05/24/10 – By UWAIS MOTALA
Pulga Muchochoma is an emerging performing theatre artist who came to Canada four years ago from Mozambique to learn and educate people about HIV/AIDS through dance.
The dance routines Pulga uses incorporate traditional African dancing along with some of William Shakespeare’s many plays including ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, ‘The Tempest’, and ‘Romeo and Juliet’.
Pulga put on a dazzling performance at HAUS on 1265 Bloor Street W., an arts and fashion store, to raise money for HIV awareness through his performance and the sale of African artworks.
Co-owner of HAUS, William Ashman said, “HAUS is doing a great thing,” as they are raising awareness about the spread and prevention of HIV in Mozambique.
Artistic Director of Shakespeare Link Canada (SLC), Kennedy C. McKinnon organized the event to raise money for the Mozambique seaport community of Quelimane.
McKinnon said, “The fastest way to educate (on HIV awareness) is through theatre.”
Mozambique has a 35 per cent infection rate and the life expectancy is 38 years according to McKinnon.
She believes using Shakespeare to make AIDS themed plays can bring awareness, but also expand work for local performing artists.
Pulga said many people are dying because of the HIV disease and he wants to fight for and support his people by creating awareness through movement and art.
“Having the life I had, I didn’t know what I would be,” said Pulga who came from a family of three brothers and two sisters, all living a poor farming life.
Pulga was then sponsored to join the Toronto Dance Theatre when he was 19.
While Pulga was a competitive soccer player, he stopped and noticed a traditional dance performance prior to a match. He fell in love with dance and eventually pursued theatre.
“Becoming a dancer would be a life for me,” said Pulga whose country has suffered through diseases like cholera and malaria.
He remembers his upbringing under the shades of the trees of Mozambique and has seen many improvements in education, health and safety on his return visits.
A hundred dollars on every sale of artwork from the event will be donated to SLC for expenses on travel and performance lessons in Mozambique.