Artists & Dancers
Gary Masters, Founder, CEO, & Co-Artistic Director
Gary Masters (Founder and Co-Artistic Director) for sjDANCEco is the 2014 Isadora Duncan Awardee for Outstanding Achievement in Restaging/ Revival/Reconstruction for the company’s 2012 production of Joseé Limón ‘s The Moor’s Pavane and the 2007-8 Awardee for ‘Sustained Achievement’. He has been a Professor of Dance at San Josée State University since 2001. A graduate of the Julliard School, he has been associated with the Limón Dance Company/Foundation as Dancer, Artistic Associate, Reconstructor, Director of the Limón West Dance Project and the Limón Dance Company’s San Joseé Operations since 1969. He has been hailed by Dance Magazine as “...one of the most gifted performers in contemporary dance...” and his choreography as a “...dance with symbolism that may be seen as something deeply spiritual, a kind of seeking into the unknown...” Besides choreography for sjDANCEco, he has created work for the Limón Dance Company/NY, Limón West Dance Project/San Joseé, Diablo Ballet/Walnut Creek, Nashville Ballet, Dance Kaleidoscope/Indianapolis, Path Dance Company/Baltimore, Cabrillo Music Festival and Opera San Joseé. For more than a decade together with Fred Mathews, he directed the Mathews-Masters Dance Company/New York that toured the US, Canada and abroad. Other awards include Council Silicon Valley’s 2005 Artist Fellowship for Choreography and two National Endowment Choreography Fellowships.
Maria Basile, Co-Artistic Director, Company Choreographer & Dancer
Maria Basile is the 2010 recipient of Arts Council Silicon Valley Artist Fellowship for Performance, received the 2009 Individual Artist Special Recognition award for her choreographic contributions in Santa Clara County and was a 2009 “Isadora Duncan Award” nominee for Best Performance in Birthing the Ascension. Maria was recently honored with a Blessay Award for Performance & Acting by Bay Area Dance Watch/San Francisco. She is a founding member and Co-Artistic Director for sjDANCEco. Basile’s Birthing the Ascension (2006) was hailed by Rita Felciano as “one of her finest achievements…exquisitely designed dance… (that)eloquently spoke of permanence within change. It was her opening solo as roaming spirit over the waters that set the tone.” Besides her annual choreography for sjDANCEco, Maria is a soloist in the Premiere of Oceans with Spector Dance (Marina, CA) this coming November. She has choreographed for the Cabrillo Music Festival (2001 and 2002), Operaé (2005), Midsummer Mozart Festival (2005), De Anza College (2005) and San Jose State University Dance Theatre (2003, 2005, 2007, 2010). Performing highlights of Ms. Basile’s career have been as a charter member of The Limón West Dance Project of San Jose, CA (1994 -1998) and as part of The Limón Dance Company’s critically acclaimed 1997-1998 50th Anniversary World Tour. She has also danced in the Bay Area with ODC/SF and Anne Bluethenthal & Dancers. Ms. Basile competed in The XXIII Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships in Varna, Bulgaria in 1987. Ms. Basile is a Balance a certified instructor by the Balance Center (posture/ structural integration), and since 1996 a prominent teacher of Ballroom, Modern, and Latin dance at De Anza College and San Jose State University. She received her BS in Dance from the University of Oregon.
Fred Mathews, Choreographic Advisor
Fred Mathews (Choreographic Advisor) graduated from Stephens College where he worked under the tutelage of Harriette Ann Gray, former Humphrey-Weidman dancer, subsequently becoming her protege. He then joined the internationally recognized Jose Limón Dance Company, where he became known for his dramatic portrayals. He also performed in a broad repertory of works including “There is a Time,’ “The Winged,” “A Choreographic Offering” (dedicated to Doris Humphrey), “The Unsung,” “The Traitor,” “Missa Brevis” and as was featured as the ‘white man’ in “The Emperor Jones.” In addition he performed in original works by Anna Sokolow, Ruth Currier and Ted Rotante. In 1975, he was engaged to dance opposite Rudolph Nureyev at the London Coliseum in Limón's masterpiece “The Moor's Pavane.”
His first major work, “Solaris,” was premiered by the Limon Company in 1975 and received enthusiastic reviews. His next piece, “Lunaris,” was choreographed for Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers and became known as his signature work. In 1979, he and former Limon dancer, Gary Masters, formed the Mathews-Masters Dance Company in New York City, performing throughout the United States and in Europe. He has choreographed for several professional companies and taught for many years at New York University. In addition, he has given extended workshops at Harvard University, Radcliffe College and Sarah Lawrence College. In 1989 Mr. Mathews was invited to join the faculty at San Jose State University. Professor Mathews is Choreographic Advisor for sjDANCEco and also serves as co-director of Danceworks Presents which produces Bay Area dance companies annually. In 2008, his innovative piece, “Witness the Dawn,” was performed by sjDANCEco and most recently, he directed a structured improvisation as part of “Velocities” for their 2011 season at the California Theatre. Professor Mathews is Coordinator of the Dance Program at San Jose State University where he teaches choreography and philosophy and directs all student choreographed concerts.
