As a child, Petite Jamilla trained more in Polynesian style dance than any other form, being a student of the much respected Rebecca Menandic (Merced/Modesto California) and Lea Kaimminga (Palmdale California). By the age of 12, PJ was among the first childrens' troupe ever to compete in the Belly Dancer of the Year Pageant in San Francisco. She initially learned belly dance from her Folkloric specialized mother who was also in the business, Jamilla Rasa. PJ continued her training by taking workshops with: Aisha Ali, Artemis, Mesmera, Shoshonna, Suhair Zuhaika, Karen Barbee, Marta Schill, Judeen, and more... By the young age of 15, she found herself teaching belly dance at the University of Alabama's Continuing Education Program. She began teaching workshops 13 years ago and earned the respect of the south eastern US belly dancing community.
Petite Jamilla became professional performing and touring regularly from the age of 15, a seasoned instructor by 17, and by the time she was 19, she had 2 instructional independently filmed dvd's on the market. Before her 10 years of touring history with Bellydance Superstars, She has performed alongside the Rabat Orchestra, and even, American Idol Ruben Studdard. Zaghareet Magazine recognized Petite Jamilla's talent twice by gracing her as the cover artist and featured story in 2004, and awarding her with the title "Best Kept Secret" in 2006. In 2007, Petite Jamilla's ability to create unique choreography was showcased in the world renown Panoply Arts Festival where bellydance was presented for the first time in this contemporary light amongst artists from across the world.
Petite Jamilla is a former Lead Dancer and Choreographer for the Bellydance Superstars. | Photo: Thepetitejamilla.com | Link |
In 2009, her choreographic talents earned her 1st place recognition in the "Belly Dance Queen Competition" for both the Troupe Choreography category and the Princess category. In the Bellydance Superstars, Petite Jamilla was one of their most iconic acts with her Double Veil performance which through the years developed into 6 veils. She became the spokes person for the company becoming the key speaker in the majority of their media interviews. For a little while she was even the Artistic Director during the Art of Bellydance show in 2010. She can be seen as a dancer in the following Bellydance Superstars dvd's: Unveiled: Double Veil Instructional with Petite Jamilla, American Bellydancer, Live at Follies Bergere, Solo's from Monte Carlo, 30 Days to Vegas, Babelesque: Live from Tokyo, The Art of Bellydance: Live from Shanghai, and Bellydance Superstars 3D solo's: Volume I and Volume II, and Bombay Bellywood: Live from Los Angeles. Petite Jamilla showcases her musical talents as a featured musician playing bagpipes in the Tribal Fusions dvd and The Art of Bellydance dvd in addition to playing bagpipes on the Baghdad Heavymetal album.
Since the Superstars, PJ has continued her passion for creativity and has become an even bigger name in the teaching circuit. Petite Jamilla occasionally tours with the band Cu Dubh and works as a Musician and Dancer with the group. She has self produced a Workshop Companion DVD (Petite Jamilla: The Afterglow Series) and is featured on 3 different CD's with Cu Dubh and a Live Performance DVD (Walking the Cinders, Thunder of the Gods, Wodens Hunt [the CD and the DVD]). Petite Jamilla's poetry, spoken word, musicianship, public speaking skills and dancing are being seen across the world in a wide variety of avenues. Her artistic reputation and professionalism are the proof that this amazing woman is just getting started and whatever she pursues creatively will be worth watching!