The Art of Pole DVD series by Jamilla Deville has long been on my wishlist. I’ve never tried to learn at home and this set seemed to be the most professional and had excellent comments from others.

Recently, dancepolesale.com contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing the DVDs for them. No cost to me, and I get to do an honest review?  I’m in!  They did ask some specific questions which is interesting – perhaps they’re compiling an actual database to compare videos based on these responses, or perhaps they just want to make sure a few key points really get addressed.  Fair enough. I decided each DVD needs its own review so that people can decide if they want specific ones or the whole set.

Review Questionnaire for Video 1:

1. Were the instructions in this DVD easy to understand? Were you able to follow along easily? Yes, I liked that there were variations presented – even for simple things like walking. It’s important to note that the video is meant to be stopped constantly while you try things out, so just be ready. Being a bit of an over-acheiver, her correct form/posture made me a bit nutso because I tried SO hard to everything identically to her that every move was a chore! Um, note to self – don’t be crazy. That said, even in the first video I can see that I could polish my form.

2. What student level do you think this DVD should be recommended to? Beginner. But again, anyone can learn something from it.

3. How does it compare to other pole dancing DVDs you’ve experience? This is my first DVD so I don’t have a comparison yet.

4. Were there any aspects in the DVD that you didn’t like? Not really. I’d have liked a bit more on the mechanics of “how-to” but I don’t know where you’d draw the line on how much detail to provide.

5. Over all did this DVD make you feel good about yourself? What an interesting question!! In my studio, this question should be answered with a resounding yes, but in the pole world in general I don’t see it much so I was surprised a vendor wanted to know this.  I honestly have to say my answer to this is neutral. I felt good and bad about myself after watching this. Good because I was reminded how much I know and do well, bad because it was a bit of a surprise how much “correct form” I lack after 2.5 years of pole.  Both of those are on me and how I learn, though perhaps I should say it’s a good video that challenges you even if you are experienced.

6. Would you recommend this to a friend? Yes, I’d recommend it easily.  I think everyone could benefit from this.

7. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 the highest, how would you rate this DVD? Tough one because I don’t have an appropriate scale yet. Maybe 9? I can’t find much fault with it.

8. Any other comments you would like to add? Yes! …

First, the production values are high which carries a lot of weight with me.  If I’m going to watch a section repeatedly, I wouldn’t be able to stand it if the sound or video was bad.

Secondly, it is assumes that you have a bit of dance or athleticism in you.  For instance, early on she says “and roll up”, referring to a tiny body roll.  She doesn’t break that down. When I first learned how to move my hips forward and back independently from my torso, that was amazingly hard for me grasp.  Here’s where a person without dance/athlete background could pause the video and work on it until they get it. A small detail, but worth mentioning.

Jamilla encourages you to try things on your other side and that’s good. People can learn for themselves which side is dominant, and build skill on both sides for safety and interest.

I will say that this is more “demo, now you do it” and less “here’s how to do the thing.”  For instance, in a forward hook, one thing that made all the difference for me was my instructor pointing out that your hips must be forward – not back like when you sit in a chair.  Also, head position matters in that move – back or over the inside shoulder versus forward. Jamilla demonstrates it perfectly, but if a viewer didn’t have a mirror or video to see if they matched her move they could entirely miss that and end up with poorer form. In fact, the mirror might become essential during the split grip lesson, too.  I’m even going to say if you’re learning at home by video you will need a mirror or a video camera. I learned in a studio with instructor feedback and no mirrors, but if correct/safe form is your goal and nobody is with you to correct you I don’t see how you can learn moves without your own visual feedback.

Last quick specific – I really enjoyed her instruction for a backward hook. The upper arm position and how to go faster/slower were nice.

I hope you found this review helpful.  If you have this video, what do you think of it?

(I’ll edit this post to include the links for the other reviews on this series as they are available. UPDATE: here’s the review on volume 2.  There might not be a 3-5.)

Art of Pole Jamilla Deville

*Disclaimer – I received this DVD set as a request from dancepolesale.com to provide my honest review of it. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own. This video can be found at http://www.dancepolesale.com/collections/dance-pole-fitness-dvd-videos which is not affiliated with me.