SACRAMENTO — At Sheldon High School one of the dance kids of the past was back in the performing arts center celebrating Universal Rhythm Dance Company’s 20th anniversary showcase.
Singer-songwriter Victoria Monet stepped off international stages, where she’s toured with Ariana Grande, to be with teens on a stage she danced on not long ago. She actually begged her mother to come to Sheldon.
“This is a school of performing arts and I didn’t live in the neighborhood. So I kind of, may have changed my address to go here, but I’m definitely thankful that I did,” Monet said. “I met so many great people. My dance teachers from high school are still close friends of mine, we’re communicating often.”
For teachers and students, seeing how high one of their stars has risen is inspirational.
“Standing in the very same room where she stood. So it gives me chills and it’s very inspiring because I know that someday I could potentially be like her,” said Universal Rhythm dancer Victoria Manandeg.
“It inspires me a lot to know that someone in the same program as me made it in the industry,” said dancer Zion Reynolds. “And that makes me strive to do as well as she did to get the same goal.”
Monet is an independent artist who releases music, like her new song “Freak,” on her own schedule. She books tours and distributes merchandise when and how she wants. It’s not the easiest road through the industry, but she says with the commitment to hard work she started honing at Sheldon, a way in is possible for those on stage there now.
“There’s gonna be a lot of times where people tell you no, people tell you can’t do it based on your physical appearance, based on talent, based a bunch of different factors,” Monet said.
Instead of networking up, she says current Sheldon High students should start building their brands by networking across in their circle of friends and family.
“Instead of thinking, ‘I just need to meet Beyonce right now. She’s the one who can help me,’ you may be standing next to the next Beyonce,” Monet said.