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March 1, 1838
|Died||August 17, 1870 (aged 32)|
Jules Léotard (French: [leɔtaʁ]; March 1, 1838 – August 17, 1870) was a French acrobatic performer and aerialist who developed the art of trapeze. He also popularized the one-piece gym wear that now bears his name and inspired the 1867 song "The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze" sung by George Leybourne.
After he passed his law exams, he seemed destined to join the legal profession. But at 18 he began to experiment with trapeze bars, ropes and rings suspended over a swimming pool. Léotard later joined the Cirque Napoleon.
The costume he invented was a one-piece knitted garment streamlined to suit the safety and agility concerns of trapeze performance. It also showed off his physique, impressed women and inspired the song sung by George Leybourne.
In addition to having the leotard named after him, Jules Léotard was immortalised as the subject of the 1867 popular song, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze.
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- V&A museum biography
- "Jules Leotard". Theatre and Performance. Victoria and Albert Museum. Retrieved 2011-02-15.[permanent dead link]
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