Faculty

Artistic Director, Emma Delaney
Emma grew up in the dance community of Bellingham, beginning at age three. Her training is rooted with a foundation in classical ballet, though she also studied and competed in many other styles, such as jazz, contemporary, hip hop, musical theatre, and ballroom. After studying at Cornish College of the Arts, Emma came back to Bellingham to pursue her passion of teaching and choreography. Emma first joined the Harper&I family as a ballet/contemporary instructor in 2012. After taking some time to focus on choreographing stage musicals, she rejoined the HIDC faculty in 2018, and transitioned to Owner & Artistic Director in June 2020. Her specialties now include ballet, jazz, contemporary, musical theatre, and competition dance.

Emma was there the day Harper&I was created and in June 2020 she stepped in as owner and Artistic Director.  Emma’s teaching philosophy is holistic and does not stop at teaching dance.  She believes that each person is on their own never ending journey of growth – mentally, physically, emotionally.  Emma firmly believes that one is never done learning, and encourages her students to embark upon a life-long journey of curiosity and personal development.  As Owner & Artistic Director, Emma wants to ensure that she builds upon the history of HIDC and its solid foundation; always growing, morphing, and adapting to the times and the students’ needs. 



Chelsea Chrystal
Chelsea has 14 years of training under her belt and is continuously learning. She spent 11 years with Eastern Washington Elite Dance Studio competing, training, and going to many workshops such as Monsters of Hip-Hop. She trained in various styles including ballet, jazz, tap, breakdance, and her personal favorite hip-hop. She currently dances with SINI-HHA, a hip hop dance group at Western Washington University. As an instructor Chelsea’s main focus is improving her students’ all around love for movement and music. She takes on a unique approach encouraging her students to move freely and feel more confident. She is very excited as a new instructor here at HIDC and can’t wait to share what she has learned over the years with her students. 

 
 

Jake Paletta
With small influences from many different styles, from popping to salsa, Jake’s passion and focus is breaking. Originally from Renton, Washington, Jake learned almost everything he knows from world champion Bboy Jeromeskee, and by battling with and against crews all around the Seattle area. Being part of a hip-hop community as vibrant and passionate as Seattle’s scene is has shown Jake the importance of culture and history to breaking and dance as a whole, which makes teaching the history behind the dance a major part of all his classes. Jake has been teaching breaking to students of all ages for over 5 years, and holds technique, safety, and fun above everything else in his lessons. He’s also really excited to be sharing what he knows with dancers at Harper&I, and looks forward to helping new students broaden their horizons in dance and in life.



Rachel Stenner
Rachel grew up in Redmond, WA dancing at Gotta Dance. She started dancing at age 4, and has studied ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, musical theater, hip hop, pointe and modern. She was a member of the Gotta Dance Performance Team for 9 years and competed during this time. As much as she loves dancing for herself, she found that she gets the most joy teaching others how to dance. She is currently attending Western Washington University to study elementary education and history, as well as continuing to study dance.

 


Katie Vopnford
Katie has been dancing for 15 years and has taught for Harper&I for several years. She is a student at the University of Portland studying Spanish and Nursing. Katie is trained in ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary and hip-hop. She also danced competitively for four years and had the amazing opportunity to attend the Joffrey Ballet School’s summer intensives in both Los Angeles and New York. She is excited to pass on her love of dance to all of her students!