Owner of Nikhita Winkler Dance Theatre

We caught up with social entrepreneur and creative, Nikhita Winkler, to find out about her journey as an artist and businesswoman. Her story is a how-to for all budding entrepreneurs.

The Founder and Director of Nikhita Winkler Dance Theatre was raised by a single mother who taught her to shoot for her dreams, and to live life with no regrets. “I come from a Queendom of mixed-race Bantu Women. Strong, independent and beautiful women.” As a result of this upbringing, Nikhita has come to value bravery and freedom. She believes that in order to experience all that life has to offer, it is necessary to take risks. This happily coincides with her love of dance. “I dance to heal and feel the beautiful love and connection of all that is life.” It is no surprise then, that her first business venture is a dance theatre. The theatre currently aims to bridge the gaps in dance teaching in Namibia and transform local communities into body-conscious spaces.

Nikhita started to visualize owning a dance theatre when she was in high school and it became her life’s goal. She went on to study dance and neuroscience in the US on a full scholarship for four years.  After graduating with honours in 2015, she returned home to Namibia to start building her dream. For this entrepreneur, success lies in readiness to take action, not in good fortune: “I don’t consider myself lucky, I consider myself ready to grab opportunities.” It was this mindset that enabled her to get a head start from the outset. She had no capital, so she needed to find another way to finance her plans. At the time, many other dance schools were filling up, and applications were being turned away. Spotting an opportunity, Nikhita contacted rejected applicants and charged for every registration, and the Nikhita Winkler Dance Theatre was born. Charging appropriate fees is a challenge for many creative people and entrepreneurs when they first set out, and Nikhita was no exception. However, by reflecting on the value of her education and the experience she had gained as a Lecturer in Dance and Choreography for the College of the Arts, she was able to confidently put a price on her knowledge and skills.

“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

Following the wisdom of the African proverb, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together’, Nikhita leveraged the support and guidance of the people around her. “I’ve come to understand that at the core of business is relationships. I could have never made it without my network.” In fact, it was by reaching out to her first employer, a gym owner, that Nikitha was able to find the space she needed to set up her dance theatre.

In her various roles as educator, influencer, choreographer and mentor for women and children, Nikhita relishes the challenges she encounters, seeing them as opportunities to grow, both as an individual and as a brand. As well as having a passion for what you do, being willing to take risks, leveraging networks and jumping on opportunities when they arise, entrepreneurs need to be resilient and persevere in the face of setbacks. It took Nikhita two attempts before she was able to successfully open her school. Embracing the principle of trial and error, she learned about business by doing it. “I learn from doing and failing and most importantly, I learn from overcoming one obstacle after another.”

The COVID-19 pandemic initially hit Nikita’s  business hard, with a 50% loss in student numbers and complete loss of performance opportunities, but it is now surviving better than expected. The crisis highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of the business, and forced the team to rethink its purpose and redesign its strategy. 2020 taught Nikhita the power of collaboration and the critical importance of having multiple streams of income for business sustainability. “The pandemic taught us that in every war lies opportunity, and especially as artists, we have the gift of creativity. Ultimately, ‘life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain’. So, we never stopped dancing.”

Like many entrepreneurs (and appropriately for a dancer!) Nikhita does not stand still for long.  She is constantly on the lookout to scale her business to the next level, and to understand how it is of service to society. Although she is currently operating in the education, arts and culture space, she plans to expand into the clinical field in a few years, and become a movement therapist.

The Nikhita Winkler Dance Theatre is currently located in Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo Street, Southern Square , Office 10. We train women and children from the age of 3 years. We offer private classes, team building experiences, performances, workshops and training for dance teachers. Our contact details are: info@nwdt.dance / 0811400996/ @nwdancethetare (social media).