14 Facts About Roland Petit


Roland Petit was a French ballet company director, choreographer and dancer.


Roland Petit trained at the Paris Opera Ballet school, and became well known for his creative ballets.


The son of shoe designer Rose Repetto, Petit was born in Villemomble, near Paris.


Roland Petit trained at the Paris Opera Ballet school under Gustave Ricaux and Serge Lifar and began to dance with the corps de ballet in 1940.


Roland Petit founded the Ballets des Champs-Elysees in 1945 and the Ballets de Paris in 1948, at Theatre Marigny, with Zizi Jeanmaire as star dancer.


Roland Petit collaborated with Constant Lambert, Henri Dutilleux, Serge Gainsbourg, Yves Saint-Laurent and Cesar Baldaccini and participated in several French and American films.


Roland Petit returned to the Paris Opera in 1965 to mount a production of Notre Dame de Paris.


Roland Petit continued to direct ballets for the largest theatres of France, Italy, Germany, Great Britain, Canada and Cuba.


Roland Petit directed the Ballet National de Marseille for the next 26 years.


Roland Petit refused the free technical effects; he did not stop reinventing his style, language, and became a master in the arts of pas de deux and of narrative ballet, but he succeeded in abstract ballets.


Roland Petit collaborated with the nouveaux realistes including Martial Raysse, Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely.


In 1954, Roland Petit married dancer Zizi Jeanmaire, who performed in a number of his works.


Roland Petit's memoirs were published in 1993 under the title J'ai danse sur les flots.


Roland Petit died in Geneva, Switzerland, aged 87, of leukemia in 2011.