Roland Petit

1924 (Villemomble, France) – 2011 (Geneva)

Petit studied under Lifar. Laurencin, Larionov and Goncharova were regulars at his parents’ café. Brassaï (brought along by Prévert) described the young choreographer as champing at the bit. He filmed Nureyev and had a fling with Fonteyn (though he married Jeanmaire). Gainsbourg, and the Nouveaux réalistes artists Tinguely and Saint Phalle, collaborated with him. Petit liked the feeling of Dutilleux’s music, and worked on a ballet with him, based on a story Anouilh had recounted. Messiaën was decidedly reserved about Petit’s ballet Turangalîla (sets by Ernst). Other collaborators, likely and unlikely, included Kosma, Cocteau, Simenon, and (after a chance meeting) Welles.