Performing can be nerve-racking, the stuff nightmares are made of. But for some people, it’s what brings out the best in them.
Karlie Fudger is one of those people. At just 13-years-old, last year’s Junior Canadian Dancer of the Year, finds performing her dance routines at competitions is like Christmas.
“I go there and I’m so excited. It’s like the buildup when you’re decorating your house. Driving there is like that and when I’m there, it’s like Christmas and then when it’s over, I’m so sad,” she said.
The young Dance Academy of Prince Rupert dancer performs in several dancing disciplines and already has a wealth of experience under her belt and brings her love of the sport into the studio each day.
“I like to dance because I like to perform on stage and just bring my presence out to everyone and make them happy,” Fudger said.
Dancing is something she started doing at home when she was young and it has translated into a budding dance career.
Fudger recently got back from the Prince George Dance Festival, where she twirled her way to five first-place finishes, a second and a third. She also came away with the trophy for the best jazz solo 14 and under.
“It was amazing because I didn’t feel ready to go there and then I got there and I just performed my heart out and did pretty well so I was happy about that,” she said.
Of all her top finishes, Fudger is most proud of her lyrical solo because there were approximately 16 people in that category and that’s more than she’s used to.
“Getting first overall first for that was amazing because so many people are good in that category. It was just amazing,” she said.
The Prince Rupert Middle School student also played hockey up until last year, when dance got too busy, but she plans to take it up again in the future when dance isn’t so crazy. Fudger also plays school sports, like track and field.
But dance is her main passion and what drives her.
“I want to keep dancing until I can’t dance anymore, so probably like 80,” she said with a laugh.
It’s also what she wants to do for her career. Fudger wants to dance on the Disney Cruise Line one day, which is a cruise ship that plays solely Disney tunes. Dancers can be background dancers or play Disney characters.
“If that doesn’t work, I just want to be a teacher and teach kids how to do this,” Fudger said.
The list of dance ventures she has taken part in is extensive, including a convention in Las Vegas a few years ago.
Fudger got the chance to dance there, which she said was very different from Canada.
“They’re crazy dancers there. It was amazing,” she said.
The young dancer has also performed in Port Coquitlam, Kelowna, Vancouver and more, as well as festivals in Terrace and Prince George.
At some of these, she won her other trophies, which include first place in acro in the 13-18 category, which she has won four times. Another is for the highest mark classical ballet solo 12 and under. She also won the trophy for best junior performer at the Pacific Northwest Music Festival, which is special because she wasn’t just the top junior dancer, but top performer overall, including the musicians.
But Fudger’s greatest accomplishment thus far in dance came last year when she won the Junior Canadian Dancer of the Year award at the B.C. Annual Dance Competition in Prince Rupert.
She started dance at three-years-old when her parents put her into it, but it has translated into an obsession with the sport, a way to express her emotions through magical movements.