José Limón, 1908-1972
Jose Limon was a crucial figure in the development of modern dance. His powerful dancing shifted perceptions of the male dancer, while his choreography continues to bring a dramatic vision of dance to audiences around the world. Born in Mexico, Limon moved to New York City in 1928 after a year at UCLA as an art major. It was here that he saw his first dance program: “What I saw simply and irrevocably changed my life. I saw the dance as a vision of ineffable power. A man could, with dignity and towering majesty, dance... dance as Michelangelo's visions dance and as the music of Bach dances.”
In 1946, after studying and performing for 10 years with Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman, he established his own company with Humphrey as Artistic Director. During her tenure, Humphrey choreographed many pieces for the Limon Dance Company, and it was under her experienced directorial eye that Limon created his signature dance, The Moor’s Pavane (1949). Limon’s choreographic works were quickly recognized as masterpieces and the Company itself became a landmark of American dance. Many of his dances - There is a Time, Missa Brevis, Psalm, The Winged - are considered classics of modern dance.
Limon was a consistently productive choreographer until his death in 1972. He choreographed at least one new piece each year, and he was also an influential teacher and advocate for modern dance. He was in residence each summer at the American Dance Festival, a key faculty member in The Juilliard School's Dance Division beginning in 1953, and the director of Lincoln Center's American Dance Theatre from 1964-65. Limon received two Dance Magazine Awards, the Capezio Award and honorary doctorates from four universities in recognition of his achievements. He was the subject of a major retrospective exhibition at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, The Dance Heroes of Jose Limon (Fall 1996), and in 1997 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, NY. His autobiographical writings, An Unfinished Memoir, were edited by Lynn Garafola and published in 1999 by Wesleyan University Press.
Barbara Day Turner, Music Director & Conductor
Maestra Barbara Day Turner is the founder and music director of the San José Chamber Orchestra, and its family of five youth orchestras. An ardent advocate for new music, she has premiered more than 125 new works just with SJCO. Named a 2012 Silicon Valley Arts Council “On Stage” Artist Laureate, Maestra Day Turner is also Music Administrator and Conductor of the Utah Festival Opera where she has been resident conductor for the past 13 seasons. She frequently guest conducts for orchestras and opera companies in the US, Germany and Mexico, and conducted for Opera San José for 18 years. She is a frequent adjudicator for the Metropolitan Opera national auditions, annually serves as a judge for the Irving M. Klein International String Competition, and serves on the advisory boards of OperaNeo in San Diego, the Delphi Trio, and on the board of directors for the National Women's Philharmonic Advocacy association.
San Jose Chamber Orchestra
San Jose Chamber Orchestra are recipients of three ASCAP/League of American Orchestra awards for adventurous programming, the San Jose Chamber Orchestra has commissioned and premiered over 80 new works by North American composers since the orchestra's inception in 1991. Making SJ's Le Petit Trianon its concert home, SJCO always has something new and exciting on stage. The orchestra also mentors and oversees 4 youth orchestras serving 90 young string players, and frequently collaborates with young composers from SJSU through our Composition Connection program.
Matthew Antaky, Lighting Designer
Matthew Antaky (Lighting Designer) has created both scenic and lighting designs for all of the performing arts including Theater, Opera, Dance and Music since 1985. His design history includes many years designing with companies such as Liss Fain Dance Company, Festival Opera, Lily Cai Dance Company, Mark Foehringer Dance Project, Opera San Jose, Caminos Flamencos, Utah Symphony, Cabrillo Music Festival, Shadowlight Productions, The San Francisco World Music Festival and Flyaway Productions among many others. Mr. Antaky is a five-time nominee and two-time recipient of the Isadora Duncan award for Outstanding Visual Design. This is Matthew’s sixth season designing for sjDANCEco. Please visit his website for more information at Matthewantakydesign.com
Dominic Duong, Company Dancer
Dominic Duong is described as a “hyper-kinetic” award winning dancer and choreographer by French Clements of SF Weekly, San Francisco. He was a recipient of “The Spirit of Dance Award” presented by Jim Tobin of BayAreaDanceWatch, and was one of the 12 nation finalist in the first “A.W.A.R.D. Show!-2011 San Francisco” for his work, ‘Exurgency’. He was invited to New York City where his work, “Written in Calligraphy: From Heaven to Earth” was presented by The American Dance Guild at the Alvin Ailey CitiGroup Theatre. His choreographic works have been presented at The Garage/SF, MoveMENt/SF, ODC Theater/SF, RAW Concept Series/SF, SpectorDance/Marina, WestWave/SF, and also by internationally recognized Chinese dancer and choreographer, Yao Yong of YaoYong Dance. He has been a dancer with sjDANCEco since 2006 and was hailed during the company’s 5th Anniversary Season by Rita Felciano in the SJ Mercury News saying, “Throughout the evening, it was difficult to take your eyes off this lithe and beautifully trained artist who integrates Western dance and martial arts into his dance.” He is also Founder and Artistic Director of DVDance with a show set to premiere 2017-2018 Performance Calendar.
