Flying on a trapeze in the 19th century

Hi, Amy. Just wondering how your New Years went with the family you live with in the 1800s.


The family had a lot of company? You sang Auld Lange Syne at midnight? Everyone sang while someone played the piano into the wee hours? 
That's so nice. 
And you were surprised to hear another song you remember from grade school? What was it?
Wow, that's interesting. Well, let's see what I can tell you about the song "The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze".

Originally published in in 1867 under the title "The Flying Trapeze" it was written by singer and lyricist, George Leybourne, with music by Gaston Lyle. The words are actually based on a real person - trapeze artist Jules Leotard. Sing it with me, Abby ...
"He'd fly through the air with the greatest of ease,
This daring young man on the flying trapeze;
His actions are graceful,
All girls he could please,
My love he has purloined away".
What does purloined mean?
Simply, it means to have something stolen.

This is where the name of a "leotard" originated. Jules wore a one-piece knitted garment that showed off his physique and stretched to allow movement. It won't be until the 1920s when the leotard will become a popular outfit for dancers. And it won't be until the 1970s when the leotard will become popular for exercise.

Jules Leotard was born in Toulouse, France on August 1st, 1842. His hope was to become a lawyer, and he actually did pass his law exams, but his passion for the trapeze superseded all. 
His father owned a gymnasium and by stringing bars and ropes over the gym's swimming pool, Jules experimented and practised until he was the finest trapeze artist of all.
He eventually joined the French circus, Cirque Franconi in Paris, as their main aerialist. His first performance was in London in May, 1861. At times, he would perform on five trapezes, completing somersaults between each one.

Jules Leotard will die from an infectious disease quite young in 1879 while performing in Spain.