Extraordinary friendships: Lindsay Kemp, Patrick Dupond, Zizi and Roland Petit.

Lindsay Kemp’s work has a deep background in classical dance and a continuum may be drawn from The Ballets Russes and Nijinsky to Lindsay and the visual refinement and intellectual depth of his creations. If Diaghilev had been alive today, he would surely be seeking to make Lindsay Kemp star of his company. These pictures wonderfully illustrate that link, showing the appreciation and friendship of some of the greatest names in the ballet world.

Lindsay Kemp will be performing the World Premiering of Peter and the Wolf On May 27 at 21:00 THEATRE 4 MORI – Livorno with the Orchestra of The Mascagni Musical Institute to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the foundation.

Lindsay Kemp, Roland Petit and his wife Ballerina Zizi Jeanmaire.

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Photograph courtesy of Lindsay Kemp.

Roland Petit in more depth:

“Petit helped set up dance company Les Ballets des Champs-Elysees in 1945 and is credited with revolutionising ballet for his theatrical choreography.

France’s Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand paid tribute to him, saying he was “one of the major choreographers of the 20th Century”.

Petit is credited with creating more than 100 ballets during his career.

He married dancer Zizi Jeanmaire in 1954 and choreographed a number of pieces for her.

“With his muse Zizi Jeanmaire, he wrote some of the most beautiful pages of contemporary music hall,” Mr Mitterrand said.

Born in 1924, Petit joined the Paris Opera Ballet when he was nine years old, but left when he was 20 to create and perform his own works at the Theatre Sarah Bernhardt in Paris.

After forming Les Ballets des Champs-Elysees, he remained at the company for three years as principal dancer, ballet master, and choreographer.

He then formed the Ballets de Paris in 1948, where he created The Young Girls of the Night for Margot Fonteyn.

In 1949, it was Jeanmaire’s performance in Petit’s production of Carmen in London that thrust the dancer into the spotlight.

Petit married dancer Zizi Jeanmaire in 1954.

It was not long before Hollywood came calling and Petit spent four years in the US choreographing films including Hans Christian Andersen, The Glass Slipper, Daddy Long Legs and Anything Goes.

In 1965 he returned to the Paris Opera Ballet to create two new ballets – Adage et Variations and Notre Dame de Paris.

He served as artistic director for the company 1970 but resigned after six months to buy the Casino de Paris concert hall in which he staged revues that starred his wife, Jeanmaire.

In 1972 Petit helped found the Ballet de Marseille, which he would lead as director for 26 years.

During this time, he created such works as Pink Floyd Ballet, Puss in Boots, The Queen of Spades and The Cheetah.

After his tenure, Petit continued to tour the world with his new ballets.

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.

“Each time he came it was like the return of the prodigal son,” said Brigitte Lefevre, artistic director of the Paris Opera Ballet where Petit trained as a dancer.

[Extract from Roland Petit:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-14099910%5D

Lindsay Kemp and Patrick Dupond.

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Photograph courtesy of Lindsay Kemp.

Patrick Dupond:

“After experimenting with sports and martial arts as a child, Patrick Dupond found himself taken with the dramatic flair of classical music coupled with the gracious movements of dance. He was recognized as a great talent immediately, but it was not until Max Bozzoni became his teacher that Dupond was able to rise to the level of the elite. After working tirelessly with Bozzoni, he quickly progressed and eventually secured a place within the Paris Opera Ballet Company. In 1980 he became a ballet celebrity after winning the Gold medal at the Varna International Ballet Competition in Bulgaria.

After the victorious competition, Patrick’s dream of becoming principle dancer for the Company was finally made a reality, allowed him the opportunity to dance alongside legends such as Rudolf Nureyev and Alvin Ailey. He was named Artistic Director of the French ballet in Nancy in 1988. Two years later, Dupond returned to the Paris Opera becoming its Dance Director.

In 2000, Dupond was in a nearly fatal car accident that forced him to relearn the art of dance from scratch. His old mentor, Max Bozzoni, came back to Dupond’s aid, patiently retraining the dancer, and allowing him to continue his resounding career, enchanting audiences with his captivating and communicative dancing.”

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