Leesa Mohanty is an internationally acclaimed artiste in Odissi dance belonging to the Deba Prasad Das legacy. She is the founder of Nirguna Centre for Excellence for training in music and dance, which has opened its first branch in Powai, Mumbai. The Centre for Excellence aims to promote the rich cultural traditions of India including its dance and music through innovative techniques.
Leesa is a recipient of many awards including the Best Child Artist Award (1984) by Govt. of Orissa and Orissa Cine Critic Association for her acting in ‘Basatna Raasa’ (Oriya Feature Film) based on typical Odissi style, ‘Rajdhani Ratna Award (2001)’ by Bhawna Kala Sansthan, New Delhi, ‘Film Media Award (2001)’ by the UP Photo Films Journalists Association. She is a Senior Auditioned Artist at Doordarshan Kendra, Cuttack, Orissa and the recipient of Senior Merit Scholarship of the Department of Culture, Ministry of HRD, Govt. of India and Junior Fellowship of the Department of Culture, Ministry of HRD, Govt. of India, 2010. She has been awarded the title of ‘Rasaamruta Sambardini’ by the Temple of Fine Arts International, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2007. Leesa has performed extensively abroad and in India in most of the premiere festivals including the Konark Festival, Sharad Utsav, Haridas Samaroha, Natyanjali festival, Mukteswara festival to name a few.
Her book “Dancing is fun” is a unique contribution to the field of dance. The handbook comes with a set of flash cards (available only in the paperback version) on the various aspects of Indian classical dance. The flash cards give the English transliteration of the usage of these gestures as mentioned in the Abhinaya Darpana written by Nandikeswara.