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About Our School

The Clan Heather Dancers formed in 1974 under direction of Heather Richendrfer in Bellingham, Washington.  The school is the longest-established dance school in Whatcom County; celebrating 49 years in the 2023-2024 season of dance. 


Heather offers a variety of dance forms including Scottish Highland, Irish step, Ceili dance (Ireland's social dance), and choreography.  The school attracts dancers seeking excellence in instruction and performance opportunities.


Students range in age from pre-school to adult and many participate in the demonstration team.  


Clan Heather Dancers are successful competitors at Highland gatherings.  Heather trains Highland dancers for competitions through Championship level and her students compete on the international circuit.  


Enjoy listening to a recent radio interview:







Special Recognition

Heather Richendrfer, Director

2019 - Selected to judge the World Highland Dancing Championships in Dunoon, Scotland

2018 - Elected President

British Columbia Highland Dancing Association

2018 - Founded the Scottish Dance Society and presented the inaugural Bellingham Scottish Gathering

2017 - Recognized for 25 years of Service

Celtic Arts Foundation

2011 -  Received Life Membership in the

British Association of Teachers of Dance


2010 - Selected to judge "Champion of Champions" Championship in Caloundra, Australia


2005 - Selected to judge the World Highland Highland Dancing Championship, Dunoon, Scotland


2002 - Selected to judge the Canadian InterProvincial Championship, Vancouver, B.C.

2001 “Community Woman of the Year”

American Business Women's Association

1999 BellinghamMayor’s Art Award Winner 
“for lifetime dedication to the art of Celtic dance

as a performer, teacher and advocate”

Instructor Biography
Heather is a Bellingham, WA native and studied dance in Vancouver, British Columbia.  She holds teaching credentials with the British Association of Teachers of Dance.  She has been an adjudicator for the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing for over 40 years.


 Heather is a popular workshop teacher for events across North America. She has judged all competition levels including the Canadian, Australian and the World Highland Dance Championships in Scotland.  


She is dance chair for the only sanctioned Open Championships in the Pacific Northwest.  In 2005, she organized the U.S. Inter-Regional Championship.  She has choreographed dance for Western Washington University and community theatre. She provides workshops and performances and is an artist in residence at area schools. 

In 2018; Heather recognized a void in the Highland Games circuit.  She founded the Scottish Dance Society and directed the return of a Whatcom County Highland Games.  The inaugural event was June 2, 2018 at Hovander Homestead Park in Ferndale, WA and returned in June 2019.  The Gathering was scheduled to move to North Bellingham Golf Course in 2020.  Due to Covid-19 restrictions; the event was postponed until June 4, 2022.  In 2023, the event returned to Ferndale on June 3.

As a competition and Championship organizer; Heather is well-versed in all areas of competitive Highland dance including event planning, marketing, innovation, scoring and presentation.  Her organization, teaching and judging experience provides a unique perspective when working with competitive dancers.
Heather holds a Bachelor's degree in Home Economics and employs her design expertise in costume creation. She was a human resources executive in the newspaper industry for many years and utilizes her public relations, safety and training skills in her dance school.

Professional Affiliations
Life Member:  

British Association of Teachers of Dance


Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing

 World-Wide Judges Panel

Executive Director, Scottish Dance Society

Presenting the "Bellingham Scottish Gathering"

British Columbia Highland Dancing Association

Federation of United States Teachers and Adjudicators       

KGMI Radio Interview - Heather Richendrfer
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