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Martial Arts and Yoga: Maximiliano Sapoznik and Shiwa Noh

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
August 13, 2002
New York, NY

About the Author:

Martial Arts and Yoga: Maximiliano Sapoznik and Shiwa Noh

By Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
8/13/02

Maximiliano Spaoznik (646.554.3406) and Shiwa Noh (212.278.8330) are well known in the Tango community of NY, as performers and dancers. Shiwa is also affiliated with YogaMoves (www.yogamovesgyro.com), and Maximiliano is newly affiliated with DanceSport Ballroom and Latin Dance Studio.

August 13, 2002, with Maximiliano Sapoznik and Shiwa Noh, in the Parc Vendome Residential Gardens, West 56th - 57th Streets, btw. 8th and 9th Avenues, on a hot summer afternoon, sipping Starbuck's iced coffees.

REZ - How did the two of you meet?

SN - I had just begun Tango, and, when we met at SPICE (see SPICE pics) last year, we fell on the floor.

MS - She wrapped me with the feet and didn't take them off, so we walked to the music and then fell down. She hooked me so hard that we are one year later still together. We had rehearsed Tango together, and I took Yoga lessons in exchange for Tango lessons for Shiwa.

REZ - Shiwa, tell me about your Yoga background and how it affects your dance.

SN - I began with Korean traditional dance in South Korea. I danced from five to fourteen years old. I did traditional Korean dances with costumes. They are very grounded, very earthy, and use health and energy flows. Then I studied Modern Dance and choreography at U. of California at Irvine campus.


About five years ago, I injured my leg in NY and needed to find something to build me stronger and make me more flexible. I found Gyrotonics at White Cloud Studio in NY and eventually taught there. When it closed, I formed YogaMoves (1026 Avenue of Americas, btw. 38th and 39 Streets, 212.278.8330) with friends from White Cloud Studio. The flexibility and strength of Gyrotonics helps me to dance better. I have more motion in my body and more strength in the center of myself.

REZ - Talk to me about the emotional and psychological affect of the Gyrotonics that you use on dancers.

SN - When you have fear in your body, your shoulders are hunched, and you're not open to anyone. As soon as they start opening to me, when they open their backs out, and their chests open, their posture changes, too. The brighter side of their personality comes out. I have a few clients, who start breaking down, crying at the end of the session. Their personality changes; they're more outgoing.

REZ - How do you handle these emotional moments?

SN - I'm there for them. I talk to them and call to see how they're doing. I do a lot of hands-on. I'm connected and can feel them and do exercise with them. My personality changes, depending on who's in front of me. I can adjust to each person very quickly.

REZ - Do you intend to continue Yoga teaching, or to build a Tango performance business?

SN - I'm planning a much more even schedule.

REZ - Maximiliano, tell me about your Martial Arts background, and how it affects your dance.

MS - I did Martial Arts in a lot of studios in Buenos Aires - Japanese, wrestling, Judo. I could not find real life for me in these styles. I used to watch the Kung Fu series on TV, when I was doing REIKI and other alternative therapies, while reading about metaphysics. I was investigating all kinds of alternative therapies.

REZ - When did you come to NY, and why?

MS - One year ago. I had danced Tango for many years in Argentina, but could not make a living from Tango there. There were too many performers and teachers. I was training in Martial Arts, meditation, and massage. And, I was doing Tango as a parallel.

REZ - Are you happy in NY? Will you stay here?

MS - Yes, and I'm not leaving, not now.

REZ - So, how does the Martial Arts additionally affect your dance?

MS - Martial Arts gave me a lot of will. It was very internal and related to Zen Buddhism. It affects the emotional, mental, and physical, all at the same time. I apply this background to better movement and the internal feeling of Tango. You can always do a lot of fancy steps, but human connection is most important.

REZ - Why are you so passionate about Tango?

MS - In a way, Tango is very Martial. When you dance Tango, you are fighting with your legs, like an act. It's flirting. In Tango, you make a step, and you step into the space. In Martial Arts, you do not go to the spaces between the legs; you go directly to the legs. Martial Arts are made for the War. I train my whole body to be aware, fast, and focused.

REZ - So, Martial Arts helps you focus on your lead?

MS - You have to be aware of you, to observe yourself. I try to be always present in Tango, to be in me and to come back to me, all the time. When something distracts me, I concentrate on me, my hand—my daily meditation.





Shiwa in Yoga Pose



Shiwa in Yoga Pose



Shiwa in Yoga Pose



Shiwa in Yoga Pose



Maximiliano in Martial Arts Pose



Maximiliano in Martial Arts Pose



Posing Together



Shiwa in Korean Dance Pose



Check out the Martin Villa photo essay on Maximiliano and Shiwa!

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