Carving your own path in life is hard. It’s even more difficult to stand out when your family is well known for their athleticism. Karlie Fudger though, has gone above and beyond to showcase her talents in her sporting family.
Fudger first took up dancing when she was four, starting in ballet and jazz. She quickly tackled a number of other genres, including modern and tap, but found that her original choice remained her favourite.
“I like jazz the most, because it’s a little more upbeat than the rest,” Fudger said.
Fudger, like her two older brothers, also laced up the skates to play hockey. She still takes to the ice again from time to time, but unlike her brother Brett, who is currently playing for the Vernon Vipers of the BCHL, Fudger realized her true sporting future would be on the dance floor. It wasn’t long before she was taking part in competitions and performing solos. It’s been a path that has been rewarding for the dancer, highlighted when she was 12 with a local award for Performer of the Year. Now 16, and having more than proven herself on the Prince Rupert dance scene, Fudger has her sights set on the international level.
A day after speaking with The Northern View, Fudger is off to Poland to take part in a pair of competitions with the International Dance Organization. The prestigious event, a mini Olympics of dance, features participants from dozens of countries. The competition will be fierce. But so was the selection process, which Fudger already mastered in style.
“Lots of my friends from down south were talking about the competition and how they wanted to dance on the team. So I thought it would be pretty cool to try out and see if I could make it,” Fudger said. “Then I saw it again on social media, and thought maybe I’ll try it and see what happens.”
The selection process took place last year, and featured more than 300 dancers from around the country. Just 25 would be chosen to represent Canada at the IDO competition, and when the final team was announced Fudger had danced her way onto the squad. Now on the team, the intensity was truly just beginning in the lead up to the competition.
|Karlie Fudger and Kaia Jasckson from the Dance Academy of Prince Rupert perform “Hearts Harmony.” during the 2018 B.C. Dance Competition. (Matthew Allen photo)|
With athletes from around the country, the team needed to pick central locations in order to stage practices. Major hubs were picked, and for Fudger this meant trips to Vancouver. Plenty of them. At its peak Fudger would fly down to Vancouver every other weekend, dancing for 10-12 hours a day. This in addition to the several hours a day Fudger spends training at the Dance Academy of Prince Rupert (DAPR) studio. The hours upon hours of training have seen Fudger gain international recognition though, something she is quick to point out would not have been possible without her instructors.
“Thank you to all my teachers for helping get me here,” Fudger said. “All of them at DAPR have been helpful, but especially Teresa [Mackereth], who has always been there for me telling me that I could do it.”
Fudger will be competing in modern and jazz styles at the IDO competition, which take place in the small town of Rawa Mazowiecka, just outside of Warsaw. Fudger and the other dancers will perform a pair of their best numbers to start off, with more dances required as they advance through each round. “It will be crazy competing for my country,” Fudger says as the reality of the moment approaches. “We’re in such a little place, so it’s going to be crazy attending this event.”
|Karlie Fudger won’t have much time off when she returns from Poland; the new year features three major Northwest dance competitions in Prince George, Terrace and Prince Rupert. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
There won’t be much in the way of recovery time when Fudger returns from overseas. The Northwest competitions will be in full swing come the new year, starting with the Prince George meet during spring break. Terrace follows, before Prince Rupert hosts their own event. Once Fudger lands back in Canada, she will be hard at work at the DAPR studio fine tuning her seven different solo numbers that she will perform competitively.
Fudger’s results speak for themselves, and there are surely more accolades and awards to come. But her favourite part of dancing revolves around much more than just results.
“I like how free it makes me feel. I can get all my emotions out through dancing,” Fudger said. “I have a family there [dance community] and they’re all nice, and we’ve created a really good relationship.”
Of course, measuring up to her older siblings is not lost on her either. “Brett’s pretty praised in our household, so it’s nice to develop my own talent as well,” Fudger concludes.
Alex Kurial | Sports Reporter
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