ATHENS, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- The arrival of the French modern circus Baraka in Greece for first time on Nov. 15 this year happened to coincide with a tragedy.
That night torrential rains hit Elefsina, a city about 17 km west of Athens which was chosen as Cultural Capital of Europe 2021.
The flooding caused 24 deaths, many injuries and hundreds of thousands of euros worth of damage to businesses and homes.
The 14 artists and technicians from the circus set up their tent on the mud, rehearsed and set out to lend a helping hand in the only way they knew -- trying to heal wounds through art.
All revenues of their first performance on Dec. 16 were turned over to flood-stricken locals. Until Jan. 21, when they will pack to head to their next destination Morocco, they will do their best to bring joy to locals, they told Xinhua.
"On the night of our arrival, there were the floods. For us it was really shocking. We came here to do something simple -- circus. But at the same time, 10 km from here something terrible happened. So if we can help in a way, we will," technical manager Thomas Bares said.
The performance of the Baraka circus, based in Mauritius since December 2013, is anything but simple. Through their acrobatics, body theatre, music and dance, they focus on cultural relations, differences and issues of co-existence.
"The project talks about walls. It talks about concrete walls, but also about mental walls, economic walls, boundaries," Bares said.
The artists do not intend to impose their views on contemporary challenges on audiences.
"We don't have one message, but a lot. That means everyone can get his own message at the end of the show. In the end, everyone is making his own story and gets his own lessons," Bares said.
Kelly Diapouli, artistic director of "Elefsina 2021 -- Cultural Capital of Europe," said the circus was invited to introduce to locals forms of art not well known in Greece.
Most Greeks still have the impression that circuses include wild animals and fire shows, Diapouli said.
Nassia, a young spectator who also studies theater, said: "The show was excellent. The truth is that I did not expect it, but I really enjoyed it very much and I would happily return to watch the show again," she said.