150 Years Ago: The Man on The Flying Trapeze



Do children still learn/sing this song?

He floats through the air
With the greatest of ease,
The daring young man
On the flying trapeze;
His actions are graceful,
All girls he does please,
And my love he has stolen away.

There are now many innovative styles of flying trapeze acts, such as those performed by Cirque Du Soleil.  But in a traditional flying trapeze act, the flyer mounts a narrow board and jumps from it so that gravity makes the  trapeze swing.  The flyer waits for a call from the catcher to make sure he or she leaves at the correct time in order for a successful catch to be made.  The flyer usually performs an aerial trick and is then aught by the catcher, who is swinging from a separate catch bar.  The flyer is then thrust back to the fly bar to return to the board.


The first public performance of a flying trapeze act was on November 12, 1859, at Cirque Napoleon in Paris, France.  The performance was invented and performed by Jules Leotard, who also designed the garment named after him.


16 Responses to “150 Years Ago: The Man on The Flying Trapeze”

  1. busy bee suz Says:

    Great post George. Do you know that I wanted to join the circus as a kid and do this for the rest of my life??? I loved the thought of flying through the air, only now, I am frighted of heights!!! I love to watch these men and women though…such athletic artists!!!

  2. connieemeraldeyes Says:

    I once went to see the Cirque du Soleil. It was expensive, but they were amazing. (PS: George, I posted a waterfall picture for you to see.

    here: http://connieemeraldeyez.blogspot.com/

  3. Susie Says:

    I was always amazed to watch the man in the trapeze George! I’ve never seen Cirque du Soleil but have heard what a wonderful show they put on.

  4. NCMountainwoman Says:

    Interesting! Now, can you tell me how to get that silly song out of my head?

  5. Karen Says:

    I remember that song from when I was a kid.
    I’ve been to the circus a few times and the flying trapeze act was always my favorite. Thanks for the memories.

  6. Tricia Says:

    I’ve heard that song before – It’s really old tho! hehehee
    I didn’t know about the leotard – Funny how things are actually named after the person who invented them – I would have never guessed this one tho

  7. MaryBeth Says:

    Hey, neat post. I did not know about Jules Leotard. Good info. I remember ‘The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze’. I could play it on the piano–only one-handed though. Just pick out the melody. LOL.. MB

  8. Jen Says:

    Interesting post George.
    you won’t catch me up there on one of those things, or wearing a leotard. 😉

  9. Pam Says:

    That was a great history lesson for my old brain, George. I always wondered where the name Leotard came from. Trying the trapeze is definitely not for me.

  10. Cheryl Says:

    I remember that song! When I was a child and got to go to the circus I was always amazed by the trapeze artists. Although I was always on the edge of my seat, so afraid one would fall!

  11. imac Says:

    Thought that was a photo of you George for a moment, no wonder Betsy fell for you – dressed like that.lol

  12. Mary Says:

    Well, I remember learning that song when I was a kid, but I doubt my children ever heard it. Interesting facts! Now I know where the name “leotards” comes from.

  13. Rose Says:

    I remember that song! And I would have loved to have had the opportunity to try out flying through the air.

  14. Carletta Says:

    Hadn’t thought of that song in a long time but I do remember singing it. I’m going to ask my daughter but I don’t think she would know it and I never heard it from the kids at school.
    Hmmm….I would have thought ‘leotard’ was from a dancer. Thank you for that lesson. Nice trivia to know.

  15. lizziviggi Says:

    This is a very fun post! I was checking out your skywatch Friday post, but couldn’t resist scrolling down to see what the trapeze stuff was all about. Very interesting history– thanks for sharing it with us!

  16. Louise Cannon Says:

    Never knew about the leotard. I think they look better now!

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