The Delicacy of the Loving Act

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picture: Paul Sixta

Is love an art? Then it requires knowledge and effort. Or is love a pleasant sensation, which to experience is a matter of chance, something one “falls into” if one is lucky?

The first step to take is to become aware that love is an art, just as living is an art; if we want to learn how to love we must proceed in the same way we have to proceed if we want to learn any other art, say music, painting, carpentry, or the art of medicine or engineering.

Erich Fromm


‘Love-ism’ is a project of Mor Shani (choreographer) and Paul Sixta (video-maker), inspired by the book ‘The Art of Loving’ of the psychologist Erich Fromm.

Love-ism explores the basics of partnering in dance. The movement material of Love-ism is generated in workshops with amateur dancers. At performances, professional dancers perform the movement material and video’s are shown of the amateur dancers.

There have been two ‘Let’s talk about dance’ events around Love-ism; one at the ‘Notation series 4’, ICKamsterdam, and another ‘The Mechanics of Love’ at the Moving Futures Festival, Rotterdam (2014).

Here I show you a series of interviews I did with Mor Shani, Majon van der Schot (professional dancer) and Martin Gieling (amateur dancer). They deal with different aspects of the delicacy of the loving act:

– the loving act in real life versus the loving act in dance / on stage

– the technique of the loving act versus the openness of the loving act

– the loving act as experienced by the amateur dancer (‘real human being’) versus the loving act as experienced by the professional dancer

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#1: Things that matter (Video made by Paul Sixta at one of the ‘Love-ism’ workshops.)

– Young amateur dancer and older professional dancer.

– They have a different sense of taking risk and taking responsibility.

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#2: Youth memories of Mor

– Experience of beauty during a dance performance.

– Professional dancers inviting members of the audience on stage.

– The love of a mother.

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#3: Youth memories of Martin

– Parents that didn’t love each other any more.

– Developing love.

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#4: Youth memories of Majon

– Entertaining people by being physical.

– A good sense of timing.

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#5: The workshops of Love-ism / Martin, Majon

– During the workshops Mor is giving assignments, but the work remains open.

– The input of love / loving movements.

– The person starts flowering.

– Being yourself (different from performing dance technique).

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#6: Mor’s way of working / Mor

– Critique on dance technique.

– The mechanics of intimacy.

– Partnering in dance.

– Different forms of love.

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#7: A dilemma that Mor found / Mor, Majon

– Professional dancers as executing bodies.

– When you work with people, the interaction is the first layer of the art.

– Artists have a moral responsibility in society.

– Teaching kindness.

– It is possible.

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