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Tribute to Harry Woolever

As Chair of our Dance Department in New York since 1964, Harry has been a pillar of AMDA. Harry was an integral part of creating the AMDA philosophy that we embrace today – where true inspiration, discipline, and professionalism are the very heart of what we do.

Harry Woolever
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R.I.P. My dear friend, Harry Woolever. Thank you for all your kindness and for inviting me to your Christmas parties when I felt lonely in NY. Thank you for always believing in me as an artist. I will miss you so much! You passed away on my birthday, so I will never forget you! I’m sure you and Bibi are in heaven rehearsing “My Fair Lady” and singing “I Could Have Danced All Night.” Rest In Peace!”

Gustavo Pace

Alumni

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Thinking of my AMDA family. We share so many memories. RIP Harry Woolever. You will be deeply missed and your legacy will live on and on.

Mark Santoro

Faculty

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Well, tonight I learned that one of my favorite dance instructors, HARRY WOOLEVER, (Original Production of MY FAIR LADY) has passed away! Wow...you never what’ll hit you until it does!”

Kenneth Matthew Green

Friend

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So sad to hear of the passing of the amazing Harry Woolever. What an honor it was to work with him as a student at AMDA and then work for him on the dance faculty of the school. He was a vibrant man and full of amazing stories and history. It was always a blast to speak with him. Harry, you would be extremely proud of the work Michele is doing at the school and we hope to continue on your legacy for years to come. The AMDA family is mourning a great loss today.

Michael Mcilwee

Faculty

Harry Woolever made a great impact on me as an educator and theatre artist. To this day I still reference his teaching in my own classes and highly look up to his stamina, idolize his empathy towards his students, and only hope to live half the legacy that he has left behind.

Shannon Moore

Alumni

Saddened to learn of the passing of the legendary Harry Woolever, and sending love to the entire AMDA family & community. Like so many, there’s not a single time when I dance where I don’t hear his voice in my head saying “Knees up, you follow?” There’s not a floor barre, or a box step, you see. How truly fortunate we all were to have been able to learn from him.

Aileen Lanni

Alumni

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What an absolute pillar. Such an immense loss to our community. Grateful to have had this wonderful man impart some off his wisdom into my life. You will be missed, Harry.

Hayden Joseph Withers

Alumni

RIP HARRY!!!! Your legacy will live on forever in so many performers!

John Dempsey

Alumni

You will be missed Harry Woolever...posting this with a heavy heart. This man had so much passion and knowledge about dance. He inspired me to do better even when I was having a hard time understanding what he was saying or when I would understand only half of his stories. But I did know what he wanted to see ! I won’t forget the time I went back to AMDA NY 3 or 4 years after graduating and he remembered my name and asked me about my contract in Vegas. He met hundreds of dancers per year, but he still made such an impact on an individual level.

Michalis Rise Schinas

Alumni

RIP Harry Woolever. You’ll always be in my heart and I’ll forever follow your legacy.

Oren Korenblum

Alumni

AMDA changed my life, and you cannot attend AMDA without having passed under the leadership of the Head of the Dance Department, Harry Woolever. Thank you for implementing a Dance Program that taught me how to paddle turn, be patient, tap quieter, persevere, stand at dance demos for hours (training for standing in lines at auditions), appreciate musical theater dance, work hard, and to follow. ❤ You will be missed very much by your FAMDA.

Maria Choate

Alumni

He was truly amazing.

Christopher Jewell Valentin

Alumni

Harry Woolever was a truly remarkable man who inspired countless lives. I will miss you my mentor and dear friend. Dance with the angels!

Billy Johnstone

Faculty

Words cannot express the loss today. A legend of the biz and one of its greatest mentors left us today. I never knew someone of whom I could constantly learn from every single day, first as a student and then working under him as a teacher. His passion for the art of dance and performance was matched by only a handful. RIP my friend and mentor, Harry Woolever. You will live on forever as one generation teaches the next. Thank you for inspiring, teaching, and sharing your energy with us all. Dance with the angels.

