Music in Circus: Who Leads, and Who Follows?

Circus News

Music in Circus: Who Leads, and Who Follows?

Whether it serves as the soundtrack to a one-person act or a large-scale ensemble piece, what role does music play within a circus show? In the first 2023 edition of the DuMaXi quarterly, published by Taiwan’s Formosa Circus Art (FOCA), interviewer/writer Yuhshan Lin brings us this thoughtful piece which ponders the creative implications of sound within stagecraft with the help of sound designer Blaire Ko and FOCA director and performer Kuan-Ting Chen.
If we look back on our experiences of seeing circus performances on the street, we’d easily realize that music is an indispensable part of things. When performers focus on all their techniques and tricks, music can fill the empty space between their movements and emotions and create expanded meanings. Moreover, the performers can form a partnership with the music, forging a bond like that of two jugglers working together. To this panel, we invited Blaire Ko, a veteran and diversified composer and sound designer in the performing arts sector; and Kuan-Ting Chen, the artistic director of FOCA and director of its shows Circus Party and Circus as Folks. Kuan is still on the path of experimental circus, looking to find a place for circus within the modern performing arts by trial and error, by bringing circus into theatres. Blaire, who everyone hails as a master of his field, has alr...
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Formosa Circus Art (FOCA)

Founded in 2011, FOCA is a Taiwan-based contemporary circus company that strives to elevate circus as an art form within Taiwan and the world over. Often likened to a Taiwanese Cirque du Soleil, their work melds physical artistry with Taiwanese street culture and diverse performing arts, often through collaboration with international artists. The company's ensemble now staffs 10 full-time performers from various disciplines. In 2020, FOCA launched the circus quarterly publication Du Ma Xi. They are also been a global presence at major circus festivals and a frequent collaborator with the Weiweying Circus Platform.