Dancer Tiffany Glenn died Monday at the age of 33 after a six-year battle with cancer. Glenn, who performed with Ballet San Jose, calmly and unflinchingly confronted the illness with a courage and resolve that moved her friends and colleagues.

She was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in June 2006 at the age of 27. After undergoing a mastectomy, radiation therapy and chemotherapy, she returned to Ballet San Jose with a shaved head to dance in the Nutcracker that December.

A Nichiren Buddhist by choice, Glenn performed with Dance Theatre of Harlem and trained at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center before coming to California. She taught hip hop dance at a San Jose dance school when she wasn’t with the ballet.

In 2009, she choreographed a contemporary three-part ballet to a trio of songs from the soul singer John Legend. “I wanted to expose people to the idea that we don’t have to always have ballet to classical music,” Glenn said.

“At the end of my life, I would like to say, ‘I created this style of dance, Glenn Movement.’ If it were to turn into a technique, that would be my ultimate goal,” said Glenn.

“This is part of a major time for me,” she said about the 2009 performance. “To be able to create this on a main stage, it has been a wonderful opportunity.”

The cancer returned this spring. Glenn continued dancing even while undergoing treatments. The ballet announced her retirement at the end of the spring season. She returned to her family home in Washington, D.C. but treatments proved unsuccessful. Glenn was placed in a hospice last week and was surrounded by friends and family in her final days.