Neighbourhood Dance Works is honoured to administer the Roberta Thomas Legacy Award. The Award was established by Roberta (Robbie) Thomas' family in 2012 as a way to continue her infectious human spirit by supporting development and presentation in the field of dance and dance collaboration. 

The Roberta Thomas Legacy Award (RTLA) is awarded annually to a dance practitioner or an artist in any discipline collaborating with a dance practitioner. Projects are funded up to $1000.00 and can be for ideation, professional development, aspects of creation or final production. The award is intended for projects that will commence after October of any given year.

To apply to the Roberta Thomas Legacy Award please visit our applications page here

2015 - Sarah Joy StokerPink Noise

Stoker is a contemporary dance artist who has been performing nationally and internationally for the past 20 years or so. She worked as an independent artist in Toronto and Montreal until 2001, when she came home to St. John’s, and she is also a fully certified pilates instructor. She is the founder of Gutsink Productions Inc. and co-owner of Pony Locale pilates, kinesiology and massage therapy studio with her husband, Michael Luke.

2014 - Candice Pike, coeurPulse

Candice Pike is a dance practitioner-researcher-teacher whose work is rooted in building/exploring geographic and identity-based communities. In recent years she has used her multi-disciplinary approach to choreograph and dance in several full-length works including the independently produced We Weren’t Born Tomorrow, The Dress (with Gros Morne Summer Music) and Aberdeen and the Old Boot (with CDR Collective). In the past three years, Candice has developed a series of site-specific solos and duets based on the work of local visual artists, as well as site-specific, improvised, durational pieces presented at the Gas Station Theatre in Winnipeg, Lumière Cape Breton, and the Festival of New Dance, St. John’s. 

2013 - Colleen Quigly, Dancing Documents

Colleen Quigley is the Manuscripts Librarian for the Performing Arts Collection at the Archives and Special Collections at MUN’s Queen Elizabeth II Library. Colleen holds a Masters of Information from the University of Toronto; a BFA in Dance from York University and an English major from Memorial. She has worked as a performer, dance instructor and choreographer in St. John’s, Toronto, and Maine (USA), as well as in Amsterdam and Nijmegen, the Netherlands.  Prior to her return to Newfoundland in 2010 Colleen was the first institutional archivist at Canada’s National Ballet School.  Colleen has participated in Canadian think tanks, panels, and exhibitions on the preservation and promotion of dance and other aspects of the performing arts. Colleen was awarded the Roberta Thomas Legacy Award, 2013 by Neighbourhood Dance Works for the development of this dance presentation Dancing Documents.

2012 - Dave Gardiner

Dave Gardiner received the Roberta Thomas Legacy award in 2012. He took part in a short residency for the month of January in Gros Morne National Park at the old Bonne Bay Cottage Hospital in Norris Point. While there he offered dance, yoga and meditation classes to kids and adults and worked on his first contemporary solo piece. 


Harriett Roberta Thomas was an English émigré to Newfoundland who became a beloved and essential figure to the cultural life of her adopted country. A true believer in the creative arts, she was a friend and second mother to the swarms of young people drawn to her and her sons' musical home in St. John's. As an administrator she worked tirelessly to shore up many arts organizations, giving guidance to eager spirits that matched her own. She had a compelling desire to further all forms of art and loved collaboration. A champion of youth, she was an inspirational mentor to many emerging artists while fostering an environment of independent thinking and community activism. She was someone who got things done, embracing life and all it offered. She had a special passion for dance and was Executive Director of Neighbourhood Dance Works until 2009. She was emerging herself as a talented painter and her passing in December of 2011 left unfinished what was already a rich body of visual art work. A mother, a grandmother, a cook, a traveller, a painter, an archivist, an activist for human rights, an indispensable friend: in all those roles she had a profound effect on those whose lives she touched.