Tiffany Glenn, Soloist, Ballet San Jose, 1979-2012

23 Jun

Tiffany Glenn died Monday, June 18 in her native  Washington, D.C., age 33.  She had battled cancer since 2006 with what publicist Lee Kopp was remarkable honesty and courage.  With Ballet San Jose since 2001, the company announced Glenn’s retirement in one of its spring programs minus   specifics.

Glenn studied initially at the noted Jones-Hayward School of Ballet in Washington, D.C.; in her early teens she attended Rosella Hightower’s Centre de Danse in Cannes, France before studying at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center in New York City. She had danced with Dance Theatre of Harlem prior to joining Ballet San Jose, invited by its founding artistic director Dennis Nahat.

Kopp reported Glenn was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer in 2006, undergoing mastectomy, radiation therapy and chemotherapy, before returning to the company for the spring season, 2007.  She then appeared in Dennis Nahat’s Blue Suede Shoes in a role with much slink and sass.  Early in her affiliation with the company, Glenn danced in Donald MacKayle’s revival of District Storyville, a particular pleasure, along with many  other ballets in the company’s repertoire. Glenn mounted her own choreography in a special program devoted to Ballet San Jose dancers works.  In the summers she choreographed for children at Usdan Center for the Creative Arts in New York.

Kopp described her as “a force of nature,” never hiding her own struggles with the invasive disease.  When the disease returned, she continued  to dance while undergoing chemotherapy.  Her final appearance with the company was in its revival of  David Lichine’s  Graduation Ball.

Tiffany Glenn was the type of dancer one remembers because of her qualities. Aside from her slender height and native elegance, I cannot say I remember her dancing so much as her presence on stage.  There was never a doubt that she knew what she was doing and precisely where she should be at any given phrase of the music.  I particularly remember Glenn’s eyes.  Now I know why.

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