French dancer and choreographer Roland Petit died in Geneva on Sunday. Petit was 87.
Associated with the Paris Opera Ballet and the Ballet de Marseille for a number of years, Petit was credited for creating more than 100 ballets throughout his career. Additionally, he choreographed dance sequences for a handful of movies, notably Samuel Goldwyn’s Hans Christian Andersen (1952), a color extravaganza starring Danny Kaye, Farley Granger, and Petit’s future wife Zizi Jeanmaire; two 1955 Leslie Caron vehicles, the Cinderella tale The Glass Slipper and Daddy Long Legs, which paired Caron with Fred Astaire; and Henri Decoin’s Folies-Bergère (1956), with Jeanmaire, Eddie Constantine, and Nadia Gray.
“With his muse Zizi Jeanmaire,” whom Petit married in 1954, “he wrote some of the most beautiful pages of contemporary music hall,” French Minister of Culture Frédéric Mitterrand eulogized. Roland Petit and Zizi Jeanmaire remained married until his death.
Mitterrand quote via the BBC.