Petit, who created the Ballet de Champs-Elysees in 1945, first came to Broadway in 1958 when four of his ballets, Carmen, Contre-Pointe, La Rose Des Vents, and La Dame Dans La Lune, were presented in a special program entitled Les Ballets de Paris, featuring himself and his wife Zizi Jeanmaire.
In 1964, he created the Broadway revue Zizi, which starred his wife, and in 1981, he directed and choreographed a short-lived revival of Can-Can, also starring Jeanmaire. Petit received a Tony Award nomination for Best Choreography.
In the 1970s, Petit directed many works for the Casino de Paris, many featuring his wife. Over his long career, he worked with such companies as the Paris Opera Ballet, Sadler's Wells, San Francisco Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, the National Ballet of China, and the Ballet de Marseille, now know as National Ballet of Marseille-Roland Petit.
Petit also worked in Hollywood, where he provided choreography for such films as Hans Christian Andersen, Anything Goes, Daddy Long Legs, Follies-Bergere, and White Nights.
He is survived by his wife and his daughter, Valentine.