Jamal Weaver, a 2006 Brockton High School graduate, was on MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew” and Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance.” Using his brother’s death as motivation, Weaver has gone from a street kid to a TV star and come back again.

Jamal Weaver received the news he feared most in the middle of a high school musical. His 16-year-old brother, who had been sick, had died. His family called Weaver as he waited backstage, between acts, with the news.


Weaver, a 2006 senior at Brockton High, knew what he had to do next — he stepped to the microphone at the school’s auditorium and prepared to speak.


He didn’t mention his brother — instead, he performed his duties as emcee, announcing the final acts of the spring production of “Cabaret” to the 2,000 students and parents.


“It was my job as the entertainer to stay,” said Weaver, whose brother Dante died of brain tumors. “I put (his death) in a box and leave it alone. I use it as motivation.”


Since that night in April 2006, Weaver has been using that motivation to propel himself to the national level of entertainment. A self-taught dancer, he has since excelled in several national dance competitions. In 2008, his crew “Status Quo” reached the finals of MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew.”


And he hasn’t stopped.


Weaver has moved to Los Angeles, where he has been networking, practicing his dancing and perfecting his choreography — always remembering his brother.


“With Dante, I have to succeed,” said Weaver, who said his brother was the first person to tell him he could dance. “Sometimes things get hard and if my brother were here, he’d tell me to stop being a punk. He’s my inspiration.”


Despite having achieved national success at 19, Weaver still maintains his energetic attitude and desire to share his talents.


The Brockton resident turned “Angeleno” now splits his time between L.A. and his hometown.


When he is home, it’s anything but a break. From stopping in at Brockton High to teaching dance classes at local studios to rehearsing with his New England-based crews, Weaver and his never-fading smile are always on the move.


“He loves to take things upon himself,” said Weaver’s mother, Tara. “He’s been like that since he was little. He’s never home.”


Between dance jobs Weaver has worked at Jordan’s Furniture, Planet Fitness and Hollywood Video. And during a recent visit to Brockton, Weaver taught several dance classes to help make ends meet, including two hip-hop classes at the Center Stage Dance Studio in New Bedford.


The students could hardly wait to see him.


“He’s really good with working with the students,” said owner Ericka Osswald, who said her students begged her to bring him back. “They kept asking me, ‘Can he come back? Can he come back?’ He has such a unique style.”


After making it through the eight-week television show and despite having a busy schedule, Weaver made sure to stop at Brockton High School for an honor roll assembly last spring.


“He made it happen,” said Brockton High School Principal Susan Szachowicz, who had asked Weaver to bring his crew by. “(The students) went nuts. It was like the Beatles or Elvis, or whatever would do it now, were here.”


“He sucks everyone in in a positive way,” Szachowicz said. “He’s a leader, but not in the voted-in or political kind, but a kid other kids follow in a good way. Jamal’s set his own path.”


But it wasn’t just people locally who have been captured by Weaver’s magnetic personality. In spring 2007, Weaver caught the attention of Fox TV’s “So You Think You Can Dance” judge Nigel Lythgoe.


As he danced his way from auditions in New York to the show’s filming in Vegas, some critics were skeptical because of Jamal’s 6-foot, 1-inch frame and 280-pound build. But Lythgoe saw success.


“You, sir, are a star,” he said at Weaver’s audition. “Whether you stay that way later, I don’t know, but right now, you’re a star.”


A year later, he still was.


‘Everyone was watching’


The stage seemed to move as Weaver and his fellow “Status Quo” members stared into the blinding lights. It was spring 2008, the finals night on MTV’s popular “America’s Best Dance Crew” competition, which pits dance teams from around the country against each other.


Just the week before, “Status Quo” had been voted the best dance crew by America. But tonight’s outcome would mean a $100,000 cash prize and a touring contract for the winner.


The lights dimmed and the crowd started screaming.


Both crews stood with clenched hands.


Host Mario Lopez announced the season one winner. “JabbaWockeeZ!” said Lopez.


Weaver’s heart sank as the crew from California celebrated.


