Jose Limon, 1908-1972

Kyleigh Carlson is originally from Sacramento California. She earned a BFA in dance from the University of California, Santa Barbara. During her time at the University she served as an intern for Dr. Carol Press, History of Dance Professor. She was awarded the Dance Education Laboratory Scholarship, which extended her education and training in New York (2013), the Patricia Sparrow Scholarship to further her dance studies in New York (2014).  A scholarship to the Joe Goode Workshop in San Francisco (2014), and the Emerging Choreographer Award (2015) presented by Professor Mira Kingsley. Kyleigh’s choreographic work has been awarded on the National level and commissioned for shows such as, Teen Dance Star (2017) and adjudicated at the American College Dance Association western region concert (2019). Most recently she has moved to San Jose California from Humboldt County where she was a Professor at Humboldt State University in the Theater, Film and Dance Department. Kyleigh has danced professionally with CORE contemporary dance, Comedian Hannibal Buress, Trillium Dance Ensemble and is delighted to be currently working with Printz Dance Project (SF) and sjDANCEco. 

Mario Barron, Company Dancer

Gabriel Mata is a Mexican-American dance choreographer, educator, and performer. He graduated from San José State University with a B.F.A in Dance. The StarTribune has called him “Sly, subtle and totally virtuosic, theatrical dancer-choreographer Gabriel Mata holds the stage with expressive movement and witty words.” Gabriel Mata/Movements is his solo based performance project that creates talking dances. His dances have been performed in Minnesota, California, New York, North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington DC, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. His work has been commissioned/performed by sjDANCEco, the Festival of Latin American Contemporary Choreographers, the Luna Dance Institute, Joy of Motion, Dance Place, and the Charlotte Dance Festival. He has performed for companies such as sjDANCEco (CA), Post:Ballet (CA), haus of bambi (DC), and Zenon Dance Company (MN). Mata has also performed for PEARSON WIDRIG DANCE THEATER, Diane Frank, Mark Foehringer, Joel Smith, Keith Johnson, Wynn Fricke, and the work of José Limón. He is currently a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Maryland - College Park.

Ryan began his dance training at San José State University in 2015. In 2019, after four years of training, he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from SJSU. In college Ryan danced for the on campus contemporary dance company, University Dance Theater, for three years under the artistic direction of Raphaël Boumaïla. This rich experience allowed him exposure to such choreographers as Doug Varone, Kyle Abraham, Mike Esperanza, and Kara Davis, as well as exposure to master works such as José Limón’s “Psalm,” “Missa Brevis,” and “The Winged.” In 2018 Ryan performed Kara Davis’s “Exoskeleton” at the American College Dance Association’s national gala at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and in 2019 Ryan performed "And suddenly we see...", choreographed by Heather Cooper and Raphaël Boumaïla, on the famous Jacob's Pillow Inside/Out stage. In his time at San José State University, he had the opportunity to study renowned techniques such as Limón, Graham, Cunningham, and Gaga as well as various styles of jazz, ballet, and release-based contemporary styles.

Maria Basile, Co-Artistic Director, Company Choreographer & Dancer

Ryan Tucker, Company Dancer

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. 

Katherine House started dancing young at Janet Lang Dance Studio in Rochester, Minnesota. Later, House joined the Rochester Dance Company, which provided her with a rigorous training and performing environment. Then, Katherine discovered modern dance while apprenticing with Rainy Day Cabaret. In order to expand her education, House attended San José State University where she was an active member of University Dance Theater, SJSU’s pre-professional dance ensemble from 2011-2016 performing works under the direction of Gary Masters and Raphaël Boumaïla. In 2016, her work “Hours” was selected to perform at the American College Dance Association, Scottsdale AZ. House graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. Katherine is an active member of sjDANCEco and has performed with RAWdance, Slick Babble Dance Project, Push Up Something Hidden, DVDance Company, and pateldanceworks. Katherine continues to make art in the Bay Area.

Matthew Antaky, Lighting Designer

Kevin Gaytan graduated San Jose State University as a double major in Sociology and a bachelor’s in fine arts. He has worked and trained under the instruction of Bay Area choreographers and lecturers such as Heather Cooper, Raphael Boumaila, Jill Yager and Dominique Lomuljo. In addition, he has studied composition and the art of choreography under the instruction of Fred Mathews at San Jose State University. Some of Mr. Gaytan’s performing highlights include classical Jose Limon works such as Psalm and Misa Brevis. He has also had the honor of performing and working for Tandy Beal & Company. In addition, as part of a choreography in residence program, he has performed with Doug Varone and dancers in Doug Varone’s “In the shelter of the fold” in 2018. Mr. Gaytan is currently an active company member of SjDanceCo under the artistic direction of Gary Masters and Maria Basile. As well as Rogelio Lopez and Dancers under the artistic direction of Rogelio Lopez.  In addition to also working with Cypher Dance Company, under the artistic direction of Karina Cervantes.

Kevin Gayton, Company Dancer

Sarah Hernandez began dancing in early elementary school under the direction of Broadway professionals, David Rosales and J.P. Christensen, training in various styles, such as jazz, tap, hip hop, lyrical, and ballet.  She then went on to study dance at San Jose State University and in May of 2019 received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance.  While receiving her degree, she had the pleasure of working with artists such as, Raphael Boumaila, Heather Cooper, Jill Yager, Mark Foehringer, Fred Mathews, and Doug Varone.  Post-graduation, she has worked with multiple contemporary companies including Aisan Hoss and Dancers, directed by Aisan Hoss, and Project Agora, directed by Kara Davis.  This season, as a new member of sjDANCEco, she is excited for the opportunity to perform with the company and engage with some of the Bay Area’s leading dance artists.

