12 Nov: The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Jules Leotard first somersaulted off a trapeze at Cirque Napoléon in Paris on 12th November, 1859. His act inspired gymnasts and circus performers the world over – although Leotard is now best remembered as the inventor of the skin-tight outfits he wore on stage.

Leotard had abandoned his studies as a lawyer to perfect his circus skills, spurred on by his acrobatic father. He developed his act into a twelve-minute trapeze routine with only a heap of mattresses to break his fall. 

In this episode, Arion, Olly and Rebecca perve over old photos of Leotard’s physique; reveal how Alvin and the Chipmunks AND Bruce Springsteen have a connection with this day in history; and consider how the leotard evolved from a ‘strong man’ outfit to a girl’s ballet costume… 

Further Reading:

• ‘The First Public performance by Jules Leotard’ (Squaducation, 2020): https://www.squaducation.com/blog/first-public-performance-jules-leotard

• ‘THE DRESS AND THE LEGEND: HISTORY AND FUNCTIONS OF A LEOTARD’ (The Vistek, 2020): https://thevistek.com/the-dress-and-the-legend-history-and-functions-of-a-leotard/

• ‘Eddie Cantor – The Man On The Flying Trapeze’ (Columbia Years 1922-1940): 

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