Keira Hart-Mendoza-Artistic Director Choreographer/Performer Received her MFA in Dance From Arizona State University and received BA's in Dance and Media Arts & Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. She is often found performing and creating work in and around Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Keira's choreography and video work has been shown nationally and internationally in Arizona, Washington, North Carolina, across the DC-Metro Area, and in Mexico.
Working interdisciplinary and collaborating with artists in all fields is an essential aspect of Keira's work. She has worked with musicians, filmmakers, engineers, actors, motion capture technology, and fashion designers. Keira herself jumps in and out of roles such as costume designer, set designer, and video artist. She also won "Best Student Work" for her video piece entitled "Seeing is..." at the American Dance Festival's Dance for the Camera Film and Video Festival 2005. The video piece is now included in the ADF's Screendance Anthology DVD.Her goal is to show work both in the theater setting and in other unique and unlikely settings in and around town. Keira has been a guest artist at James Madison University, University of Virginia, Coppin State University in Baltimore, and at Arizona State University. She also performs with Daniel Burkholder/The Playground.
Caroline Barna (Dancer) is a dancer and arts administrator in the Washington, DC area. She has had the privilege of performing with UpRooted Dance since she became a member in 2011. Caroline has spent the past year working with local dance organizations Dance Exchange, Dance Place and Joe’s Movement Emporium in an administrative capacity. She is currently Program Coordinator at BalletNova Center for Dance. Caroline holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in dance and communications from James Madison University where she was a part of the Virginia Repertory Dance Company and Contemporary Dance Ensemble, as well as choreographer for the Associate Dance Ensemble.
Jamie Doughty (Dancer) graduated magna cum laude from James Madison University in 2012 with a B.A. in Dance and Communication Studies. At JMU, she was a part of the pre-professional Virginia Repertory Dance Company and the Contemporary Dance Ensemble where she had the opportunity to work with renowned choreographers such as Kelly Bartnik, Shane O’Hara, Sonia Rafferty, Ric Rose, Cynthia Thompson, Vincent Thomas, and Kate Trammell. She was also fortunate enough to be the Student Co-Director of JMU’s Associate Dance Ensemble where she taught and choreographed for JMU’s freshmen class. Since graduation, Jamie has interned with the American Dance Festival and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and is currently a teacher/choreographer for the Shining Stars School of the Performing Arts in Green Valley, MD.
Shelby Gratz (Dancer) is from Stafford, Virginia and has been dancing for 17 years. She danced at Dance and Gym Expressions for 12 years where she was also a competitive dancer. She was the Vice President for the JMU Dance Theatre, part of the Contemporary Dance Ensemble and Virginia Repertory Dance Company. In the summer of 2010, she was granted a summer study scholarship so that she was able to attend the two-week professional dance summer intensive program with River North Chicago Dance Company. In the summer of 2011, she was granted another summer study scholarship to dance with CityDance Ensemble out of Washington D.C. She has also been awarded tuition scholarships for the past three years. She has had the opportunity to work with choreographers such as Kelly Bartnik, Laurie Eisenhower, Gesel Mason and was the rehearsal assistant for Maurice Fraga. She has had the opportunity to perform in the New Dance Festival this season with Dance Alloy Theatre as well as worked with Vincent Thomas, Greer Reed-Jones, Sonia Rafferty and Suzanne Miller-Corso.
Mariel Procter (Dancer) is a recent graduate of James Madison University with a B.A. in dance and a minor in Computer Information Systems. At JMU, she danced with the Virginia Repertory Dance Company and the Contemporary Dance Ensemble where she performed works by Shane O'Hara, Kelly Bartnik, Maurice Fraga, Gesel Mason, and Jim Martin. She also had the privilege of being the Student Technical Director for JMU's dance program in the brand new Forbes Center for the Performing Arts. She has experience stage managing student and professional concerts as well as designing lights for several student works. She is originally from Frederick, Maryland where she studied dance at the Mid-Maryland Performing Arts Center. Mariel worked at Dance Place as the Production Management Intern and the Technical Theater Intern. While at Dance Place, she was able to learn and perform repertory from ClancyWorks, DEVIATED THEATRE, and Ilana Silverstein. In addition to dancing with UpRooted, Mariel also dances with REVISION dance collaborative.
