Italian by birth Ileana holds a Doctorate in Philosophy with a thesis on 'Psychoanalysis and eastern mythology'. She has come to Indian dance after years of experience in the traditional as well as experimental theatre in Europe.
Ileana has been living in Orissa, India, since the year 1979 in close contact with the people, their language and culture. Her mentor in the Odissi dance style is the renown Guru, Padma Vibhushan Kelucharan Mohapatra.
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She is equally at home with the different martial
postures of the
Chhau dance of Mayurbhanji which she has learnt
under the guidance of Guru Shri Hari Nayak, obtaining the title of ‘Acharya’ from the Sangeet
Mahavidyalya of Bhubaneswar in Orissa.
contributions, besides the many performances and
lecture-demonstrations given in all the major centres in
India, include articles on Oriya culture published in
Indian and foreign magazines, research work for
dances and practical dance workshops for dancers and
theatre workers which she regularly conducts under
invitation by different institutions in India and
abroad. She has given performances in all the major
dance festivals in India as well as in Italy, Argentina,
Poland, France, Germany, Holland, Denmark, Hong Kong,
Japan, USA, Australia and Israel.
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Her innovative choreographies in
Mayurbhanji Chhau include the Greek myth ‘Echo and Narcissus’, which was a revelation at the East-West Dance Encounter held in Bombay in April 1985, ‘The Wreck’ (December 1988), ‘Icarus’ (July 1991), ‘Pancha Bhuta’ (January 1996), ‘The Journey’ (September 1998), ‘Images of Change’ (March 2000), ‘Surya devata’ (December 2001), ‘Jarjara’ (January 2003),'Still I rise' (February, 2005) and in Odissi style the ballet ‘Maya Darpan’ premiered at Nehru Center in Bombay in April 1993. 'Dasa Mahavidya' (1999), 'Ganga Yamuna' (2005), 'Exploration' and 'Tantra' (2006), 'Saraha' ,'Bolero' and 'Rhydhum'(2007),‘Mahanadi and the river flows’ and ‘Sparsha’ (2008) 'Bhagavad Gita' and 'Belaboli pallavi' (2009),'Karuna' (2010), 'Maana Bhajana' (2011), 'Kaala - Timebound' (2012),
'Siddhartha' (2014), 'Akshara ' (2016), 'Refugee' (2018), 'Meghadootam' (2019).
Ileana is a top- grade artist from Doordarshan and she is empanelled as
‘outstanding artist’ in ICCR. She has been awarded the prestigious title ‘Leonide
Massine for the art of dance’ in Italy in September 1992 and the ‘Raseshwar’
award by the Sur Singar Sansad, Bombay, in December 1994. In May 1996 she won
the ‘National Award for best choreography’ for her dance direction to the
Bengali film ‘Yugant’ directed by Aparna Sen. In 2009 she has received the 'Pandit Jasraj award' from the Rotary Club of Hyderabad and the 'Order of
the Star of Italian Solidarity' from President of Italy and in 2016 the 'NALCO
Kharavela' Award for her role as distinguished guru in Odissi dance. She is "Top grade" artist in Doordarshan and enlisted in the "outstanding" catagory of I.C.C.R.
She has conducted a research on the Martial Art of Orissa under the aegis of the Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts in 1991 and in 1996 she has been granted a senior Fellowship by the Dept. of Culture, Government of India, for writing a book on Kelucharan Mohapatra’s life. The book titled ‘The making of a guru’ has been published by Manohar and released in New Delhi, in April 2001.
She has also authored the book "Traditional martial practices in Odisha" which was released in Bhubaneswar in Septmber
2012 and she has released her own autobiography "My
journey, a tale of two births" in April 2015.
January 2006, she was awarded the title of Padmashree from Government of India for her contribution to Odissi Dance.
In Bhubaneswar she is imparting training in
Chhau dances to local as well as visiting students in her own institution
Art Vision, founded by her in the year 1995. Through Art Vision Ileana has organised along the years several Festivals unique in concept like the ‘Festival of films on performing and visual arts’ which has reached the 6th edition and the ‘Kalinga Mahotsav’, a Festival of Martial Dances held in front of the Dhauli stupa at Bhubaneswar, 'Sangam',
a confluence of dance' since 2005 and 'Remembering
Guruji' organized yearly on the 7th of April to commemorate Guru Kelucharan
Mohapatra's death anniversary. Art Vision is regularly hosting performances of folk theatre in the mini auditorium situated in its own premises.