Long-time Ballet San Jose dancer Tiffany Glenn dead from cancer at age 33

June 22, 2012

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Long-time Ballet San Jose dancer Tiffany Glenn dead from cancer at age 33


Tiffany Glenn
B. February 25, 1979
D. June 18, 2012

Tiffany Glenn

Tiffany by John Gerbetz

Longtime Ballet San Jose soloist Tiffany Glenn died Monday at the age of 33 following a six-year battle with cancer. Tiffany, who was born and raised in Washington, D.C., received her training at Jones-Haywood School of Ballet in Washington, D.C.; Rosella Hightower Centre de Danse in Cannes, France; Alvin Ailey American Dance Center in New York City; and with Alonzo King in San Francisco. Before Joining Ballet San Jose in 2001, she performed with Dance Theatre of Harlem in such ballets as Creole Giselle, The Four Temperaments, South African Suite and Serenade. With Ballet San Jose, Miss Glenn especially enjoyed working with Donald McKayle in his productions of District Storyville, Death and Eros, and House of Tears. Added to her extensive Ballet SJ repertoire were Who Cares?, Les Sylphides, Swan Lake, Gâité Parisienne, Red Shoes—Legs of Fire, Carmen, Phaedra, the role of coryphée in Giselle, the Mistress of Ceremonies in David Lichine’s Graduation Ball, and a stunning performance in the debut of Flemming Flyndt’s Out of Africa.

two ballet dancers in a lift

Willie Anderson and Tiffany Glenn appear in Flemming Flindt’s world premiere production of “Out of Africa”, a full-length ballet which draws on Karen Blixen’s tales about her years on a coffee plantation in Kenya during the 1920s.
Presented by Ballet San Jose Photo : John Gerbetz

In June of 2006, at the age of 27, she was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. By spring of 2007 she was back at Ballet San Jose dancing in Dennis Nahat’s Blue Suede Shoes while still undergoing radiation and chemo and wearing a wig because she had lost her hair. She also performed in Carmina Burana and as the Tigress in Dennis Nahat and Yong Yao’s premiere of Middle Kingdom—Ancient China. In December ‘07 she reprised the lead role of Maria in Nahat’s The Nutcracker, a role she had first performed in 2005 but which was too demanding for her following her surgery and recovery in ‘06. In 2008 she danced all three ballets in a mixed repertory program of George Balanchine works, and appeared in The Firebird before embarking on a five-week, eight-city tour of China with Ballet San Jose. In 2009 she appeared in The Toreador and A Midsummer Night’s Dream before adding choreography to her long list of credits at Ballet SJ, when she created Legends, a world-premiere contemporary three-part ballet set to songs by John Legend. She commented on her choice of music saying, “I wanted to expose people to the idea that we don’t have to always have ballet to classical music.” Tiffany was always working on her choreographic skills, creating new ballets for children during her summers at Usdan Center for the Creative Arts in New York, and contributing to Bay Area dance during “Dancing Downtown” performances and other events. Wherever she went she wanted to make dances. She continued to perform in every Ballet SJ program through 2011, including Romeo and Juliet, Coppélia, Pirates of Penzance, Agon, Jardin aux Lilas, Moments, and “Softly as I leave You” in Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs.

ballet dancer on pointe holding a nutcracker doll

Tiffany in The Nutcracker Photograph : John Gerbetz

Her cancer returned earlier this year, but she continued dancing while undergoing chemotherapy. Her last performances with the company were in March 2012, when she reprised her role in Graduation Ball, on which Beeri Moalem of the Examiner commented, “…the elegant Tiffany Glenn as mistress of the ceremony cast an irresistible spell.”

Tiffany passed on June 18 at her home in Washington D.C. surrounded by family and friends. Ballet San Jose Principal Ballet Master Raymond Rodriguez, who worked closely with Tiffany throughout her career at Ballet SJ both as a fellow dancer and as ballet master had this to say, “Tiffany’s unique qualities and talent shone through on and off the stage. She had the ability to put a smile on anyone’s face – forever a child at heart!  I have never worked with a dancer with such determination, drive, strength and courage – she was indeed a Tigress. She will be missed by her Ballet San Jose family and the dance world at large.”

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