Mob Next Door.
In 2007 Elma won a Deadly Award for Dancer of the Year and in 2008 performed the title role in Mathinna. In 2013, she was invited to undertake a Visiting Fellowship with the Australian National University. In 2015 she was one of five artists who took part in Unsettled, an exhibition at the National Museum of Australia. In 2016 Elma played the title role of Nyapanyapa Yunupingu in Stephen Page's Nyapanyapa, part of Bangarra's triple bill OUR land people stories.
Elma has performed in both Bangarra’s 20th and 25th anniversary programs,
as well as on numerous international tours.