Italian by birth, Ileana holds a Doctrate 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 as experimental theatre in Europe. IIeana has been living in Orissa, since the year 1979 in close contact with people, their language and culture. Her mentor in the Odissi dance is the renowned Guru, Padma Bibhushan, Kelucharan Mohapatra.
She is equally at home with the different maritial postures of the Chhau dance of Mayurbhanj which has learnt under the guidance of Guru Shri Hari Nayak, obtaining the title of ‘Acharya’ from the Sangeet Mahavidiyalay 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 published in Indian and foreign magazines, research work for film-documentaries on Odissi and Chhau dances and practical dance workshops in India and abroad. She has given performances in all the major dance festivals in India as well as in Italy, Argenitna, Poland, France, Germany, Holland, Denmark, USA and so many countries. Her innovative choreographies in Mayrbhanji Chhau include the Greek myth ‘Echo and Narcissus’, which was a revelation at the East-West Dance Encounter held in Mumbai 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) and in Odissi style the ballet Maya Darpan’ premiered at Nehru Centre in Mumbai in April 1993.
A’ grade artist from Cuttack Television, Ileana 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. 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.
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 and the ‘Kalinga Mahotsav’, a Festival of Martial Dances held in front of the Dhauli stupa at Bhubaneswar. Art Vision is regularly hosting performances of folk theatre in the mini auditorium situated in its own premises. Still I rise (February, 2005) after Jarjara