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Fallbrook High grad lives out dancing dream - Adrian Brambila becomes a T-Pain backup dancer after winning national contest

For many Fallbrook grads, high school is a pivotal point in life that launches young people into the career path that they have been planning and dreaming about. However, it never occurred to one Fallbrook alum that the dream of a lifetime would mean traveling across the globe as a professional dancer for T-Pain. T-Pain, or Faheem Rasheed Najm, is an American singer-songwriter, rapper, record producer, and actor with numerous hit singles.

Adrian Brambila, 21, grew up in Fallbrook and graduated from Fallbrook Union High School in 2007. A soccer player, Brambila believed that his favorite sport would open doors for him. Upon graduating, Brambila moved to the Midwest to pursue his passion of playing soccer and began studying marketing and business at the University of Dubuque in Iowa.

During his freshman year, Brambila discovered a brand new passion.

“I went to my first break dancing battle during my second semester freshman year,” said Brambila, who had never danced in high school for fear of being teased. “I watched the cool flips and crazy moves; I had never been so inspired.”

Brambila began practicing dancing at home, and found that he picked it up quickly.

“I dance a certain style called ‘popping,’” explained Brambila. “It’s really interpretive, and I was able to create my own style. I don’t just have one move; I have lots of moves and my own style. At first, I was a living room dancer, learning off of YouTube videos.”

After a year of rehearsing in front of friends, Brambila soon found himself working in the dancing industry. “This hobby turned into a passion. A year later, I had the opportunity to teach kids in the third grade, then middle school kids, high schoolers, and adults.”

Brambila began to compete at national international break dance battles, and came across several opportunities to showcase his talent. Yet, when he came across an opportunity to audition for the chance to become a professional dancer for T-Pain, he was skeptical.

“I had competed in other competitions for different prizes, like a boom box or three hundred dollars, but nothing had ever come from that. So when I entered the contest, I wasn’t that optimistic,” he explained. “Still, I sent in my online submission.”

Brambila’s application was taken with the hundreds of other applications for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Brambila was astonished when he was informed that he was a finalist.

“I still thought it was a joke until T-Pain’s manager called me,” said Brambila. “That’s when it hit me that it was real and actually happening.”

Brambila was flown to Miami during his spring break along with 14 other finalists for a live audition.

“Originally, they were going to select one guy, two girls and three reserves, but they selected 10 of us because we were all ‘amazing,’ and they told us they weren’t going to hold off on talent.”

Brambila was soon caught up in the music industry, and found himself rehearsing in Atlanta for artists like Akon and Shaka Khan before beginning his performances.

“Our first show was three weeks ago in San Francisco,” said Brambila. “I thought I was going to be nervous performing in front of tens of thousands of people, but I had a good time. It was a crazy experience.”

The tour will also take Brambila to Chicago and overseas to Australia this summer.

“I have been blessed with this crazy miracle,” laughed Brambila, who is still able to finish school. “Right now, the tour is almost like a weekend job for me, and I’m able to go to school.”

While this opportunity is important for Brambila, he stated that finishing his degree is a high priority.

“This opportunity has already led me to more opportunities,” he said. “This dancing job wouldn’t be the last thing I do if I decided to stop and finish school. Before this opportunity, I wanted to work for an advertising agency. As a professional dancer, my career has a lifespan of about 10 years before your bones get old. I would love to take my major into the industry and work for a music artist or talent agency.”

On June 4, Brambila was able to perform at the high school, which he found to be more nerve-wracking than performing for thousands of fans.

“It’s funny; I was more nervous in town than I was at the San Francisco show,” he exclaimed. “I think it’s because they were my peers. A lot of my high school friends didn’t even know I dance.”

Upon returning to his alma mater, Brambila feels slight regret that he never tried dancing in high school.

“I regret not having danced in high school; I would have been so much better, but I was embarrassed. There was a hip hop club in high school, and I had always thought it would have been cool to be a part of it, but I was in sports, and with the friends I had, it would have been out of the norm,” he stated. “Now I think it’s important to always be out of the box.”

As a professional dancer, Brambila hopes to inspire others to do what they have always wanted to do, regardless to what others think.

“Go do what your heart tells you, and make your dreams would come,” said Brambila, who feels that his dreams were made possible with the support of his family and friends. “If they weren’t as supportive, this would have been really difficult.”

Although Brambila’s start continues to climb, it is apparent that he still has a heart for sharing his talent and gift with his hometown.

“I would love to be able to offer anyone in Fallbrook an opportunity to learn how to street dance as a way to give back to Fallbrook,” he said.

For more information on Adrian Brambila, go to his YouTube page at, or email him at [email protected].

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