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This paper illustrates our recent work on the analysis of expressive gesture related to the motion of the upper body (the head and the hands) in the context of emotional portrayals performed by professional actors. An experiment is presented which is the result of a multidisciplinary joint work. The experiment aims at (i) developing models and algorithms for analysis of such expressive content (ii) individuating which motion cues are involved in conveying the actorpsilas expressive intentions to portray four emotions (anger, joy, relief, sadness) via a scenario approach. The paper discusses the experiment in detail with reference to related conceptual issues, developed techniques, and the obtained results.