Formosa Circus Art
- Chinese Name: 福爾摩沙馬戲團
- Year of Establishment: 2011
- Founder: Lin Chih-wei (林智偉)
- Did You Know That …?
- The group opened their eyes to European circus performances after joining the Festival d'Avignon in France in 2013. It stimulated Lin Chih-wei to rethink the group’s objective and, in 2014, rename it from MIX Acrobatics Theater to Formosa Circus Art (FOCA) as a new beginning.
FOCA’s performances incorporate acrobatics, circus, contemporary dance, and theater. Using Taiwan’s historical name “Formosa,” FOCA hopes to create and promote Taiwan’s contemporary circus performances. Since 2011, they have staged shows in Japan, France, Malaysia, and Cambodia to introduce the contemporary side of Taiwanese arts.
Lin has achieved a solid training in acrobatics since he started studying when he was ten. While studying at the University of Taipei, he formed the acrobatics troupe with the goal of creating his own values. Rising to fame with their work “Primal Clothing – Ten Dances (初衣十舞)” in 2012, Lin successfully brought the troupe to stages overseas.
During their time in Europe, Lin learned the difference between acrobatics in Taiwan and in Europe – especially in terms of training. He noticed that European acrobats focus on creativity, while Taiwanese acrobats focus on technique. Lin concluded that techniques can be trained and refined later, but creativity has to be cultivated from the very beginning. With this epiphany, Lin began a new journey with FOCA.
While leading his troupe, Lin also joined the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre (雲門舞集) in 2012 to perform “Nine Songs (九歌)” for two years. Deeply inspired by the Cloud Gate’s founder Lin Hwai-min (林懷民), Lin Chih-wei became determined to make circus both rooted in and appreciated in Taiwan.
In 2014, FOCA created “Self and the Others (人我之間),” a performance incorporating traditional and modern elements to present a story of seven youths from different backgrounds. The relationship between self and other is demonstrated through the dynamic movements exploring the idea of having everything in the modern age, but owning nothing in the unknown future.
After performing in Taiwan, FOCA brought “Self and the Others” to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2015. The British press ranked their combination of traditional acrobatics, contemporary circus, and theater skills among the top five circus acts in the festival.
Lin once said: “FOCA may not be the next Cloud Gate Dance Theatre or Cirque du Soleil, but we have the responsibility to introduce the circus of Taiwan to the world in our time.” With members all in their mid 20s, the young group is on their way to realize their dream.