Roland Petit

In English, “le jeune homme et la mort translates to “the young man and death.” There’s no missing the somber tone in this clip of Roland Petit’s short ballet. As the young man, Rudolf Nureyev dances in a reverie to the melancholic organ chimes. Throughout the technical tricks and complicated prop maneuvering that peppers Petit’s choreography, Nureyev never loses his trance-like stare. The reason for his reverie soon strides through the door.

Choreographer Roland Petit was for years the ballet world's master of theatrical showmanship. Bolstered by rich, beautifully designed costumes and decor, his works oozed sensual style.