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.
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, Decypher Dance Company, Quirk Dance, Archive, and Barron&Co. David will continue to pursue his dance career and delve into massage therapy.
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.
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.
Kelly Barry recently graduated from San Jose State University with her BFA in Dance August of 2020 and has danced with sjDANCEco since 2021. She has worked professionally in dance on and off the stage for the last seven years as a teacher, a backup dancer, a dancer and ambient performer with Velocity Circus Arts, and much more. Kelly trained with Katie’s Dance Studio in El Cerrito, CA from 2000-2015 in tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop, lyrical, and acrobatics, and continued her training at SJSU in modern, ballet, contemporary, and jazz from 2015-2020. She has attended such training intensives as The Rockettes’ Summer Intensive in New York City (2016) and Axis Dance Company’s summer intensive and integrated dance teacher training in Oakland (2018). Additionally, she was a member of SJSU’s University Dance Theater for three years, through which she has performed in several professional level performances, including the ACDA 2018 National College Dance Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Through the pandemic, Kelly has been working as a nanny, a part-time dance teacher, and a freelance artist in the Bay Area while she searches for more performance opportunities in the Bay Area and along the west coast.
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.
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.
Born and raised in Jackson, MS, Erin received her BFA in dance from Belhaven University. While in college, she had the opportunity to work with artists such as Cynthia Newland, Caleb Mitchell, Ravenna Tucker, Laura Morton, Stephen Wynne, David Keary, Steve Rooks, Randall Flinn, and Emily Wright. During her senior year, Erin was accepted into Alvin Ailey’s summer intensive where she spent 6 weeks training in Horton, Graham, and Ballet. Following college, Erin moved to Cleveland, OH to dance with Inlet Dance Theatre as a Company Member, Choreographer, and Teaching Artist. During her 8 years with Inlet, Erin had the opportunity to perform throughout the United States and premier new works at the second largest Playhouse Square, located in Cleveland, as well as perform at Jacob’s Pillow’s Inside/Out Series. She has held masterclasses in Erick Hawkins technique and Non-Traditional Partnering at Belhaven University, Hillsdale College, and University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. In 2017 and 2018 she attended Dance/USA’s annual conference as a representative of Inlet Dance Theatre.
A Bay Area native, Evan studied ballet with Charles Anderson, Katarina Wester, and Jodie Gates. He developed his contemporary dance practice with Donald McKayle and Loretta Livingston while earning degrees in dance and biological sciences from UC Irvine, where he also studied dance medicine & science under Jeff Russell. Since returning to the Bay Area, Evan has performed with Bay Pointe Ballet, Menlowe Ballet, and other companies as a freelance dancer.
Madeline Takemori (Maddie) was born and raised in San Jose California and is excited to be back dancing in the Bay Area community. Maddie grew up dancing (2003-2015) at The Joy of Dancing in San Jose where she trained in styles such as ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary and acrobatics and participated in the competition and performance team, Dynamics (2010-2015). She attended Independence High School and was a member of iDANCE the Performing Arts Ensemble under the direction of Kellye Dodd.Maddie earned a BFA in Dance and a BA in Economics and Accounting in 2019 from the University of California, Santa Barbara. During her time at UCSB, she studied ballet and various modern techniques and was a member of the UCSB Dance Company (2019) which toured five countries in Europe to teach community classes and perform over the course of three weeks. While in college, she worked under artists such as Doug Elkins, Ephrat Asherie, Nancy Colahan, and Alice Condodina. Under the guidance of Alice Condodina, Maddie studied and performed excerpts of José Limón’s “The Unsung” as part of the first ever female-inclusive cast, which had previously only been performed as an all-male piece. Maddie was also selected to receive the Alice Condodina performance award in the dance department (2019). Maddie works full time as a auditor at a mid-sized public accounting firm in the Bay Area and is looking to continue growing the presence of dance in her career.
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
Kyleigh Brine grew up in California. She earned a MFA in interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis in Choreography at Wilson College and a BFA in dance from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Kyleigh has 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), and the Emerging Choreographer Award (2015) presented by Professor Mira Kingsley. Kyleigh’s choreographic work has been awarded on the National Level, commissioned for shows such as, Teen Dance Star (2017), and adjudicated at the American College Dance Association western region concert (2019). Recently, her film, place, has been selected for multiple film festivals and was awarded as a finalist for the Serbest International Film Festival. She has also served as a mentor and choreographer with an arts non-profit organization, the Arts Mentorship Program and Mentor for Wilson College Undergraduate Dance Concert, Orchesis. Most recently she moved to San José California from Humboldt County where she was a Professor at Cal Poly Humboldt within the Theater, Film, and Dance Department. Currently, she is a Professor at San José State University teaching Modern, Jazz, Ballet and tap technique. Kyleigh has danced professionally with CORE contemporary dance, Comedian Hannibal Buress, Trillium Dance Ensemble, Printz Dance Project (SF) and is delighted to be currently dancing for Limón based company under the direction of Gary Masters and Maria Basile, sjDANCEco.
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 “...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 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.
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.