4 items from 2011
Choreographer and dancer who created stunning roles for his wife, Zizi Jeanmaire
When Roland Petit's Les Ballets des Champs Elysées opened its first London season in 1946, the company brought to the British dance scene an explosion of chic and excitement which had long been missing. Not only was the standard of male dancing from Petit and his fellow dancer Jean Babilée better than anything for many years, the enthusiasm of the young company was a contrast to the restrained correctness of the Sadler's Wells dancers. Les Forains, a piece about a troupe of strolling entertainers, distinguished by beautiful decors and costumes by Christian Bérard, was the triumph of what the critic Richard Buckle described as "an evening of wonderful surprises".
Petit, who has died from leukaemia aged 87, was capable of tailoring a role so that it perfectly reflected the abilities of the dancer on whom it was made, often »
French dancer and choreographer Roland Petit died in Geneva on Sunday. He 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. »
- Andre Soares
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4 Film The Tree of Life
The much-delayed fifth feature from director Terrence Malick, snapped up by Icon for UK release ahead of its Cannes showing, is a multi-generational drama featuring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn – and, reportedly, dinosaurs.
5 Classical From the House of the Dead
Dance By Singing Light/Romance Inverse
National Dance Company of Wales bring Stephen Petronio and Itzik Galili's arresting double bill to Dance City in Newcastle, with the former set to the poetry of Dylan Thomas.
6 Theatre Shrek
Black Swan, directed by Darren Aronofsky, claims to penetrate to the romantic, obsessional heart of ballet. Based loosely on Swan Lake, the film follows Nina, its ballerina heroine, as she grapples with learning the dual role of Odette and Odile (the white and black swans in Swan Lake).
Nina, played by Natalie Portman, is bullied by her mother and director, works herself punitively hard and becomes violently paranoid about her rival, Lily. What tips her over the edge is the challenge of dancing the Black Swan. As Nina tackles the sexy, malevolent role, she unleashes dark forces within herself that plunge us into full-on cinematic horror.
Prior to the film's Us release last month, the dance community had imagined Black Swan to »
- Judith Mackrell
4 items from 2011
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