Definitions

Terpsichore

Terpsichore

[turp-sik-uh-ree]
Terpsichore: see Muses.
For the fern genus, see Terpsichore (fern).

In Greek mythology, Terpsichore (Τερψιχόρη) "delight of dancing" was one of the nine Muses, ruling over dance and the dramatic chorus. She lends her name to the word "terpsichorean" which means "of or relating to dance". She is usually depicted sitting down, holding a lyre, accompanying with her music to the dancers' choirs. She is sometimes said to be the mother of the Sirens by Achelous. Her name comes from the Greek words τέρπω ("delight") and χoρός ("dance").

Historical references

  • Terpsichore figures among her sisters in Hesiod's Theogony.
  • "Terpsichore" is the title of a large collection of dance tunes collected by Michael Praetorius, some originating with Pierre-Francisque Caroubel.
  • Terpsichore is also found in Couperin's "Second Ordre" from the "Pieces de clavecin".
  • Terpsichore is also found in the third version (HWV 8c) of Handel's opera Il pastor fido. This opera is sometimes referred to as Terpsicore and Il pastor fido.

Popular culture

Geo-thermal terpsichorean ejectamenta", whatever that means.

  • The Jellicle Cats in T. S. Eliot's "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" and in Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Cats" musical are said to have "terpsichorean powers" which they reserve "to dance by the light of the Jellicle Moon".
  • Tony Award winner LaChanze provided the voice for the muse Terpsichore in Walt Disney Pictures film Hercules.
  • In Daniel Quinn's My Ishmael, the fictional planet Terpischore is a land ravished by dancing, with dancing paralleling the rise of agriculture on Earth. Dancing (in an unspecified manner) speeds up the growth of the natives' "favorite foods."
  • Kurt Vonnegut's character Rabo Karabekian briefly makes reference to Terpsichore in Bluebeard (1987).
  • In the anime series Cowboy Bebop two characters' names are taken from the muse; Valeria Terpsichore and her unseen, but alluded to, husband Ural Terpsichore.
  • In the movie Xanadu (1980), Olivia Newton John plays the embodied muse Terpsichore (aka: "Kira"). She lends her inspiration to a dance club/nightspot called "Xanadu". At the end of the film, she and her sister muses leave, their work done, in the same way they arrived.
  • Terpsichorean was a popular adjective in Victorian music hall hyperbole. The long-running BBC TV series "The Good Old Days" recreated this style, with Leonard Sachs as a compère with a notable fondness for the word.
  • In the China Miéville book "The Scar", the main characters travel on a ship called the Terpsichoria.
  • Another reference in popular culture to the term "terpsichorean" is from Frank Zappa's "You Are What You Is" album, from the song "Mudd Club". Included herewith is the following lyric, "And all of the rest for whom to which to when so ever partially indeterminite biochemical degradation seek the path to the sudsy yellow nozzle of their foaming nocturnal parametric digital whole wheat interfaith geothermal terpsochorean ejectomenta".
  • In the Broadway Musical Xanadu, Terpsichore is played by Andre Ward
  • In the film Topsy Turvy by Mike Leigh the learning of the Japanese movements is referred to as terpsichory
  • Terpsichore (TERP) is the name of a patent pending wireless broadcast system for designing, directing, and driving human movement without rehearsal created by choreographer Patrice. M. Regnier.

  • (81) Terpsichore is the name of a 119km diameter minor planet (asteroid).

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