Born in Cheltenham, Whanita started ballet at the age of three as her parents wanted her to find a pursuit to combat her shyness. Shortly after she started to study more dance genres, taking her first exam age 5. She danced in many competitive dance festivals across Gloucestershire from the early age of six, winning many medals and trophies along the way including 1st place for both ballet and tap at the All England National Dance Competitive Festival. During this time she joined Mrs Jackie Shewell-Thomas in Gloucester and also attended professional training and private tuition with Mr Alexis Rassine, former principal dancer of the Sadler's Wells Ballet Company (now the Royal Ballet Company, Covent Garden) and regular dance partner to such names as Margot Fonteyn and Pamela May during his career.
At aged ten she auditioned successfully for a Junior Ballet Scholarship with the British Ballet Organization (BBO) where she received regular professional training at the BBO headquarters in London. It was during this time she was keen to train full time so she auditioned successfully and gained a place at The Royal Ballet School, White Lodge at age eleven. Whilst there she was privileged to dance with The Royal Ballet Company at Covent Garden for the company's 50th Anniversary Gala.
On returning to Cheltenham she continued training with Mrs Jackie Shewell-Thomas completing Major exams in ballet, modern and tap up to and including Advanced Two in the BBO syllabus; she also completed Major ballet exams in the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus (RAD). At this time Whanita resumed private tuition with Mr Rassine which continued for a total of nine years. This was a very valuable and formative time whilst gaining exam qualifications which later proved essential for teaching.
Whanita danced professionally and toured nationally with Ballet Cymru gaining experience working under choreographers such as Ms Jennifer Jackson of the Right Royal Ballet Company. Whilst dancing with Ballet Cymru she was requested to teach classical and contemporary repertoire to children and teenagers in dance workshops across the country, giving her a fantastic first experience of teaching.
Furthering her training, Whanita auditioned for and was awarded a full scholarship to attend the London Studio Centre to train on the Classical Ballet and Contemporary Dance Graduate course, under the direction of Ms Margaret Barbieri, former principal dancer with The Royal Ballet Company. Training was intense and enjoyable, during this time Whanita gained valuable insight into other career paths available in the dance industry other than ballet; this proved to be valuable knowledge for students she was later to teach. She joined Images of Dance Ballet
Company and toured England working with international choreographers such as Mr Ashley Page, resident choreographer of the Royal Ballet Company, Covent Garden.
Choosing to stay in the UK, Whanita after much deliberation decided to decline an offer to dance with Dance Netherlands 2 Company after they had received a personal recommendation on her behalf from Mr Ashley Page. At this point she made the career changing decision to progress into teaching and auditioned successfully for a Teaching Scholarship with the BBO. A three year training programme began to gain her Associate Teaching Qualifications which qualified her to teach ballet, modern, tap, jazz and other dance styles.
Whanita freelanced as a teacher for a total of seven years teaching regularly in Coventry, Swindon and Cheltenham, with long term dance projects at Stagecoach Theatre Arts, (Cheltenham), Wycliffe College (Stroud) and Dursley Primary School, with contemporary teaching for Gloucestershire Dance Project and Massive Dance Project. At the same time she started her own small dance school at a village hall in Highnam, Gloucestershire, gaining a valuable insight into teaching and running a dance school over this period. Finally Whanita realised that her time on the road would be better spent in a permanent teaching base, which led to her opening the original Danceworks premises in January 1999....
From this early start as the only teacher and fifty students, Danceworks now employs over nine teachers, 10 teaching assistants, with over 700 students spread over three venues in Cheltenham!