More obituaries for Petit.
The Arts Desk
The New York Times
Alas, not here however. His relationship with London after that first iconoclastic Carmen did not flourish as he had hoped. The Sadlers Wells (later Royal) Ballet asked him to create a work the following year, Ballabile, but while dancers thought he'd been something of a sadist in rehearsal, the ballet itself was found tame. He later created an erotic pop-art Paradise Lost in 1967 for Fonteyn and Nureyev (pictured right). But he never made a toehold in Britain - like the other leading French choreographer, Maurice Béjart, his contemporary, he was eclipsed by the rise of Kenneth MacMillan, whose ballets were as powerful in character but stronger in classical virtues.
American critics often called him chic. Even French critics began to find him superficial. Yet after he turned to creating ballets based on opera and literature, he could surprise.
In New York in 1980, the National Ballet of Marseille (headed by Mr. Petit since 1972), presented Mr. Petit’s eloquent commentary on Marcel Proust and his work in “Marcel Proust Remembered.” Ms. Jeanmaire carried his ballet version of “Fledermaus” in “The Bat.” His updated view of “Coppélia” had a witty if kinky approach: as Coppélius, he waltzed with a female dummy (the doll Coppélia) strapped to his body.