Nicolas Thompson

Faculty

Oh my goodness...Harry. I keep you with me always. Every arm movement, every time I bring my shoulders down, every time I hear "One...Singular Sensation," every time I watch a lift, every time I want to yawn. You are in so much that I have done, and I am honored to have been one of your millions of students. Truly a class act. R.I.Love, Harry Woolever.

Shauna Leigh Alexander

Friend

Rest In Peace, Harry! You're a soul I will never forget and will always be grateful for what you taught me!

Molly Rozetar

Alumni

Harry took the art of dance seriously, and unfortunately, I was a horrible dancer. My attempts in class were funny to me, but not Harry. By the end of the first semester, I took my efforts seriously too, and he found humor with me in class on occasion, despite his best efforts to maintain a disciplined class. I respected him, and he had respect for all people around him, no matter their skill level. He was a great man and teacher and dancer. He will be very missed.

Jill Courtney

Alumni

This non-dancer was blessed to have had Harry as my first teacher. His passion, discipline and high expectations for all under his tutelage may not have made me a dancer, but in the process of making me a “mover,” he gave me a life-long appreciation for his beloved art form and those who did/do it well. Bravo and thank you, Sir. And yes, you always kept us awake.

Gary Newton

Alumni

Talking to him was like talking to your grandpa - he was so sweet and so gentle. Every time he came into a room it lit up with so much warmth.

Allison Mcdonough

Student

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I’ve never felt more motivated to consistently keep my body healthy tilL I looked across the dance StudIo (now named after him) and seeing Harry doing tricep dips and push ups better than I can in my 20s. Thank you for putting your everything into teaching us.

Esteban Dager

Alumni

What Harry gave us is the right skills and tools to be able to just simple walk, stand with confidence, control of the body and how to be a unit. Thing I used and carried with me 19 years after graduating. Thank you for creating great men and women performers. Oh, when I graduated I told you I will never do polka again. Well I now teach it and have danced polka every contract I have done. I bow to you sir!

Jazmun Guilford

Alumni

Mr. Woolever was so kind to us in the studio program, who might have had little to zero dance background. He was encouraging, clear and so precise. It’s rare to meet someone who possesses such a love for their art and can pass that on in such a honest and joyous way. AMDA should open up a cardiology department to study how big a heart lived inside Harry Woolever.

Simon Dasher

Alumni

"Camera one, camera two..." He was always a positive instructor, one who had fun with the class and treated us all as equals. His standing series, to this day, remains one of my favorite ways to warm up. He is missed!

Valerie Pfeil

Alumni

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AMDA lost a legendary artist and kind soul today...Harry Woolever will be deeply missed. <3

Carly Logan Lucas

Staff

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Words cannot express the loss today. A legend of the biz and one of its greatest mentors left us today. I never knew someone of whom I could constantly learn from every single day, first as a student and then working under him as a teacher. His passion for the art of dance and performance was matched by only a handful. RIP my friend and mentor, Harry Woolever. You will live on forever as one generation teaches the next. Thank you for inspiring, teaching, and sharing your energy with us all. Dance with the angels.

Nicolas Thompson

Faculty

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RIP my dear friend Harry Woolever. You made such an impact on me when I first moved to New York, I totally believe you were the reason I booked Radio City when I did, and you were always up for a catch-up when I moved away and came back to visit. I will always hold a very big place in my heart for you.

Julie Tomaino

Faculty

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I don’t remember it word for word...but the only conversation I really remember went something like this: Harry: You’re not holding your head in the light. Take it in. You’re on stage. ::adjusts my body:: This will help you find your light. Me: I thought I was in the light. Harry: You’re standing in the light but you are not in the light. Take in the light, hold your head high and stand straight. ::winks:: then you’ll look like a star...even if you don’t believe it yet. Harry Woolever to 18 year old me. Rest in beautiful peace my teacher.

Vasthy Mompoint

Alumni

So many stories. You see, you follow? Michael Jackson (Michael Jordan?) E.T., Hand me down that can of beans, the walking series... He taught us the true basics. So important. You have to take the 101 course before you take the 201 course. Harry, you will forever be in our hearts through all the stories you told us and our loving stories we will tell about you.

