Gary Masters and Fred Mathews have much in common, especially their streamlined bodies, their seasons dancing with the Jose Limon Company, and joint ventures since 1976 which have left them with an agile, unmannered modern technique. But, as choregraphers, it isn't difficult to tell them apart.
Mathews' pieces are design-dominated. He's not exactly a minimalist, but neither is he generous with movement ideas. Using a few walk-a-day themes such as simple stepping, vortex turning and knee bending, he makes them technical at modest energy levels. That they look so professional is the result of smooth delivery. There are no surprises in a Mathews dance, only variations.
In "The Seasons," all four sections call for banner cloaks that extend the performers' natural lines to create wings, fins, sails. "Lunaris" is a long daisy chain for seven dancers carrying sickles of mirrored glass. Progressions seem undisturbed, almost computerized, even in Mathews' brooding "Chasm" duet for himself and Betty Ceva.
Masters' dances are uneven. At one moment he'll emphasize movement, then emotional mimetic signals or pictorial stylization. "Broken Memory" is a sentimental version of the modern bisexual pas de trois whose archetype was Jerome Robbins' "Facsimile." In "Tabuh Tabuhan," Gary Masters juggles exotica, frieze effects and repetition for three harem nymphs and two Scheherezade fauns.
The pleasure of seeing Mathews/-Masters is in watching seven good bodies well lit and adequately exposed through motion. They will dance again at Grace Church in Georgetown at 8:30 p.m. tomorrow.