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Personal Profile of Dr. Ileana Citaristi

Photo of Ileana Citaristi
Dr. Ileana Citaristi
Title : Adjunct Professor
School : Humanities, Social Sciences & Management
Office (Room No.) : Toshali Bhawan, A/2 Block, 6th Floor
Phone No. (Office) : ileana5@hotmail.com
Email :
Research Interests
Odissi Dance and Chhau Choreography
Degree Discipline Year School
Ph.D. Philosophy 1976 Ca’ Foscari Unversity, Venice, Italy
Brief Resume

Italian by birth, Padmashree Dr Ileana Citaristi  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 Odisha, 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. 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.

Her  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 film-documentaries on Odissi and Chhau 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, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan,   USA, Australia , Israel, Spain , Poland., South Korea,  Canada, Peru and California.

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 Bhanjana (2011), Kaala-Timebound (2012), Gaia-Mother Earth (2013), Siddhartha (2014).

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 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 books “Traditional martial practices in Odisha” which was released in Bhubaneswar in Septemmber 2012 and  “My journey, a tale of two births”, her own autobiography  released in New Delhi in 2015.  In 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 Odissi and 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, the ‘Kalinga Mahotsav’, a Festival of Martial Dances held in front of the Dheuli stupa at Bhubaneswar yearly since 2003 and Sangam Festival since the year 2005.. Through Art Vision she  is regularly hosting performances of  folk theatre in the mini auditorium situated in  her school premises.