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About Seraglio

Premiering 1989 in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Ojai and Salt Lake City, SERAGLIO is a three-act folkloric ballet about star-crossed lovers in early twentieth century Istanbul. It is the story of a Turkish girl and Greek boy who fall in love, despite their cultural and class differences and decide to risk everything to be together. She is the youngest daughter of the wealthy Turman family and he is a poor Greek immigrant who seeks a better life in the metropolis of Istanbul. When their relationship is discovered, they are forced to face the reality that their love and their lives are threatened.


Through the lens of the Aegean conflict, Seraglio reflects the hardship of young lovers who bare the cross of forbidden love in a multicultural society; it reflects the universal struggle of immigrants to assimilate. Like Romeo and Juliet or Tony and Maria of West Side Story, Seraglio tells the age-old story of star-crossed lovers from a fresh perspective, and in a new style - folk dance, thus disrupting the status quo of dance theater as a European art.  With 40 dancers, actors and a snake, elaborate sets and a grand score, Seraglio brings all the power and passion of Greek and Turkish music and dance to the stage.


Early MEE Edited-2.bmp

1989: The first members of the UCSB Middle East Ensemble. 
L to R: Mr. Koorosh Haghighat-Kish, Dr. Scott Marcus, Rebekah Scogin, Brad Wright, Alexandra King and Susan Rudnicki

Alexandra King
Writer,  Choreographer,  Producer

Based in Santa Barbara, CA., Alexandra King is a recognized and highly regarded Middle Eastern dance artist throughout the United States. Since opening her school 1981, Alexandra King Dance has entertained audiences, trained students and inspired appreciation for and understanding of the diverse arts and cultures of Greece and the Middle East. Many of her students have become professionals and prominent artists such as Tamra-henna, Paulina and Saundra.

She has worked internationally as a performer, choreographer, producer and teacher, and has traveled extensively throughout North Africa, Greece and the Middle East  to observe and study the dances of these regions. 

Her training includes ballet, pointe, tap, Middle Eastern and Greek folk dances, classical Persian dance, Polynesian dance, flamenco, Bharata Natyam and four styles of cabaret dance. From 2000-2004 she was a lecturer in the UCSB Department of Dramatic Arts and Dance teaching Dances of the Middle East.

In 1989 she co-founded the UCSB Middle East Ensemble with Dr. Scott Marcus and was its dance director until 2010 when she retired from the Ensemble.  During her tenure as the dance director, she developed a broad repertoire of dance styles from throughout Greece and the Middle East. In 2023 she returned as its director.

She  currently works as a freelance instructor, performer and choreographer and has returned to Direct the UCSB Middle East Dance Ensemble.

About Alexandra King Dance


World Peace and Prosperity through World Dance and Music.


To preserve and elevate world dance arts, and to broaden appreciation, equity and inclusiveness for all dance art.

1. To produce a spectacular folkloric ballet that exceeds expectations of the public, the media and the art world. Then, take the show on the road to Hollywood, Broadway and Greece and eventually create a film.

2. To contribute to a revival of cultural dance and music events in Santa Barbara, including festivals, theater performances, club events and restaurant floor shows.

3. T
o set a precedent for other world dance artists to create dance theater.



Art exposes us to viewpoints and realities that are unfamiliar, and by considering them, we transcend our own world and connect with others'.  Any dance style is art if it lifts the soul, moves the viewer and changes they way they see  and understand life and the world, for the better.
~Alexandra King

The Production Team

Dancers are a peculiar tribe of performing artists; they work harder than any other performing artists - physically, emotionally and mentally- no matter what style they belong to. A dancer is first an athlete,
but also a musician and an actor. Most of the people on the production team of Seraglio are accomplished dancers who bring their own passion and skill set to the production. I am grateful to have them on the production team and I applaud them as I applaud the artists on the stage.


   Daniel Rojo 

Assistant Artistic Director


Mandali Media

Marketing and Branding


Yasmin Zografos

    Costume Consultant


    Luca Ferral

Stage Manager

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