Richard Ogawa

Alumni

Harry Woolever. He shepherded countless young performers through and beyond AMDA. May he Rest in Peace.

Lindsay Chambers

Faculty

I just learned about Harry Woolever passing. He was extremely influential in my training as a dancer when I arrived to NYC. I remember he flew to Hilton Head Island in 2004 to see our production of CATS at the Arts Center. I am extremely grateful to have cross paths with you Harry! And having a place at your table during your Christmas parties always made me feel at home. We will continue to carry your legacy. Fly with the angels my friend. You will be truly missed!

Ruben Flores

Alumni

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The man was legendary...he shaped the lives of so many dancers. His legacy will live on with every student of dance at AMDA, & beyond. Dance to the heavens, Harry Woolever...thank you for all you did!

Lizz Furtado

Staff

You follow? RIP Harry Woolever. Now you’re dancing in the clouds.

Joe Collins

Alumni

This news broke my heart earlier. Sending big love to my AMDA Dance Department family in NYC. He’s a legend and we were lucky to have him. Dedicating my shows tonight to him. Thank you, Harry. I’ll never look at the floor and I’ll always be on my mark.

Kendall Walker

Alumni

I had very little personal interaction with Harry during my time at AMDA. I mostly saw him at my finals. During one of my ballet finals in Ramone's class, while we were all stepping forward to do our individual pirouettes and doubles, I unintentionally stepped forward very very slowly and slowly stepped into fifth position in prep to do my double and he then took a moment to comment that I was very smart to take my time and make stepping into fifth position a great acting moment. He then encouraged everyone to take their time in the future and take every opportunity to make great acting moments. I always remembered that at future auditions.

Rosie Barker

Student

AMDA lost one of the great ones. RIP Harry. ❤️ We will always follow.

Lisamarie Vendittelli

Staff

Harry would’ve been a social media star, because he always said “Ya follow?” Being a Studio Program grad, our dance classes were limited. Certainly not the amount that Integrated has to attend and master. But every semester, when Dance & Movement finals came, you knew Harry would be there watching and guiding. It felt like such a privilege to have his eyes and ears on your movement. Your posture. Your smile. Walking. Turning. Step-touch! He’d explain everything so clearly and genuinely no matter what your program or your background. He made you feel like you belonged. I’m grateful for the time and opportunity I was given. Take a bow, Harry. Thank you for the memories and making an Oregon boy with little to no dance background feel like he belonged.

Benjamin Farmer

Alumni

Sad to hear of the passing of Harry Woolever. He taught me (and so so many others at AMDA and beyond) how to move with purpose and alignment in all aspects of musical theatre and in life! I shall do a walking series, can-of-beans and screwy music in his honor today. Y’a follow? Love and light to his friends and family grieving his loss.

Patrick Maubert

Alumni

You see? You follow? Legendary words from a legendary man. I grew a half inch at age 33 from doing his famous Standing Series. Harry Woolever, you left an indelible print on my heart, and countless others. Godspeed, kind sir.

Stefani Miller

Staff

Harry’s passion for dance was unparalleled, and his legacy lives on. I have no doubt he is teaching the angels how to jazz square, cartwheel, and stand a little taller. Rest In Peace, Harry.

Ariel Seidman-Wright

Faculty

"If you fall, fall in a glorious heap." - Harry Woolever

Carl Del Buono

Alumni

RIP to this amazing man who inspired so many of us, including myself, in the theatre dance world. He taught me the art of being still, being in the moment, and finding your “light”. He will be greatly missed, but never forgotten. There is only one Harry Woolever.

Patty Pedersen

Alumni

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RIP Mr. Harry Woolever

Lamont Brown

Alumni

Aside from all his other incredible achievements, Harry was an amazing dance instructor! He will be missed.

Lori Boyle

Alumni

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Thinking of my AMDA family today, of six hour dance finals, paddle turns, and endless waltzing. Ya follow?