“The best crew won,” said Weaver later. “Even though it is about what goes on on stage, it’s about the crew. You have to be the best crew in every single aspect. That’s what makes the crew.”


Weaver and “Status Quo” had to settle for second.


“The show was fun,” said Weaver. “We were ready to go home every single week. I don’t know how we got into the bottom two.”


Dancing a style that encompasses everything from break-dancing to ballet, Weaver and “Status Quo” caught the eyes of the show’s judges.


“You guys are super playful, super theatrical. You guys are fun. I really like you,” said JC Chasez, of ‘N Sync, during the first episode of “America’s Best Dance Crew.”


For the finale, 38 million votes were cast. Weaver had help from far and near.


“During morning announcements we would remind students to vote,” said Szachowicz. “Not that we needed to. Everyone was watching the show.”


‘Always a performer’


Although the show put him in the national spotlight, it was in Brockton that Weaver began pioneering his dance career. In 2002, Tara Weaver moved her family from Massachusetts Avenue in Boston to East Street in Brockton.


“We moved out here, and I hated it,” said Weaver, who recalls being part of the street scene in Boston and getting in a lot of trouble when he was younger. “But there was just something about Brockton. It just slowly grew on me.”


Shortly after arriving, Weaver started the high school’s first dance crew. As a freshman, he quickly became recognizable from his school performances.


“Jamal was always a performer here,” said Szachowicz, who said it’s rare for her to know a freshman by name and face because of the size of the school. “He’s an example of a hardworking Brockton boy.”


His industrious ways have brought him back to Boston on occasion. Recently, to raise money for another shot at “America’s Best Dance Crew” — this time for the show’s fourth season — Weaver and his newest crew took to the streets of Boston for impromptu performances. Donations helped deflect the cost of traveling to New York for the auditions.


“We didn’t make much,” said Weaver about the two trips to the city. “Sometimes it drives me crazy. I’m like, ‘How is a person this broke and doing all this stuff?’”


In high school, Weaver joined every club and team he could, from science to chess to swimming. But he excelled at the arts.


As a senior, Weaver became a member of the All-State Chorus, in which members of high school choruses are selected to compete at the state level. He was also accepted to the Berklee College of Music, although he didn’t attend.


He danced and sang in several high school musicals. In 2005, he incorporated all of his talents of singing, acting and dancing to play the lead role of Conrad in the musical “Bye Bye Birdie.”


But his most noted performance was singing the Drifters’ “Under the Boardwalk” during a spring concert.


“Usually I don’t give individual call-outs,” said Szachowicz, who addresses the audience after most shows. “So I told them how good of a performance it was, but that I needed to say one thing special: ‘Jamal, the Drifters would be proud.’”


‘It’s like destiny’


Weaver’s newest project has been starting a dance crew, R2D2, in hopes to compete again on “America’s Best Dance Crew.”


Whether he is known as a member of a crew or for his singing or acting, one thing Weaver wants is a following.


“I want a good fan base. That’ll be my dream,” said Weaver. “That’ll be when I can settle.”


As it is now, Weaver gets recognized by people who remember him from the first season.


“We were sitting and eating and a parent came over to the table and said, ‘Do you mind taking pictures?’ We could hear them whispering, ‘That’s him. That’s Jamal from “America’s Best Dance Crew”’” said Tara Weaver. “It was good to see that. My heart just smiled.”


Weaver, who is known for some of the choreography he did for “Status Quo,” now prepares all the routines for R2D2.


And while a lot of the dances he comes up with are extravagant, the way he puts them together is simple.


“I start and stop dance videos,” said Weaver about how he choreographs and picks up new dance moves. “I learned from watching TV.”


And although he still watches videos for new moves to incorporate into his next number, his knack for dance and choreography has gotten to where he can’t listen to a song without envisioning a dance to go with it.


“It’s to the point where I’ve been overloaded with dance that I can just hear something and see it,” said Weaver. “When I choreograph, it’s like destiny. Whatever happens, happens.”


Brittney Murray can be reached at bmurray@enterprisenews.com.