During the Renaissance, there was a spectacular court dance involving parapluie, or umbrellas, the forerunner of the parachute. Dancers would climb atop courtyard walls carrying enormous brightly colored silk umbrellas. They would begin dancing short, hopping steps which become raucous leaps along their precarious ledge until suddenly, they would hurtle themselves off the wall, umbrellas overhead, and float down into the midst of the spectators.