CAMBRIDGE — What’s in a title? José Mateo Ballet Theatre is opening its 2012-13 season with “Mysterious Arrangements.” Mateo in his program note says the phrase refers “to the intriguing, ever-changing choreographic positionings of the performers,” as well as to “the complex relationships that the dancers’ physical interactions describe.” He could, of course, be talking about any choreography, from Merce Cunningham to George Balanchine. At the Sanctuary Theatre Sunday afternoon, Mateo ran closer to Balanchine, in three works that ranged from mysterious to mystifying.
One performance aspect in which Mateo keeps you off balance is costuming. In the opening piece, his 2005 “Time Beyond Time,” most of the women wear gray or mauve leotards, but two of them have red leotards of a different cut, and it’s not because they’re featured dancers. And whereas the men’s costume is basic black, the lead man sports brown bicycle shorts.