In Memoriam: Elheran Francis

It is with profound sadness that I share the news of the passing in June 2020 of our long-time instructor, mentor and friend Elheran Francis. Elheran had been the primary instructor at Piedmont Highland Dance for over two decades. A gentle and patient teacher, he was also a tireless promoter of the Highland Arts in Piedmont.

Elheran had a vast knowledge of Scottish Highland Dance and Celtic culture as well. Some interesting tidbit was always at hand! In his younger days Elheran competed in Highland Dance, so although he had that perspective and expertise it was always imparted putting the particular needs of each student first. Elheran also had wide experience with fitness in general and physical therapy in particular. He always worked hard to make sure each dancer knew how to care for themselves with an end to preventing injury. When needed, he usually had physical therapy suggestions to get dancers started on the road to recovery! Elheran was very generous; always giving of his time, experience, empathy…and humour!

The dance studio will not be the same without Elheran, but I feel so privileged to have learned from him how to dance, how to teach and how to be a kind human being. Let us honor his memory by sharing those things with others and bringing his love of Scottish dance and culture to new generations in our studio and beyond.

To honor his memory, some of the dancers got together to do a memorial Fling for Elheran in the weeks after his passing:

Pub Night and 2019 Pleasanton Scottish Games and Gathering

Pub Night and 2019 Pleasanton Scottish Games and Gathering

One of the biggest Scottish Games events in the U.S. takes place this upcoming weekend, August 31 and Sept 1st. There is so much to see and do all week at the games, which take place at the Alameda County Fairgrounds.

Not to be missed is a pre-game celebration at Main Street Brewery in downtown Pleasanton. Piedmont Highlanders Pipes and Drums will be providing music and Piedmont Highland dancers will join them for some relaxed and festive Highland dancing. Come enjoy the food, drink and fun!

New World Dancers have kindly invited Piedmont Highland dancers to perform with them at the Pleasanton Games once again. Come watch on Saturday, August 1st at 10 a.m. in the Celtic Heritage area. New World will also be dancing Saturday at 11:45, 12:30 and 1:40. 

See you at the Main Street Brewery Thursday and then at the Games this weekend!

Scottish Highland Games and Gathering in Pleasanton

Scottish Highland Games and Gathering in Pleasanton

The Piedmont Highland Dance intermediate and advanced classes performed at the Games this past Labor Day weekend and it was a great success. In the first show on Saturday, the dancers performed Over the Water to Charlie, The Dusty Miller, the Lochaber Broadswords and a choreographed reel entitled “Everybody Dance Now!”.  A bit later that day they danced Earl of Errol, and a solo sword dance was performed by Graham Freifeld.

Many thanks to the New World Scottish Dancers who hosted our dancers, sharing the stages and time slots with us!

Please visit our gallery for photos of the event.

Main Street Brewery hosts Scottish Games Pub Night

Main Street Brewery hosts Scottish Games Pub Night

This past Thursday, the Main Street Brewery hosted a pub night in advance of the 2018 Scottish Highland Games in Pleasanton. Piedmont Highland Dancers together with the Piedmont Highlanders Pipe Band entertained patrons with dancing and music from the Scottish repertoire. This annual event is always enjoyed by everyone and is a great kick-off to the Games weekend.

Please visit our gallery to view photos from this event.

Join us May 12th for our annual Ceilidh!

Join us May 12th for our annual Ceilidh!

The City of Piedmont has a long tradition of teaching and preserving the Scottish Highland Arts, and in keeping with that, Piedmont Highland Dance would like to invite you to our annual ceilidh!

“Ceilidh” is Gaelic for a “social gathering”, where friends, family and the community are invited to share dancing, singing, music, poetry and the like with each other.

Our Ceilidh will feature performances of Scottish Highland and National dance, Ladies Step dance, Scottish Country dance, pipe bands and more. Easy group social dances will be taught for all to enjoy!

Guests who would like to perform a short Celtic-themed act may sign up beforehand by contacting us here: We may also have some open time slots available at the ceilidh for last-minute performers.

So bring your dance shoes, instruments and voices! Join us on Saturday, May 12th at the Veteran’s Building in Piedmont. Doors will open at 6 p.m., ceilidh will begin at 6:30. All ages are welcome, bring a finger food to share. Ceilidh is free, but donations are welcomed.

We’ll see you there!


…And a good time was had by all!

…And a good time was had by all!

The Piedmont Highland Dance annual ceilidh on May 6th was well attended and a great success! Many thanks to all who attended and performed and to those who helped set up and clean up.

PHD dancers performed many selections from the standard Highland repertoire, such as the Sword dance, Seann Triubhas and the Strathspey and Reel. Dances such as the Lilt and Flora from the Nationals repertoire were also performed. Audience members were asked to join in any of the dances they knew, so the floor was packed for the Fling as well as many other dances. Our thanks to Ethan Freifeld who fiddled a perfect Irish Washerwoman for the Highland Jig dancers.

Pipers and drummers were well represented and great crowd pleasers! The Piedmont Highlanders Pipe Band, and Eric Leiken (PM) with John (side drummer) of Dunvegan Pipe Band performed band sets, solos and played for dancers. Pipes and drums add so much to the ceilidh!

The New World Dancers entertained us with their lovely country dance sets, and their ladies step dance group performed some dazzling high-energy choreographed pieces. Wow!

Many other performers shared their talent with us such as Elizabeth Davis dancing an awe-inspiring Irish slip-jig, Kirsty Fitch singing beautiful traditional Scottish music and Lynne Miller piping lovely slow airs.

In between all of this, we managed to bring audience and performers together for several ceilidh and country dances taught by Elheran Francis.

What a great evening! It just wouldn’t be a PHD ceilidh without each and every one of you!