Phunk Phenomenon Dance Complex choreographer and instructor Devin Woolridge of Lynn will appear in the Whitney Houston movie, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” which hits theaters nationwide on Friday.
Woolridge, 37, was selected from hundreds of dancers who auditioned for the movie. He will appear in a scene as one of the backup dancers for Bobby Brown, who is being portrayed by actor Ashton Sanders.
Woolridge has been a dance choreographer and instructor at Phunk for several years. The studio in Everett is owned by former New England Patriots cheerleader Reia Briggs-Connor.
Maya Sutton, a 13-year-old dancer from Peabody, will appear as a backup dancer to Whitney Houston, who is being portrayed by actor Naomi Ackie in the move.
At the Phunk studio in Everett this week, the excitement was brewing for the premiere of the movie about Houston, one of the greatest vocalists of all time.
“It’s awesome to have two people from our studio in this movie,” said Briggs-Connor. “Devin is an amazing choreographer and performer, and Maya is a tremendously talented dancer for L’il Phunk. We are so excited that Devin and Maya have this incredible opportunity to be featured in a major motion picture. I can’t wait to see them on screen.”
The son of Billy Reynolds and Robin Woolridge, Devin grew up in Lynn and attended Sisson Elementary School, Pickering Middle School, and Lynn Tech, where he was the captain of the football team.
He began his career in dance as a member of the ITM (In The Mak’n) dance and step team under the direction of James Runner.
“I didn’t know much about dance, but I learned a lot from being on that team,” said Woolridge.
“From there, I joined Phunk Phenomenon as a dance teacher. I’ve been teaching dance for 14 years.”
Today Woolridge is an international award-winning dancer and choreographer who holds a degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising from Fisher College.
Woolridge previously appeared in the movie, “Ghostbusters 2,” and has performed with Phunk on the TV reality show, “America’s Best Dance Crew.” He also performed in Hip Hop International and was featured in a videogame, “Dance Central,” for Xbox 360.
Woolridge is especially excited about his role in the Whitney Houston movie because his mother, (Robin Woolridge), was a huge fan of the best-selling musical artist.
“My mother was the biggest fan of Whitney Houston,” said Woolridge. “She was a singer and used to perform Whitney Houston songs, and I became familiar with her music. It’s really heartwarming to see Naomi Ackie act as Whitney and hear her sing these songs that my mother used to play all the time.”
Woolridge said his scene in the movie was filmed last year at the Wang Theatre in Boston.
“The set was made to look like the Soul Train Music Awards,” related Woolridge. “It took two days of rehearsals for the choreography, which consisted of old-school dance moves.”
Woolridge was humbled by being selected for a role in the movie.
“I was glad I was picked for the movie because there are so many talented dancers in Boston,” said Woolridge, who will be heading to the theater Friday to view the movie.