Haydn Haring

Alumni

12 years ago I was at conservatory in a dance demo... and I was sandwiched between a guy who was 6’4” and someone who was about 6’.... The head of the dance department asked me... “how tall are you?” I proudly answered, “5’4”” He smiled and said, “no, you’re 6’6”” I tried to rebut, but he calmly told me that no matter how tall I was I needed to hold myself like I was the tallest man in the room.... The next dance demo he came up to me and asked me how tall I was.. I cool responded with, “6’6”...” he smiled and moved past... Now Harry Woolever may not have known who I was past being a former student... however I will NEVER forget him. That moment is one I talk about ALL THE TIME to people!!! Harry will be missed by many, including myself.... So always remember... always be the tallest person! Even if you’re only 5’4”!!!

Christopher Prozeller

Alumni

Harry sat us down in a circle at the end of our fourth semester and had each of us demonstrate a special skill. When we were done he told us, "What you did tonight is one of the many things that make you unique and special. Use it and stand out." I have never forgotten that moment and think of it often at auditions. RIP Harry. Now you're dancing in heaven.

Forresta Isabella

Alumni

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In addition to your incredible ability as a dance instructor, you taught me how to walk across stage, (which is something I was sure I knew). I was wrong. As classy, generous and gracious a person as I've ever met. Rest in peace, Harry. And thank you for teaching me how important it is to present one's self with the utmost pride and integrity, no matter the situation.

Sean Morgan

Alumni

He had a huge impact on my life as a performer. First day in his class, I remember he chastised, in a loving way, a couple of people who were dressed for a dance class, ratty sweat, hair pulled back, sneakers... he told them to treat his class like an audition. “You don’t have to be dolled up,” he said, "but look like you cared to be there. Comb your hair, if it’s pulled back, make sure it’s neat. Shave!” These are words I take to heart today. Look like I care to be at an audition. First impressions are everything he said. Every time I hear ‘Try to Remember’ from The Fantastiks, it brings me back to your class all those years ago. Thanks for the heartfelt lessons and for giving your all to your students. RIP.

Joe Camareno

Alumni

Harry was delightful man and wonderful dance teacher. I'm sad to hear of his passing. Rest in peace my beautiful friend.

Carla Hill

Alumni

I am not a dancer - nor would I consider myself much of a mover. Was in level one classes throughout my time at AMDA. I NEVER thought I would dance in shows. But EVERY show I did, I danced. He told us to always have our light on...and to tell the story. Even if our feet weren't doing the steps correctly, if our light was on, no one would notice! One show, we actually had to do the Circle of Death, as we affectionately called it - there was a hole in the middle of the stage, so we really had to hit our marks! Y'all, not only did my partner and I hit our marks, we hit them better than the other trained dancers! Opening night, audience members came up to me telling me what a glorious dancer I was. Who knew? I had my light on, for sure! True legend. Kind. Giving. Hard-working. Heaven definitely shines a little brighter now.

Stefani Miller

Alumni

Do ya see, do ya follow!?! RIP sir, you were a great teacher and will be missed!

Josh Michael

Alumni

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Broadway needs to dim lights! Love to you, Harry Woolever!

Casey Colgan

Faculty

I owe so much to this conservatory (AMDA) and the wonderful teachers and mentors pouring their passion and souls into this place. Thank you Harry for all that you are and all that you have given to this school. Your legacy will live on. Rest In Peace

Derrick Chapman

Alumni

What a blessing it was to have met and worked with the late, great Harry Woolever. My favorite memory of Harry was during a ballet dance demo. He asked the class to do whatever exercise we were doing again, but this time imagining that we had on clown shoes. Ballet. In clown shoes. Not only did this immediately ease our nerves but it taught us to be prepared for whatever a choreographer might ask of us and, most importantly, to take the work seriously but not ourselves. You follow?

Emily Abma

Alumni

Harry, I will never forget the lessons you taught us. Too many to mention. One of my favorite memories is of you showing us how Michael Jackson perfected his moves. It was amazing! You’ll be so very missed.

Lou Ann Smith

Alumni

To this day I think of Harry whenever I stand on stage. I check my posture, press my shoulders down, extend my neck and I remember him staring at me with a grin on his face, saying, “Here’s the camera.”

