Janet was born in Yirrkala, a community in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. She grew up in the Garthalala homeland, and as a young girl she travelled with her family across country to establish the community of Dhalinybuy. She is a Yolngu woman of the Wangnurri clan.
In 1984, she started working at National Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development Association (NAISDA) Dance College in Sydney, and started cultural workshops to bring traditional dance practices to urban students. She also helped establish the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Dance Theatre (AIDT), contributing as a choreographer and tutor. In 1989, Bangarra Dance Theatre was formed and Janet contributed as a founding member.
Janet has worked as a cultural advisor for Bangarra and also for the Australian Ballet.
In May 2012, Janet performed with an Aboriginal dance group at Windsor Castle, England, for celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee. She also worked to establish the Bunggul Djama Arts Alliance, a community-driven initiative to foster Yolngu performance arts and mixed-media projects.
In 2013, Janet worked on and performed in the dance production The Morning Star. The production travelled between Arnhem Land and Mirramu Creative Arts Centre near Lake George in Bungendore, NSW.