Ileana Citaristi

Article Bio Works Merits Projects www
body, ritual, spirituality, tradition
Performing Arts (dance / Chhau, dance / choreography, education)
Written and spoken word (lectures)
Asia, Southern and Central, Europe, Southern
India, Italy, Greece
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created on:
January 21, 2004
last changed on:
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Ileana Citaristi

Ileana Citaristi´s 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,
Author: Odin Teatret


Italian by birth, 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. lleana has been living in Orissa, India, since the year 1979 in close contact with the people, their language and culture.


Odissi Dance

Production / Performance,
1. Mangala Charan The programme opens with mangala charan. After the puspanjali and bhumi pranam or salutation to Mother Earth, the dancer pays homage to Surya, the Creator and Destroyer, effulgent like a red hibiscus flower, riding glorious on his chariot, first among the nine planets. The mangala charan ends with a triple salutation, above the head to the Gods, in front of the face to the Guru and in front of the chest to the public. 2. Pallavi The pallavi is an item of nritta or pure dance where lyrical music is interwoven into the fabric of body movements. A soft blossoming forth of music and dance ending in a crescendo. The pallavi is a distinctive item of Odissi dance, a creative elaboration which flows along and heightens the unique character of a raga. It works up effects mainly through rhythmic variations and cyclic patterns. 3. Abhinaya: Ekalavya The item is based on the Oriya version of the epic poem the Mahabharata, written by Sarala Das. It deals with the story of the tribal chief Jara who is not entitled, due to his low origins, to study at the martial school of the great guru Dhrona, but nevertheless imbibes the skill and knowledge imparted by the master by watching the training from faraway. His dedication is such that, with his expertise, he becomes a threat for all the other warriors, including Arjuna, the guru’s best pupil. The master decides to test his devotion and Jara does not hesitate to sacrifice the thumb of his left hand and offer it to the guru as dakshina (remuneration). His guru bhakti (devotion) remains proverbial for all generations to come and earns him the title of Ekalavya (the incomparable). In this composition elements of Orissa folk and martial arts have been utilised along with the classical Odissi movements. Dancer and choreography: Ileana Citaristi Recorded Music: (1) Sri Ghanashyama Panda; (2) Sri Ghanashyama Panda, Sri Bonomali Maharana; (3) Sri Profulla Kar

The Making of a Guru

Published Written,
´The making of a guru´ has been published by Manohar and was released in New Delhi, in February 2001.

Images of Change

Production / Performance,

The Journey

Production / Performance,

Pancha Bhuta

Production / Performance,

Maya Darpan

Production / Performance,
The Odissi style ballet Maya Darpan premiered at Nehru Center in Bombay in April 1993.


Production / Performance,

The Wreck

Production / Performance,

Echo and Narcissus

Production / Performance,
A revelation at the East-West Dance Encounter held in Bombay in April 1985


´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 was released in New Delhi, in February 2001.


This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the partner institutions.

Roots in Transit IV

Women´s International Theatre Festival and Meeting

(15 January 04 - 25 January 04)


Oden Teatret

South Asian Women´s Forum

A Conversation with Ileana Citaristi