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About Ektaa

The Ektaa Center is a multi-use space to host a variety of educational and cultural activities to celebrate the arts and culture of India such as:

  • Classes in the classical and folk dances of India such as Bharata Natyam, Kathak, Odissi, Bhangra, Film Dances etc.
  • Classes in traditional vocal and instrumental music such as vocal Hindustani and Carnatic music, tabla, mridangam, veena etc.
  • Yoga and Meditation
  • Lecture Demonstration and workshops on various aspects of the arts of India
  • Language lessons
  • Seminars or panel discussions on Culture specific topics such as Ayurveda, Travel and cultural tourism
  • Arts and Crafts and traditional clothing exhibitions.

Besides these activities, the Ektaa Center will feature presentations of visiting and local performers representing the arts and culture of India. Watch for an exciting array of activities at this website or email us at info@ektaacenter.org.

The Vision
Over the last three decades, Orange County has grown into one of the most diverse communities in the country. We have the opportunity to make this one of the most vibrant and exciting representations of world cultures; an opportunity to celebrate the differences and be a model for future generations; an opportunity to provide the next generations a smorgasbord of cultural experiences that help them grow into better human beings and good citizens of the world. The first step to accomplish this is through creating awareness and understanding through education and experiential learning.

Ektaa in Sanskrit means oneness or unity. Ektaa Center is committed to create an awareness and understanding of the traditional arts and culture of India, using diverse medium such as dance, music, theater and other related arts to help build better communities in Southern California. The Ektaa Center strives to foster cross-cultural exchange in this multi ethnic community. We believe education and knowledge of cultures creates better communities. At the same time, we strive to preserve ancient cultures through education, community involvement and sponsorship of the performing arts.

The Ektaa Center
With the growing number of people of Indian origin in Southern California and the expanding interest in the arts and culture of India in the broader community, the time for a ‘Center’ that is accessible and ‘user friendly’ has arrived. The objective is to offer opportunities to learn and experience the cultures of India in an environment that is visually and intellectually stimulating, socially engaging and architecturally functional.
In 2004, Ektaa Center opened its doors to a multi use space in Irvine. We provide an infrastructure for multi disciplinary education, cultural experiences, events and activities that showcase the rich heritage and diversity of the Indian sub continent. In 2005, we convened the first symposium titled ‘Dance Conversations: Indian Dance in California’; as visionaries in the field of arts, we constantly strive for new ways to accomplish our mission. We produced a dance series ‘Nachle India’ (2008, 2009, 2011) which highlighted the diversity and vibrancy of Indian classical, folk, Bollywood and even contemporary dance interpretations. But our consistent focus has been to partner and collaborate with community.
From the South Indian Music Academy and the Bengali Association of Southern California to UCLA, UC Irvine and the Irvine Barclay Theater, we are fortunate to have partnered, produced and presented events of the highest quality. Such was the high standards which inspired the ‘Ragaspirit’ festivals (2012, 2013, 2014 and 2017) of Indian Music. In July 2019, we celebrated 15 years as community builders, torch bearers of the arts and culture of India and a legacy for the next generation with Ektaa Fest 2019, a true coming together of the community. Diwali Fest celebrating this important ‘Festival of Lights’ is our most recent effort to connect communities in Irvine and surrounding areas. Our vision is looking beyond to see newer and more interesting ways to exemplify, educate and entertain.

What is Unique to the Arts/Cultures of India
One of the most revered aspects of the arts of India is the Guru-Sishya (Teacher-pupil) tradition which is the building of one-to-one relationships between the master and the student. This unique tradition sometimes poses limitations in making it cost effective to offer to the broad based public in commercial spaces/studios. Hence most of the ‘teachers’ have taught the tradition in a home environment with minimal overhead. The Ektaa Center will strive to make it more available in a public learning environment by finding the right mix of activities, individual /community and business support and government / corporate grants. This process requires cost effective facilities that are well situated to meet the needs of the community.

We Have the Experience
The Ektaa Center has functioned as a presenting organization for over 25 years. Over this period, we have presented the finest quality performances by visiting and local artists in the greater Los Angeles area. With over 50 performances in this time frame, the organization has been fortunate to present the best of artistes such as Pt. Birju Maharaj, the late Kelucharan Mohapatra, Kerala Kalamandalam, Prof. C.V. Chandrashekar and the Dhananjayans among dancers and Ustad Zakir Hussain, Pts. Rajan and Sajan Mishra, Aruna Sairam and Ganesh / Kumaresh to name a few renowned musicians. We have also undertaken risk programming with many local, upcoming and talented artistes visiting from India. We believe that the quality of the presentations along with program information have helped establish a benchmark for presentations in the area.

How are you funded? Why do you need contributions? 
The organization was started in 1989 with contributions from members of the community. Our revenue sources are ticket sales from performances, individual contributions, corporate donations and grants. In 1993, the organization secured its first grant from the California Arts Council for $2000 and was a continuing grantee till 2000. In 2001, we were awarded a grant by the Fund for Folk Culture. In 2002 and 2003, we received grants from Arts OC, the umbrella arts organization for Orange County. While we have received several grants from the California Arts Council and other grantors, individual donors still continue to be the primary source of revenue for our programs and services. It is still a completely volunteer run organization. Many of the artists have been first time presentations that highlight the risk that the organization has taken to promote the arts and the artistes. We need funds to support the ongoing programming and efficient day-to-day operation of the organization.

What are funds used for? 
Funds are used to pay part time contracted services, performing artists, lease costs, marketing, supplies and related expenses. Currently there are no paid staff though we may contract for special services as desired. Surplus funds and grant moneys are used to offset any future programming expenses as well as the development of new programs.

How can you help or contribute?
You may contribute by sponsorship, cash or in-kind donations. Your contributions are tax deductible since the Ektaa Center is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization (Tax ID# 33-0373078). We also welcome volunteers to assist us in various aspects of operations and administration. Please contact Harish Murthy (949-300-8912) or email to harish@ektaacenter.org to see how you may contribute.

We thank the following for their support:

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