Thu, Jun 20, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Ministries promote overseas tours by local troupes

By Lu Yi-hsuan and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Members of the Formosa Circus Art troupe perform a Hakka folk dance at a Ministry of Foreign Affairs news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Lu Yi-hsuan, Taipei Times

The Formosa Circus Art (FOCA, 福爾摩沙馬戲團) troupe heads off to Indonesia on Tuesday next week, the first stop in a two-nation tour organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) as part of efforts to boost relations and cultural ties with countries targeted by the government’s New Southbound Policy.

The nine-year-old company is to perform its The Heart of Asia (亞洲之心) show in Jakarta and Surabaya before moving on to India for performances in Chennai and New Delhi.

The tour is the first time the company has worked with the ministry, as well as its first visits to the two nations, and its members are very excited about the trip, FOCA founder and director Allen Lin (林智偉) told a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

The 75-minute The Heart of Asia, which incorporates the diabolo, Cyr wheel, aerial silks and other circus skills with Hakka and Aboriginal music and dances, is rooted in Taiwanese culture, he said.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Kelly Hsieh (謝武樵) presented Lin with a national flag at the news conference and wished the troupe a successful tour.

FOCA was formed by a group of people born in the 1990s and it incorporates traditional, local and street cultures with theater arts to create a modern circus art form that belongs to Taiwan, Hsieh said.

It is also the only Taiwanese circus troupe to have been invited to the Festival Off d’Avignon in France and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland, he said.

Indonesia is the nation’s 14th largest trade partner, with bilateral trade reaching US$8.9 billion, while 270,000 Indonesians work in Taiwan, and their contribution to the economy cannot be overlooked, Hsieh said.

Trade between India and Taiwan has reached US$7.05 billion, he added.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Culture touted the seven groups selected to perform this year at the Festival Off d’Avignon and/or Edinburgh Festival Fringe by having members of six of them perform short segments of their shows in Taipei’s Ximending (西門町) shopping area.

The 26-year-old Gang-a Tsui Theater (江之翠劇場), the Kuo-shin Chuang Pangcah Dance Theatre (莊國鑫原住民舞蹈劇場) and the Hsing Legend Theatre (興傳奇青年劇場) — the Contemporary Legend Theatre’s (當代傳奇劇場) youth troupe, are going to Avignon next month, while the Chang Dance Theatre (長弓舞蹈劇場), Shinehouse Theatre (曉劇場) and Dua Shin Te Production (大身體製造) are headed to Edinburgh at the end of next month for the “Taiwan Season,” which opens on July 31 and runs through Aug. 25.

B. DANCE (丞舞製作團隊) has been booked for both festivals.

Most of the companies have appeared one or the other festivals before.

This will be the second consecutive visit to Edinburgh by the four Chang brothers from Kaohsiung, all of whom graduated from Taipei National University of the Arts’ dance department, and who were a hit last year with Bon 4 Bon.

Chuang Kuo-shin’s (莊國鑫) troupe also won rave reviews last year in Edinburgh for her 038.

The Hsing Legend Theatre took Wu Song – The Tiger Warrior (英雄武松) to Edinburg last year and will present it in Avignon this year.

“The two festivals bring together many professional dance groups that inspire learning from each other, in addition to many international producers or managers who may invite good performances to perform in other parts of the world,” Deputy Minister of Culture Hsiao Tsung-huang (蕭宗煌) said on Tuesday.

Additional reporting by Diane Baker and CNA

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