Mauricio Martinez

Alumni

Thank you Harry Woolever for everything you’ve done in the world and especially at AMDA. Choreograph something grand for us in your happy place with all the Greats. We will all Tropa, Waltz, and Paddle Turn in remembrance of you. R.I.P.

Timothy Ng

Alumni

Rest in Peace my friend. The impact you've made on us all will forever be remembered. What I remember most about you was the passion you had for dancing. Always wanting the best out of everyone was your mission. You made the dance demo an enjoyable, as well as an enlightening experience. Thank you for all that you've done!

Alexander Mcewen

Alumni

I was so lucky to have studied with Harry during my time at AMDA. My fondest memory, returning to AMDA NY 20 years later, to celebrate my mom’s 70th birthday. We were being given a tour of 61st street and all I kept asking was, "Is Harry here today?" Suddenly in walks Harry! I reintroduced him to my parents, and then Harry turned to me smiled that Harry smile and asked, “How are your plié’s dear?” without hesitation, I replied “They are just fine!” then he asked, “And the time step?” to which I immediately broke into a time step in the middle of the AMDA lobby as if it was as normal as breathing! I got my hug, smiled and cried telling him how happy I was to have seen him and then he was off. That moment remains in my heart forever. I know that it is never easy to say goodbye. I can only hope that he is somewhere up there dancing his heart out. Rest well Harry, you’ve earned your wings. With love and light, Karly

Karly Rothenberg

Faculty

Wait, there’s more! I ran out of space, and I had more I wanted to say! One of the most treasured gifts of being taught by Harry Woolever was not only learning to be patient, but persistent! It felt like it took forever to learn the floor warm up, the standing series, and partnering, but it all paid off. After graduating I booked several jobs not as a singer who moved well, but as a dancer in the chorus of three different summer stock companies, as well as the international tour of Hair in Paris, France!. I knew that it was because of the confidence that Harry had instilled in me, and I was so very proud of those accomplishments. Thank you Harry, for helping me stand taller and prouder.

Karly Rothenberg

Faculty

Harry demanded excellence in a way that made every one of his students believe they could achieve it. He was kind, supportive, and gentle. He respected each of us. Truly a monument of compassion and talent. Rest in Peace. You follow?

Patti Azzara

Alumni

Like so many others , I am deeply saddened at Harry's passing and yet my heart is greatful and joyous to have had him in my life for so many years. Harry was my one-of- a kind teacher from the Carnegie Hall studio days...then a mentor in so many more aspects of life and most importantly a long time treasured friend. My memories of between class lunches, Christmas gatherings, happy times in Brooklyn and PA at the "crick" or at Jost will never be forgotten. His smile could light a room ... the way he lived his life and and his quiet gentility were gifts he generously gave. I will miss you, dear heart, but I will always smile when I think of you. Soar on a moonbeam. We love you!

Marcia Savella

Friend

So sad to hear of the passing of this wonderful man. I have the fondest memories of Harry, beginning with the first day at AMDA in 1966. Although I'd never classified myself as a dancer, his spirit and care have influenced me throughout my career. It's hard not to believe that Harry is still dancing in another place. Love you, Harry. Kurt Peterson, AMDA 1968 and producer of Sondheim: A Musical Tribute (a benefit for AMDA)

Kurt Peterson

Alumni

To Harry Woolever, to his life, his talent, to everything he’s taught me and every other person who had the chance to meet him. May his teachings and stories live on and keep inspiring young and old performers the way they have done up to now. As for me, I’ll hold my head high, trusting that the floor will always be there!

Luca Baleani

Alumni

Extremely saddened to hear of this extraordinary loss to the arts community. I still use many of the techniques he taught me for proper alignment to my drama students today. He was always approachable, willing to assist, and fiercely passionate about dance. They just don't make them like that anymore!

Angela West

Alumni

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Harry brought us joy, discipline, encouragement, and kindness. He generously shared his love of dance and made us better artists and better people. Thank you, Harry! For all of us, you will always be "One Singular Sensation". Love, AMDA D Class, Graduation Sept. 1991

Merete Muenter

Student