The Full Story
Founded in Los Angeles 1999 by the internationally renowned Superstar of Bellydance, Jillina, this award-winning company is unrivaled in its authenticity and ingenuity. Jillina was an in-demand soloist dancing multiple shows a night, several nights a week. She began bringing extra dancers to her solo gigs so she could have more time to change and breath between numbers! Having more dancers on stage and allowing for more costume changes gave the show a unique "wow" factor that was missing from other solo acts at the time. Clients also started requesting additional dance styles to be performed in the show, so Jillina sought out dancers that were experts in those fields to join her show.
The concept of the Sahlala International Dancers was born.
Sahlala Dancers new Artistic and Managing Director, Jill Collins, joined the company in 2007. After learning the ropes in professional company leadership and deepening her studies in cultural dance styles, she became an Assistant Director in 2013. When Jillina was looking to retire from directing Sahlala in 2021, she thought Jill would be the perfect fit to take over the company.
Jill brings an eye of elegance to the Sahlala aesthetic with her background in classical concert dance. She is growing Sahlala's Educational Programming through more classes, workshops, volunteering and school events.
This new era of Sahlala will bring cultural dance to the masses, while continuing their innovative, inspiring performances in the commercial and concert worlds.
Read more about our directors
With a background in Middle Eastern, Folklore, Jazz, Ballet, and Hip Hop, she creates a colorful Middle Eastern fusion repertoire that has inspired collaborations with some of the world’s leading instructors and performers. Traveling extensively to create productions and teach seminars that embody her unique style of dance and dance education.
Whether on stage, coaching one-on-one, or teaching a group of 1,000 students, Jillina’s vibrant ability to connect with people on and off the dance floor continues to influence dancers and entertain audiences worldwide.
In 1999 Jillina established her own dance company, Jillina’s Sahlala Dancers, currently LA’s premier Middle Eastern and world-fusion dance entertainment company. From 2003-09 she served as Artistic Director and Main Choreographer for the Bellydance Superstars, performing with them in over 700 shows across a dozen countries.
In 2009 Jillina created Bellydance Evolution with the goal to take Middle Eastern dance to a higher level. Bellydance Evolution has appeared in over 20 countries and was a featured company at the Mawazine festival in Morocco, performing for the Queen of Morocco.
Jillina has won numerous awards from International Academy of Middle Eastern Dance and the Giza Academy, including Best Modern Egyptian Dancer, Best Instructional Video, Best Dance Company and Dancer of the Year. Jillina has appeared on several television programs, including, “Dancing with the Stars” & “Tsukiri,” a widely-viewed show in Japan. She has co-produced 12 instructional DVDs, now offered in five different languages and distributed by Universal Records. In the summer of 2009 and 2010, Jillina was the first American to be invited as a featured performer in the prestigious Closing Gala at Ahlan Wa Sahlan in Egypt.