Gary Masters, founder and Co-Artistic Director of sjDANCEco, is Professor of Dance for the School of Music and Dance at San José State University. He was the recipient of Arts Council Silicon Valley’s 2005-06 Artist Fellowship. From 1998 to 2002, he served as Director for the Limón Dance Company’s San José Operations.
As a performer, he has been hailed by Dance Magazine as “one of the most gifted performers in contemporary dance” and his choreography as “...dance with symbolism that may be seen as something deeply spiritual, a kind of seeking into the unknown...” A graduate of the Juilliard School, he has performed with the Juilliard Dance Ensemble, the Ethel Winter Dance Company and been a member of the Pennsylvania Ballet.
Since 1969 he has been associated with the Limón Dance Company, and under José Limón’s direction he originated the title role in Orfeo, and the parts of Emperor Maximillian in Carlota and Black Hawk in The Unsung. From 1987 to 1994, Mr. Masters served as the company’s Artistic Associate. In 1994, he created the company’s west coast training center and ensemble - Limón West Dance Project of San José that he directed through the summer of 1998. He is also a key reconstructor for the Limón Institute and has staged Limón’s choreography around the globe.
Twice a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts - Choreography Fellowship, he has also received a “New Works Grant” from the Arts Council of Silicon Valley and is thrice a nominee for the Bay Area’s “Isadora Duncan Award” as well as the Arts Council of Silicon Valley’s “Business Leadership Award.” As a choreographer, he has choreographed works for the sjDANCEco, the Limón Dance Company, Diablo Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Dance Kaleidoscope, Path Dance Company, Newcomb Dance, Dancer’s Repertory Company, and Opera San José’s productions of The Magic Flute, Carmen, and the World Premiere of Phaedra. From 1977 to 1989, he and fellow choreographer Fred Mathews created dances for their Mathews - Masters Dance Company in New York.