When it comes to pole fitness, Jazzy Alix is one of Quebec’s elite.
In fact, she was just been crowned the 2016 elite North American Pole Dance Champion in Chicago, Illinois, which took place July 15-17.
“It felt surreal. It took a while to sink in,” Alix told Global News.
“It was a mix of happiness and relief – the relief of knowing that the public and jury appreciated my work, since it was not as technical as others, and the relief of knowing that my work and that of my support team paid off.”
The 27-year-old “impressed the judges and audience with an incredibly expressive routine that was close to flawless,” according to a statement by Milan Pole Dance, where she teaches.
“Instead of concentrating on the technical difficulty this year, I wanted to come back and focus on the dance,” she said.
“The challenge was to blend dance and technical pole elements to create a choreographed number, rather than a gymnastic number. I wanted to present something that embodied me.”
WATCH BELOW: Jazzy Alix’ winning performance
The Paris-born, Bordeaux-raised jazz dancer discovered pole fitness in 2012 after moving to Montreal to pursue a PhD in material science.
“A foot injury put a stop to my professional dancing,” she told Global News.
In 2014, Alix won her first competition, the Quebec Pole Fitness Championship.
Since then, she’s gone on to take home the 2015 Quebec Championship, and was a Canadian medalist in 2014 and 2015, the 2015 Pole Classic medalist and the 2015 Pole Championship Series Champion.
Though the sexy dance is most commonly associated to strip clubs, many are now using it as a way to get fit.
“We should never deny that the sport/art is internationally known thanks to strip clubs,” Alix told Global News.
“However, it is just a metallic pole: what you do with it is entirely up to you. It can be used to work out or dance, just like any other aerial apparatus.”
It’s a challenging discipline, said Alix, pointing out that there’s much more to it than swinging around on a pole.
“One of the great things of pole fitness is that you solicit various muscle groups all at once, unlike training at the gym,” she explained.
“You focus on nailing a trick and you barely realize the workout you get out of it… until the following day when your body is sore.”