Gary Masters, Founder, CEO, & Co-Artistic Director

Kelisha Gardeen, Company Dancer

Danielle Sullivant graduated from San José State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. She was awarded “Outstanding Graduating Senior in Dance Performance.” Under the guidance of Raphaël Boumaïla and Gary Masters, she trained in Limón technique and performed suites of Limón’s works, Choreographic Offering, Psalm, and Missa Brevis. Ms. Sullivant has also studied Cunningham technique with Diane Frank. As part of a student residency program, she performed Doug Varone’s work, in the shelter of the fold, with the Doug Varone and Dancers.  During her sophomore year at SJSU, Ms. Sullivant was awarded the Haws Award for Excellence in Performance by the SJSU Dance Program. She attended the Doug Varone and Dancers Summer Workshop in New York following her graduation. Ms. Sullivant joined sjDANCEco in July 2018 and is currently a member of the San Jose based modern company.  She performed masterworks by the current artistic director of the Limón company, Colin Connor, Fred Mathews and debuted a new duet choreographed by Maria Basile in October at the California Theatre as part of their 16th Anniversary season.  Ms. Sullivant was also part of a Holiday production, Joy, by Tandy Beal where she engaged in various forms of dance and theatrical scenarios.  

Gabriel Mata, Company Dancer

David Le, Company Dancer

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 protégé. 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 an adjudicator for sjDANCEco’s Choreoproject series. In 2008, his innovative piece, “Witness the Dawn”, was performed by sjDANCEco and he directed a structured improvisation as part of “Velocities” for their 2011 season at the California Theatre. Professor Mathews is a long time faculty member of the Dance Program at San Jose State University where he teaches choreography and performance. Most recently he has been invited to give workshops in choreography at the New Ballet School in San Jose.

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

Kelisha Gardeen is a recipient of the Outstanding Graduating Senior & Carol Anne Hawes award for Excellence in Performance from San José State University where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance (2015). She has studied under the artistic guidance of Gary Masters, Fred Mathews, Heather Cooper, Mark Foehringer, John Beasant III, Jill Yager, and Dominique Lomuljo. She has had the fortune of performing with both Dvdance in New York and sjDANCEco at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Kelisha currently manages a fitness studio in SF and is also pursuing her Clinical Psychology Doctorate at CIIS. 

Barbara Day Turner, Music Director & Conductor 

Nominated twice for choreography award from the Isadora Duncan Dance Awards, Hsiang-Hsiu is the artistic Director of Lin HH Dance Company. Staring her dance training in Taiwan at the age of four, she graduated from National Taiwan University of Arts. Later, she got her BA in dance and MA in performing arts from the San José State University.  She was the charter member of The Limón West Dance Project of San Jose and then joined The Limón Dance Company’s critically acclaimed 50th Anniversary World Tour. Ms. Lin 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 José 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.

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.

Fred Mathews, Choreographic Advisor

Kyleigh Carlson, Company Dancer

David Le is an east side San Jose native who grew up doing Vietnamese cultural dance, taiko drumming, and martial arts. A mentor from high school, Gary Masters, guided him to San Jose State University to pursue a career in dance. Transitioning to university, David immersed himself in SJSU’s Dance Program to further his dance education and training where he is an active member of SJSU’s pre-professional company University Dance Theater from 2014 to 2019. He has performed many works under the direction of Gary Masters, Raphael Boumaila, and Heather Cooper. The dance program awarded him the Hawes Award for Excellence in Performance for 2016-17. He has also had the chance to work with resident artists including Kara Davis, Mike Esperanza, Doug Varone, and Kyle Abraham. David is a contributing member to the local urban dance community helping start up crews and On One Studios. His movement blends the cultural, urban, and classical styles of San Jose. Majored in Dance and Minored in Kinesiology, David aspires to explore and spread the power of dance therapy. He is a company member of sjDANCEco, Cypher Dance Company, and DVDance. David will continue to pursue his dance career and now delve into massage therapy. 

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.

Sarah Hernandez, Company Dancer

Copyright sjDANCEco. All rights reserved. 

Katherine House, Company Dancer

San Jose Chamber Orchestra

Danielle Sullivant, Company Dancer

Hsiang-Hsiu Lin, Company Choreographer & Dancer

Mario Barron was born and raised in Bakersfield, CA. He began music training when he was 9 years old, and eventually joined the marching band at his high school. This introduction to the arts encouraged him, almost a decade later, to join a dance class at San Jose State University. A few years later, Barron obtained his BFA in Dance Performance. At SJSU, Mario had the please of studying with numerous amazing artists, some include Heather Cooper, Raphael Boumaila, Mike Esperanza, Dominique Serapio, Doug Varone, and Kyle Abraham. Above all else, this experience taught Mario a lot about choreographic processes enough for him to start a project-based company called Barron&Co. Currently, Barron is working with his company, a second season with SJDANCECO, Cypher Dance Company, Quirk Dance in SF, and has big plans to venture out to experience as much life as possible through the arts. Mario is very excited to be working with all of these passionate, and beautiful artists and cannot wait to see what is next in the arts. 

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.

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 “ of the most gifted performers in contemporary dance...” and his choreography as a “ 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 José, 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.