First brief impression of Jillina's newest dvds = thumbs up!
There are 4 dvds: A fitness/workout dvd and 3 choreography and technique dvds. Let's start with the 3 volumes of choreography, and then discuss each one individually.
These are organized much like the first 3 dvds were -- introduction, warmup, technique, combinations, choreography, cool down, performance -- and a bonus "behind the scenes" clip of Jillina being Jillina :)
with one KEY exception:
EVERYTHING IS CHAPTERED !!!!!!!!! YAYYY !!!!!!
No more rewinding through the entire list of combinations to find the one you need to work on :) In the technique and combo and choreography sections, not only is each part chaptered, but you have a chapter for the instruction, and a separate chapter for the practice of the instruction -- the drills. You ALSO have the ability to "play all" of either the instructional chapters or the practice/drill chapters together in one session.
She teaches the technique sections filmed from in front (with cuts to focus on various body parts), and the combos and choreography filmed in front of a mirror.
The filming is good. For the most part it stays in one place, and only really cuts away to show the movement from a different angle. Lighting is good. Sound is good. The stage is littered with the usual stuff -- but that doesn't bother me, and it doesn't get in the way of the instruction. She teaches in basic practice clothes.
As before, she modifies each of the combos to create a choreography out of them, but the combos can stand alone. And they're cute :)
I did not watch the warmup and cooldowns on any of the dvds. Sorry! It was my turn to cook last night, and I didn't have time.
The instructional content on these dvds is a bit of the same and a bit of different stuff from her previous dvds, but there's a different approach. Each step that is taught is practiced in the "drill" section in several different ways, at different speeds and with different orientations, AND with different footwork patterns -- to show you variations on how that step can be accomplished. I like that idea.
I didn't list each move taught on each dvd -- sorry! But some things you'll recognize from previous dvds (like the umi) and some things I don't remember seeing.
One curious addition is the first step taught -- a hip drop. I was puzzled as to why she would have such a simple and primary step as the first thing taught -- but now I have a theory. We'll come back to that.
MARKETED TOWARDS DANCERS WHO ARE...
I think, for the most part, these are more advanced dvds than the previous trilogy. NONE of the choreographies are as basic as the Alf Leyla Wa Leyla choreo from her first dvd, and I'll go out on a limb and say the choreographies are pretty complicated.
I do not think a first month beginner would like these dvds. I hate to resort to labels, but I think maybe these are more intermediate level? Some may say even advanced level!
The combinations are a bit longer than the ones in her previous dvds. I watched all the combinations for DVD 1 and thought a few were pretty easy, and others pretty darn complex! So don't assume volume 1 is the "Beginner" level.
Back to teaching of the hip drop -- Why teach such a basic step on a dvd that features a really complex choreography? I think what she might have been trying to do here is create a dvd that new dancers can "work up through."
If you've had a few months of classes, you can start with volume 1, and if you take it step by step SLOWLY, you can work your way up to a very nice and complicated choreography. But it is going to take PATIENCE. There is a LOT of stuff on these dvds. You have a LOT of material to work with.
Intermediate level dancers can MAYBE skip the instruction section and just work with the practice/drill section to get new ideas for old steps. Advanced dancers might jump right to the combinations section, although the steps taught on volume 2 are different - a couple of them I hadn't seen broken down before. I really like some of the variations she does with them. So advanced dancers -- give that technique section a look-see before moving on.
All the choreos are original, and the music for each one is on the CD "Bellydance with Jillina."
Volume one is an Entrance Choreography -- done to "Ancient Ruins," a song that sounds very similar in style to the "Entrance of the Stars" of the BDSS show. (Same composer).
This isn't your grandmother's entrance music.
This is HIGH POWER and BIG entrance music. This is BDSS style entrance. "Wham Bam Here I Am" kind of music. That's not a criticism because I like the piece. But it is high power and fast and has that underlying western sort of beat going on. If you can't stand that kind of music, or Paul Dinletir's music in general, then you probably won't like this piece.
The choreography is fast at times, and dramatic throughout. I like it, but it's VERY Jillina-style. That's not a bad thing, but if you're looking for laid-back and relaxed Egyptian styling, you won't find it here.
Personally I think Jillina leaves enough room in her choreographies for personalization -- and of course she tells you in the intro to make the dance your own. If you perform it exactly as she teaches it, it might look a bit flat. But there are MANY MANY places where a more advanced dancer could add some personal upper body expression. Jillina gives you a skeleton, and you add the flesh to it.
This one is advertised as a Lebanese pop choreography, done to Shady Sayegh's "Ya Hawa."
Disclaimer: I am NOT an expert on Lebanese STYLE belly dance. And I may be wrong in my assessment here.
I do not think this is a Lebanese STYLE choreography. (Correct me if I'm wrong, oh wise ones out there.) I think it is simply a regular choreography done to a Lebanese song.
In the intro, Jillina explains what the song is about, and asks you think about the emotional response to the song. She does not mention anything about Lebanese "STYLE" dancing, and how it differs from Modern Egyptian or Classical Egyptian, so that's why I'm assuming she didn't create this dvd as a crash course in Lebanese STYLE dancing.
If you're looking for an introduction to Lebanese STYLE dancing, you may want to look elsewhere.
This song is soulful and more relaxed than the entrance choreography. It's very easy to get into the feel of the music, and while I think the combinations and choreography would be difficult to execute properly in performance, they're not terribly difficult to learn. Less advanced dancers MIGHT want to start with this one, since the music is a bit slower.
Drum solo time! This is a 3:31 drum solo that is practically ALL layered shimmies :) Be afraid! LOL.
Seriously, this is a VERY modern drum solo -- think lots of tick tock pops and locks and shimmies over everything. This looks NOTHING like the drum solo from her IAMED video. It's a long and technically pretty difficult piece, but I would imagine if you worked your way through this, your technique would be SO precise and tight!
I don't really have a lot to say about this piece, because this dvd was the last one I watched and I was really tired !
Each dvd has a couple of performances on it, one of the choreography and one of something else. The performance filming is ... well, it's typical of Arab concerts. Pan away during the little intricate stuff, focus on the audience for a while, come back and watch the dancer for a little while. Alternate cuts here and there. BLECH. But typical.
We get the Monkey-cam and quick cutting, and some rather bad lighting at times. These performances are filmed at what looks like a large auditorium, instead of the intimate coffee-shop feel of the first set of dvds.
There are some CUTE performances, including one of Jillina doing an interesting take on the goblet dance -- she's dancing on the head of a Doumbek! The filming was off-putting to me, but I'm old and I like things to stand still.
All in all, I like these dvds and can see them having quite a bit of "air time" in my dvd player. I'm pleased with quality and quantity of material on each dvd and think the price is fair for what you get.
I'll review her workout video in another post. Thanks for trudging through all this! If you have any specific questions, please post them and I'll try to be more specific for you once I've had a chance to really sit down and WATCH these without also watching the stove.
| Pounds lost: 2.0