• How is Emotion Involved in the Making of Dance

New Visions on Dance Symposium for Emerging and Early Career Researchers, Middlesex University, 12 October 2013;

International Postgraduate Conference ART & EMOTION, Department of Philosophy, University of Hong Kong, 12-13 December 2013.

  • Marrying Disciplines: merging philosophy and dance analysis for a perspective on emotional expressiveness in dance

School of Performing Arts Annual Conference, University of Malta, Valletta Campus, 9-11 March 2016

  • Emotional Expressiveness as an Aesthetic Property: case study of Russell Maliphant’s Afterlight (Part One) 2009

Society for European Philosophy Conference, Regent’s University, London, 2016;

Symposium of Philosophy and Dance, Texas State University, Texas, US, 2016

International Congress for Dance Research, Valencia, Spain, 2016.

  • A Complex Experience: Embodied Cognition and the Emotional Import of Contemporary Theatre Dance

6th Annual Conference hosted by the School of Performing Arts at the University of Malta, 13, 14, 15 March 2019.

  • Destabilising to Engage: Crystal Pite’s Work from and about Conflict

Dance Studies Association annual international conference “Contra: Dance & Conflict at the University of Malta in Valletta, Malta, 5-8 July 2018.


For a more updated list of publications, please check Google Scholar or ORCID .

PIQUERO ALVAREZ, L., 2020. Crystal Pite. In: J. BUTTERWORTH and L. SANDERS, eds, Fifty Contemporary Choreographers. London and New York: Routledge.

PIQUERO ALVAREZ, L., 2020. Russell Maliphant. In: J. BUTTERWORTH and L. SANDERS, eds, Fifty Contemporary Choreographers. London and New York: Routledge.

ÁLVAREZ, L.P., 2020. Performing Process. Sharing Dance and Choreographic Practice ed. by Hetty Blades and Emma Meehan Dance Research Journal, 52(2), pp. 106-108.

PIQUERO ALVAREZ, L., 2020. Sound, Silence, Resonance, and Embodiment: Choreographic Synaesthesia Idea Journal, 17(02), pp. 215-29.

ÁLVAREZ, L.P., 2019. Experiencing Emotional Import in Twenty-first Century Euro-American Contemporary Theatre Dance Roehampton University.

PIQUERO, L., 2019. Espectadores en la danza contemporánea y una perspectiva nietzscheana de las emociones: un análisis del trabajo de Crystal Pite Espectadores en la danza contemporánea y una perspectiva nietzscheana de las emociones: un análisis del trabajo de Crystal Pite, , pp. 181-190.

PIQUERO, L., 2016. Emotional Expressiveness in Dance as an Aesthetic Quality: the case of Russell Maliphant’s Afterlight (Part One) 2016, Mahali Editions, pp. 475-481.


A Complex Experience: Embodied Cognition and the Emotional Import of Contemporary Theatre Dance

This paper explores the spectator’s experience of emotions in Euro-American contemporary theatre dance, proceeding through a dialogue between philosophical views of the spectator’s experience and a particular focus on the analysis of movement qualities. The study explores the spectator’s experience of emotions as neither raw—i.e. not intellectual—nor completely ineffable, and as not fully dependent on the self-expressive aims of the choreographer or dancer, or on the personal feelings of the spectator. The view adopted in this paper integrates the bodily experience and the intellectual processing of information to create a composite, hybrid, approach, one which focuses on theories of embodied cognition.

Moreover, the paper presents an analysis of movement qualities—based mainly on Rudolf von Laban’s Effort/Shape theory—as perceptual properties of the work. Although other perceptual properties—such as spatial-rhythm and sound-movement relationships—are considered equally important, the paper focuses on movement qualities vis-à-vis my own experience as spectator and/or choreographer.

The paper will propose that the emotional import of the experience of Euro-American contemporary theatre dance is an embodied cognitive and enactive perceptual process which focuses on the features of the work, but which integrates both the background of the spectator and the context of the work and the performance. This perspective allows for a comprehensive understanding of the experience of emotion in the spectator, creating a bridge between the theoretical and movement analysis approaches, as well as between theoretical research and dance practice. One implication of this view is that of a hybrid spectator who—if perhaps not fully consciously so—debunks Cartesian divides still seemingly pervasive in certain practical dance environments.

Emotional Expressiveness as a (Virtual) Balancing Act: a proposal for an analytic approach to dance from the interaction between visual arts and philosophy.

Rudolf Arnheim defines balance as the ‘state in which the forces acting upon a body compensate one another’ (1974 [1954]: 19). The idea of balance is appropriate to dance not only in the more obvious image of the ballerina holding herself up on the tip of her pointe shoes, but also, this paper argues, in a more extraneous way to the world of dance: balance in the spatial-rhythm of a choreographic composition.

