Born and raised in KwaZulu Natal, Durban, Kirsty Ndawo began dance training at an early age in classical ballet. Further on in her training she turned to contemporary African dance at the Phenduka Dance School and Flatfoot Dance Company as a way of expanding her dance vocabulary. There she also developed a vivid interest in other dance forms. In 2010, Kirsty Ndawo moved to Cape Town to continue her studies in contemporary dance and classical ballet at the UCT School of Dance.
Whilst studying in Cape Town, Kirsty Ndawo appeared in performances of Qaphela Caesar by Jay Pather. The 2012 Grahamstown Town Arts Festival brought her together with choreographer / performer Mamela Nyamza in her piece OkuyaPhantsi Kwempumlo (also known as The Meal) which received a Standard Bank Ovation Award. In the same year, Kirsty Ndawo received her Certifi cate in Performing Arts from the UCT.