A Russian trained ballet dancer has launched her own school in Blackpool – 5,700 miles from her homeland.
Sarnai Byambadorj has opened the SB Ballet Academy at The Arena, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, where she has worked for 17 years.
Sarnai was born in Mongolia and trained at the Perm Ballet School, Russia before enjoying 16 years as a soloist.
Then having returned to Mongolia’s capital Ulaanbataar, she heard about Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s Eclipse – the circus musical show which ran for six years – and successfully passed an audition to join the production.
Sarnai said: “In 2001 I came all the way to Blackpool. It took a whole day’s flight to get here. I never once thought I would end up in England.”
Despite speaking no English and having to cope with a complete culture change, she has made the resort her home.
“It was fascinating for me to see the differences.
“Leaving weather that was -40C in winter and 40C in summer for the North West coast, it just appeared so wet!
“The food was completely different; in Mongolia people eat horse meat, here it’s fish and chips.
“I spent six years as first soloist at the Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet, Ulaanbaatar, before moving to Blackpool to join Stageworks productions. For the next 10 years, I was a soloist in Eclipse and several of their prestigious productions.
"It has always been my dream to open my own academy and pass on my passion for ballet to a new generation.
“I want to deliver exciting, fun lessons to children to help inspire them, improve their physical well-being, school learning and concentration.
“Thanks to expert support from Blackpool Council’s Get Started team, I have gained vital knowledge as well as the confidence to open my dream business and make this venture a success.”
A qualified Royal Academy of Dance teacher, she is starting off with free 45-minute ballet workshops this Saturday and Sunday starting at 10.30am for three to five-year-olds, 11.15am for six to nine-year-olds, noon for 10 to 13 years and 12.45pm for over 13s.
Places on each session at Pleasure Beach Arena are limited and take place. To reserve, or for more information, please call 07851 474844 or email email@example.com
Sarnai is planning classes for older people too to boost health and fitness.
Coun Mark Smith, cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and economic development, said: “Sarnai’s academy is providing another boost to the ever-growing creative scene in Blackpool. She has achieved her ambition to launch her own business which shows that it is possible to turn what you love doing in life into something that you can do for a living.
“The last twelve months has seen scores of people helped by the Get Started team. I would urge anyone thinking of setting up their own business to get in touch with them to see how they can help.”