The idea of ‘virtual spatial forms’ is key to the argument put forward in this paper. These virtual forms, that ‘are perceived to be there but are not actually there’ (Preston-Dunlop and Sanchez-Colberg, 2010: 86), are spatial projections, tensions, body design, and progression. The virtual is here also related to Suzanne Langer’s ‘virtual force’ (1953).

The paper proposes a methodology to analyse Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and James O’Hara’s Ondos do Mar (2010). This methodology is emergent from interactions between dance analysis and visual arts. The work is converted into photograms, one per second, where main lines of tension and direction, any secondary lines, areas focusing attention, direction of pull, and focal point of the dancer are identified. From these analysis, both the kinespheric spatial-rhythm (the more sculptural sense of rhythm) and the global spatial-rhythm (painting-like) are studied. The paper finally draws conclusions from these analyses to put forward the argument that emotion in dance is a phenomenal property emergent from perceptual properties such as spatial-rhythm.

Spectatorship in Contemporary Dance and a Nietzschean Perspective on Emotions: an analysis of Crystal Pite’s work

This paper offers a perspective through which emotion emerges from the physicality of the dance work, hence becoming ontological to contemporary dance. Our emotional perception of dance subverts reason to posit a more experiential, corporeal understanding. Nietzsche’s affective interpretation is then not a choice, but the defining nature of our engagement with dance. This perspective is contrasted with a realist one, for an in-depth discussion of our experience of emotion in contemporary dance.

The paper explores the experiential aspect of emotion in contemporary dance spectatorship through an analysis of Crystal Pite’s work, Dark Matters (2009). Positing the referential and the textual as only one element in our perception of dance, I understand emotion as embodied in the dance itself, in its formal properties. As in Nietzsche’s Dyonisian music, dance is here understood as a phenomenon through the experience of which emotion is perceived. Analysing movement qualities, spatial-rhythm, and soundscape, concepts of rhythm, balance, and tension emerge in the organisation of our experience of contemporary dance. These concepts are then discussed in relation to the emotions perceived in the work.

Interaction between choreographic research and a city’s summer festival: in Oviedo, beyond and through.

This paper presents a summarised view of the process during the choreographic research at Estancias Coreográficas, an annual project in the city of Oviedo, Spain, funded by its mayor’s office and their summer festival. The project is supported by the University of Malta’s research grants, the School of Performing Arts, and by other institutions and spaces.

The paper will divide in three parts:

1. The project’s aims and research areas.

2. The involvement of the city, its spaces, and audiences.

3. Interactions between these points.

This year’s project brought together people from disciplines of dance (contemporary, Spanish and flamenco), music, and visual arts. The project had nice choreographers, almost fifty dancers, and a team of ten researchers, all these from eleven different nationalities. A symposium on Dance and Rhythm was also organised in collaboration with the Universidad de Oviedo. The project’s main research lines will be discussed, including rhythm in relation to structure, dramaturgy, music, visual arts, movement qualities, and also rhythm as pedagogical tool.

The mayor’s office supports this project and frames it within its summer festival, which aims to activate Oviedo’s cultural scene during the summer holidays. Most performances of the festival are offered for free to the public, including EC’s final sharing (which has about 700 people in the audience each year). The project takes place in the city’s main theatre but this year occupied up to seven different spaces at one time.

EC presents an opportunity to choreographers, dancers and researchers from other disciplines to join in research. However, due to its structure and support, EC also offers an opportunity to introduce dance to new audiences, and also to introduce them to the—somewhat still unknown—idea of research in dance.

Destabilising to Engage: Crystal Pite’s Work from and about Conflict

This paper focuses on Crystal Pite’s work for the Royal Ballet, Flight Pattern (2017). The work is a reflection on the current refugee crisis, but aims at a universality of theme and emotion that, judging by the reviews, is more than achieved. Pite herself speaks about the work as not specific to a particular place or time, but a more universal question of borders, compassion, and fear (Pite for Royal Opera House, 2017). Pite’s work, this paper proposes, achieves this balance between universality and particularity through an interplay between narrative and abstraction that occurs synchronously in this specific work, but that is also a mark of her choreographic style more generally. Pite uses these ideas, for example, in her work for her company Kidd Pivot—The Tempest Replica and Dark Matters both have a fully narrative first act and a more abstracted second act.

This paper, then, analyses how the work creates a sense of tension through its physicality: a conflict through the body of the performers that serves to elucidate an abstracted idea of conflict. Conflict, in its many forms, pervades the work’s meaning and creates its emotional atmosphere.The paper understands that the significance of the work is reached through more humane moments used in contrast to more abstract ones, and studies meaning and emotion in dance from a perspective of analytic philosophy. The objective is to explore how these choreographic devices allow the work to emerge from conflict, facilitating its becoming a voice to speak about conflict.