When 11-year-old Emma Sidari of St. Charles returns to school this fall, she will have plenty of material for her "What I did this summer" paper.
Emma, who takes five hours of dance classes each day Monday through Thursday at State Street Dance Studio in Geneva, will travel for an internship with 320 other students at Bolshoi Brazil this summer.
"I am both excited and nervous," she said Wednesday.
In Brazil, Emma will stay in a social house with other dancers and dance for at least six hours a day before going to rehearsal at night. The school, which has 12 studios and students from around the globe, was started in Brazil in 2000.
As the first American student, Emma will be challenged, but Linda Cunningham, founder and artistic director of State Street Dance, believes Emma can hold her own.
"Emma has been on my radar for a very long time. I like her focus, her facility, and her determination. She is also very humble," Cunningham said.
Pavel Kazarian, director general of Bolshoi Brazil, was at State Street Dance Wednesday to meet and talk with Emma about her internship.
"For Emma, it's a good chance to immerse herself in another culture and make new friends," Kazarian said.
Erika Porto of Naperville, who helped orchestrate the internship with Bolshoi Brazil, says that while Emma has a lot of natural talent and potential, "She will have to work hard."
Dancing since age 3, Emma hopes the three-week internship will help her "become a more mature dancer." She leaves for Brazil Aug. 10.
"My main goal is to be a professional ballerina," said the soon-to-be sixth-grader at St. Patrick Catholic School.