Hsiang-Hsiu Lin, Company Choreographer & Dancer
Nominated twice for choreography award from the Isadora Duncan Dance Awards is the artistic Director of Lin HH Dance Company, Hsiang-Hsiu Lin got her BA in dance and MA in performing arts from the San Josée State University. She formed Lin HH Dance in 2003 and has received many grants and awards from Taiwan’s National Cultural and Arts Foundation (NCAF) for her outstanding performances and choreographies. Summer 2015, Lin HH Dance was invited to Taipei orchestrating “Hungry Heart” performances with sjDANCco at Taipei Arts Festival. Lin had taught at the Dance department of San Joseé State University and Taipei National University of the Arts, the National Taiwan University of the Arts, Kaoshiung City Ballet, Taipei Circle Dance and Cloud Gate Dance Theatre. She is also a certified Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga teacher, director of Dancing Yoga studio at Cupertino.
Gabriel Mata, Company Dancer
Gabriel Mata graduated Outstanding Graduating Senior from San Joseé State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. Mr. Mata has trained in Limón technique under the tutelage of Gary Masters and Raphaeël Boumaïla. Mr. Mata has worked with artists such as Keith Johnson, Diane Frank, Margaret Wingrove, Wynn Fricke, Kara Davis, Joel Smith, and Fred Matthews. He has danced for Mark Foehringher Dance Projects SF, Katharine Hawthorne, and Opera San Jose. He currently performs for sjDANCEco, Post:Ballet, and REACH BC Dance Company. Gabriel Mata/Movements is his own project that features him as an independent artist and choreographer. This performance marks his 5th year with the company.
Hannah McNany, Company Dancer
Hannah hails from Valencia, CA, and studied under the directorship of Gary Masters at San Joseé State University. Earning her B.F.A. in Dance, she has danced with Peter & Co. (SF), REACH BC Dance Company, sjDANCEco, and previously worked with Robert Dekkers, Maria Basile, and Project Agora (Kara Davis). Prior training includes Santa Clarita Ballet, Los Angeles Ballet, BalletMet and R.A.D. Now living in Pacifica, Hannah teaches at Spindrift Performing Arts school while also finding time to study for her two-year RAD teacher training program and dancing with Quicksilver dance in Berkeley. Hannah is excited to be dancing her third season with sjDANCEco.
Kelisha Gardeen, Company Dancer
Kelisha Gardeen graduated from San Jose state university with her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance, along with scholarship awards for Excellence in Performance and Outstanding graduating senior. Kelisha has studied various realms of movement and choreography under Gary Masters, Fred Mathews, Heather Cooper, Dominique Lumuljo, Jill Yager, and more. Kelisha was most recently a part of Dominic Duong's DVDance performance at the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre in New York this past Winter. She is currently working as a group fitness instructor at Salt where she is able to combine her love for dance and fitness. She is incredibly honored to be a part of sjDANCEco for a second year!
Katherine House, Company Dancer
Katherine House started dancing at a young age at Janet Lang Dance Studio in Rochester, Minnesota studying classical ballet and jazz. Later, Ms. House joined the Rochester Dance Company, which provided her with a rigorous training and performing environment. In high school Ms. House discovered modern dance while apprenticing with Rainy Day Cabaret, a contemporary company based out of the Twin Cities, under the direction of Joanie Mix-Lande and Lindsay Bullock. In order to further her dance education, Ms. House moved to California to attend San Josée State University. She was an active member of the University Dance Theatre, SJSU’s pre-professional contemporary dance ensemble, from 2011-2016 performing many works under the direction of Gary Masters and Raphaeël Boumaïla. In 2016, her work "Hours" was selected to be performed in the adjudication concert at the American College Dance Association, Scottsdale AZ. Ms. House graduated spring 2016 Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and a minor in Nutrition. Upon graduation House was awarded with the award for Outstanding Graduating Senior in Choreography. Ms. House has apprenticed for REACH BC Dance Company as well as dancing with DVDance Company. This is her second season with sjDANCEco.
Frankie Rivera, Company Dancer
Frankie Rivera began dancing at young age in a small ballet studio in Salinas, CA. Soon after, he transitioned to Kyoto, Japan and continued his ballet studies in Tokyo. After returning to the United States, he moved to San Francisco, California to pursue a higher dance education at Alonzo King's LINES dance center. He continued this education until graduating high school where he then joined the Training program for 2 years. Upon leaving, Rivera found himself in Santa Cruz, California where he worked with Robert Kelly (Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre), Cid Pearlman and David King (Cabrillo College) while also co-founding his dance company, Bare Outlines. In recent years, Rivera attended ADF in the summer of 2015 and had the honor of dancing with Wynn Fricke during the Footprints gala at the end of the festival. Rivera is currently studying at San Jose State University pursuing his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance and a company member of the University Dance Theatre ensemble under the direction of Heather cooper and Raphael Boumaïla.