KAZAN: Lilia runs Sonas, the only Irish Dance school in Kazan. Her Sonas, which means ‘happiness’ in Gaelic, has 5 groups totaling 30 dancers ranging in age from five to 45.
Lilia said she knew at the age of 6 she would pursue a dance career, but it was would be another decade before she would fall in love with Irish dance. It was in 1998, that she accidentally got her hands on a VHS tape of River Dance. Friend brought it back from Moscow to Bashkiria.
‘’I didn’t even know the existence of River Dance,’’ said she. But when she watched it, she was blown away by it. She used that tape to teach herself Irish dance before attending master classes years later.
Lilia’s school is part of the Russian branch of the John Carey Academy. Carey, a famous Irish dancer, comes over to Russia a few times a year to give master classes to the teachers at this various schools.
In addition to Kazan, the Carey Academy has branches in Ufa, Samara, Tolyatti, Izhevsk, Magnitogorsk and Chelyabinsk.