The PERMATA Seni Tari Programme was established under the management of the Jabatan Kebudayaan dan Kesenian Negara - JKKN (Department for culture and arts) in November 2010 to provide the opportunity and avenue for children talented in dance to further develop their talents. Participants were not only taught dance techniques, but also the various dance genres.
Selection Criteria and Training
Candidates for this programme must be Malaysians between the age of 7 and 10 years old, standing at 3 feet to 3.5 feet tall, weighing not more than 35 kg, talented and excellent in traditional and contemporary dances with good academic achievement. Apart from an open talent search through newspaper advertisements, road shows to schools were also part of the effort carried out by JKKN to identify students with talents in dance to partake in the PERMATA Seni Tari programme. Seventy-three children formed the first group chosen to undergo training every Sunday.
PERMATA Seni Tari Camp was conducted twice a year to provide the participants with intensive training to enhance their skills and talents so as to produce a new generation who would excel in the art of dance. Thirty-eight (38) participants attended the camp under the supervision of a choreographer, a trainer and four assistant trainers throughout the period. Among the dance modules taught during the camp were Tarian Asas Asli, Tarian Inang, Tarian Zapin, Tarian Joget, Tarian Antarabangsa, Tarian Burung Kerak Nasi, Tarian Ceracap Inai and Tarian Rantak.
PERMATA Seni Tari Community Programme was held at Rumah Seri Kenangan Cheng and Rumah Anak Permata Negara, Bukit Peringgit, Melaka. The programme was successful in giving exposure and opportunity to the PERMATA Seni Tari participants to train themselves in communicating and interacting with the local community. Participants also gained new experience besides learning to be involved in charity.
Future Plans of PERMATA Seni Tari
The first phase of PERMATA Seni Tari conducted in 2011 initially only targeted participants from around Selangor and Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur. However, due to an overwhelming response, it will be expanded to cover the whole country. This will provide more avenue and opportunity for other talented students to enhance their skills and knowledge in dance. In the short term, the PERMATA Division and JKKN are planning to expand the programme to Penang, Pahang and Johor in 2012. JKKN will cooperate with JKKN Penang, Pahang and Johor branches as well as schools to identify talented students to participate in the PERMATA Seni Tari programme.