Melissa Swaringen (Dancer) graduated Cum Laude from James Madison University where she received a B.A. in Dance and a B.S. in Communication Studies. Melissa began her formal dance training at age 13 with Celestar Studio of Performing Arts in Malaysia under the direction of founder Celeste Theunissen. Before attending university, Melissa danced for publicity events, music artists, and competitions. During her time at JMU, she was a two year member of the pre-professional Virginia Repertory Dance Company and a three year member of the Contemporary Dance Ensemble where she had the opportunity to work with and perform the works of various artists including; Daniel Burkholder, Maurice Fraga, Kelly Bartnik, Vincent Thomas, Alvin Mayes, Greer Reed-Jones, Gesel Mason, Shane O’Hara, Cynthia Thompson, Suzanne Miller-Corso, and Sonia Rafferty. While at JMU, Melissa gained experience both on and off the stage as a performer, choreographer, stage manager, technical crew, and teacher. During her final year she also taught youth modern at Dance & Company in Harrisonburg, VA. As a recent graduate, Melissa is excited to be a part of UpRooted Dance and dive into a professional career in the arts.
Past Dancers:In the DC Metro Area: Amelia Cox, Heather Doyle, Kate Folsom, Jaedra DiGiammarino, Pirjo Garby, Sarah Gosselin, April Gruber, Stefanie Quinones Bass, Mary Lane, Carrie Monger, Jennifer Rivers, and Lori Yuill.
In Charlottesville VA: Lori Jablonski, Jessie Laurita-Spanglet, Rose Pasquarello Beauchamp, Dayle Todeshini, Rachael Shaw, Kelly Silliman, and Aaron Wine.
Mark H. Rooney: A recent transfer to Washington DC, Mark has performed taiko around the world, taught students of all ages and backgrounds the power and joy of taiko, and led New England’s largest taiko group with his contemporary, hard-rocking style and sense of humor.
From 2008 to 2010 Mark was Artistic Director of Odaiko New England (ONE), New England’s premier taiko group. He joined ONE as a performer in 1998, became a full time staff member in 2004, and 2008 was appointed to succeed founder Elaine N. Fong in the artistic director role.
Mark has worked both on and off stage with some of today’s most renowned taiko performers, including KODO, Marco Lienhard (Taikoza), Tiffany Tamaribuchi (Sacramento Taiko Dan) and Kaoru Watanabe (KODO, KWTC Ensemble).
As a performing artist, Mark’s credits span multiple continents and genres. While living in Wakayama, Japan from 2000-2003, Mark performed with local taiko groups including Shippu Uchi Daiko and Kiishuu Ryujin Daiko. He has also performed widely in Europe and the United States as a touring member of Marco Lienhard’s Taikoza. As a composer, Mark has produced original taiko pieces for several groups, including signature pieces “Kashmir”, “Senryu” and “Shin-en”. Mark has also collaborated with other artists and musicians such as Marshall Hughes (Opera Unmet) and jazz trumpeter Tiger Okoshi (Yamaha Artist and Berklee College of Music Professor). Mark’s experience as a performer also extends to elements of production and stagecraft, reflected in ONE’s self-produced concerts “Crossroads,” “Transformations,” and “re-Vision.”
Although Mark is a dynamic and talented performer, his true passion lies with teaching taiko. During his tenure as Artistic Director, Mark was the principal instructor for ONE’s many classes and workshops, greatly expanding the group’s teaching capacity. He led an after school program at Concord-Carlisle High School and designed and led residencies at the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, the Allston Boys and Girls Club and the Roxbury Community College Summer Arts Intensive program for youth. He was also a guest instructor at Wesleyan University, where he established and taught widely popular courses in taiko for five years.
Mark’s own training comes from a wide range of dynamic teachers including Eiichi Saito (KODO) and Ryo Shimamoto (Shippu Uchi Daiko), after whom he models his own teaching style.
Mark is excited to share taiko with a new community in our nation’s capital.
“Taiko has connected me to such a large number of truly extraordinary people; I am ever grateful for that.”
David Schulman: Playing his Zeta electric violin through a loop station, David creates layers of strings that shimmer and sway over frolicsome grooves — or that evoke jazz soundscapes, and lost memories. Selections from David’s debut album, “Quiet Life Motel,” have been heard nationally on NPR’s Weekend Edition, and featured in an interview on APM’s “The Story with Dick Gordon.” A student of the great jazz and salsa violinist Eddie Drennon, David loves to improvise in response to images, and to create musical “environments for dance,” theater and film.
Recent commissions include creating and performing original scores for Stephanie Miracle (“Figure Eights” at Dance Place), Keira Hart-Mendoza & Uprooted Dance, and PearsonWidrig Dance Theater (Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, Middlebury College, VT). David is currently Musician-in-Residence for the internationally known Dance Exchange, and recently returned to the DC Jazz Festival for performances at Twins and The Phillips Collection. His music was featured in The Studio Theater’s spring 2013 production of “Skin Tight.” He has performed for multiple events at NPR headquarters, and can be heard this summer at Twins Jazz, Black Fox Lounge, Glen Echo Park, and other venues.