Entertainment

French choreographer Roland Petit dies

Acclaimed choreographer Roland Petit, whose creations dazzled stages from Paris to Hollywood and inspired dancers, writers and designers has died in Geneva, aged 87.

Acclaimed choreographer Roland Petit, whose creations dazzled stages from Paris to Hollywood and inspired dancers, writers and designers has died in Geneva, aged 87.

The Paris National Opera announced Petit's death Sunday after getting word from his wife, Zizi Jeanmaire, a ballerina turned music hall performer who collaborated with her husband.

France's Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand paid tribute to him, deeming Petit "one of the major choreographers of the 20th Century."

Petit is credited with creating more than 100 ballets.

Mitterrand also noted Petit's works brought together designers like Yves Saint-Laurent for costumes, Picasso for decor and writer and poet Jacques Prevert.

He created 11 works for the Paris Opera, including Notre Dame de Paris, and choreographed for Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn as well as for works like Daddy Long Legs with Fred Astaire in Hollywood.

Born in 1924, Petit joined the Paris Opera Ballet when he was nine years old, but left when he was 20 to perform his own works at another venue in Paris.

Over the span of his long career, he formed other companies including the Ballets de Paris in 1948, where he created The Young Girls of the Night for Margot Fonteyn.

In 1972, Petit established the Ballet de Marseille and ran it for 26 years.

Last year, he returned to the Paris Opera Ballet with three of his favourite ballets, The Young Man and Death, Le Rendez-vous and The Wolf.

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