I just learned today from a news segment on TV about the origin of the name of the ballet leotard. It was named for a French trapeze performer, Jules Léotard (1838-1870). Léotard was the son of a gymnastics instructor and studied to be a lawyer but began to experiment with trapeze bars, ropes and rings suspended over a swimming pool (his father operated a swimming pool). He soon joined the circus. He and his wife invented a new kind of costume, a one-piece knitted garment streamlined to suit the safety and agility concerns of trapeze performance. Apparently, it also showed off his physique, impressed women, and inspired the 19th century popular song “The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze“:
“. . . He’d fly through the air with the greatest of ease,
That daring young man on the flying trapeze. . . .”
hear it here
Although we now call ballet leg coverings “tights” and only our upper body uniform a “leotard,” I guess we all owe a debt of gratitude to ole Jules!
At the Greenville Ballet School each of our ballet levels has an assigned uniform including a “leotard” of a specific style and color. Join us today to profit from the finest ballet training in the area and a nice looking leotard too!