In Greek mythology, Terpsichore (pron.: /tərpˈsɪkəriː/; Τερψιχόρη) "delight in dancing" was one of the nine Muses, the Muse of Dance ruling over dance and the dramatic chorus. She lends her name to the word "terpsichorean" which means "of or relating to dance".
Terpsichore is usually depicted sitting down, holding a lyre, accompanying the dancers' choirs with her music. Terpsichore is sometimes said to be the mother of the Sirens by Achelous. Terpsichore's name comes from the Greek words τέρπω ("delight") and χoρός ("dance").
Terpsichore figures among her sisters in Hesiod's Theogony.
When The Histories of Herodotus were divided by later editors into nine books, each book was named after a Muse. Terpsichore was the name of the fifth book.
Modern Terpsichore References
- In the Fred Astaire / Ginger Rogers feature film Swing Time (1936), Lucky (Astaire), when asked by Mr. Gordon, why he wishes to learn to dance, answers: "To flirt with terpsichory". He then proceeds to take a dance lesson with Penny (Rogers), culminating in one of the greatest paired tap routines ever committed to film.
- "Terpsichore" is the title of a large collection of dance tunes collected by Michael Praetorius, some originating with Pierre-Francisque Caroubel.
- In an episode called "Quick-Quick Slow Death" of the UK crime agent series The Avengers, a dance institute is called Terpsichorean Training Techniques Inc.
- Terpsichore is also found in François Couperin's "Second Ordre" from the Pièces de clavecin.
- Terpsichore is also found in the third version (HWV 8c) of Handel's opera Il pastor fido (1712). This opera is sometimes referred to as Terpsicore and Il pastor fido.
- The eighteenth century French dancer and courtesan Marie-Madeleine Guimard named the private theater in her private palace (1766) the Temple of Terpsichore.
- British 32-gun frigate HMS Terpsichore commanded by Captain Bowen participated in the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife (1797).
- Rita Hayworth plays Terpsichore in the 1947 film Down To Earth.
- T.S. Eliot in the poem 'Jellicle Cats' from Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (1939), refers to the 'terpsichorean powers' of Jellicle Cats as they dance by the light of the Jellicle Moon.
- In the film McLintock! Drago introduces an exhibition of new dance steps as Terpsichorean.
- Olivia Newton-John plays the muse Terpsichore as Kira in the 1980 film Xanadu.
- Terpsichore in Sneakers is the title of a 1980 study of postmodern dance by dance historian and critic Sally Banes.
- Russian singer Origa sings a song, "Tersicore".
- The Terpsichorean Muse is referred to by John Cleese in the Cheese Shop sketch of Monty Python's Flying Circus.
- The Jimmy Van Heusen / Sammy Cahn song "Come Dance with Me" (popularized by Frank Sinatra) includes the lyric "what an evening for some Terpsichore." However it is sung as a three-syllable word with the "chore" component pronounced like "core" (to rhyme with "for") rather than "curry".
- Terpsichore is a technique used by the royal guard Neferpitou to "dance past one's limits" in the manga Hunter × Hunter.
- In the Les Luthiers' Unen canto con humor comedy show is referred in a sketch by Daniel Rabinovich and Marcos Mundstock, but Daniel improperly pronounces her name, calling her "Esther Píscore".
- In the 1947 movie Down to Earth Terpsichore is annoyed and visits earth to change a musical that depicts her in a bad light.
- On the album Istoria ~Musa~, J-Pop and World singer Shikata Akiko sings "Terpsichora," a dedication song to the goddess.