Jules Léotard

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Jules Léotard
Jules Léotard2.jpg
Born Jules Léotard
1 March 1838
Toulouse, France
Died 17 August 1870 (aged 32)
Toulouse, France
Known for Trapeze
Acrobatics

Jules Léotard (French: [leɔtaʁ]; 1 March 1838 – 17 August 1870) was a French acrobatic performer and aerialist who developed the art of trapeze. He also popularised 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.

Early life[edit]

Léotard was born in Toulouse, France, the son of a gymnastics instructor who ran a swimming pool in Toulouse. Léotard would practice his routines over the pool.[1] He went on to study Law.

Career[edit]

After he passed his law exams, he seemed destined to join the legal profession.[2] But at 18 he began to experiment with trapeze bars, ropes and rings suspended over a swimming pool. Léotard later joined the Cirque Napoleon.[3]

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,[4] impressed the ladies and inspired the song sung by George Leybourne.

Death[edit]

According to notes from the Victoria and Albert Museum, Jules Léotard died in 1870 from an infectious disease (possibly smallpox).[5] They list his year of birth as 1838.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Lynch, Annette; Strauss, Mitchell D. (30 October 2014). Ethnic Dress in the United States: A Cultural Encyclopedia. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 186. ISBN 978-0-7591-2150-8. 
  2. ^ McPherson, Douglas (1 April 2011). Circus Mania!. Peter Owen Publishers. p. 124. ISBN 978-0-7206-1386-5. 
  3. ^ Cullen, Frank; Hackman, Florence; McNeilly, Donald (16 October 2006). Vaudeville old & new: an encyclopedia of variety performances in America. Psychology Press. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-415-93853-2. 
  4. ^ Marciano, John Bemelmans (3 November 2009). Anonyponymous: The Forgotten People Behind Everyday Words. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 61. ISBN 978-1-60819-162-8. 
  5. ^ V&A museum biography

References[edit]

  • Michael Diamond, Victorian Sensation, (Anthem Press, 2003) ISBN 1-84331-150-X. Pp. 262–264.

External links[edit]