Former Northborough resident merges theater, wrestling and dance in performance

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Former Northborough resident merges theater, wrestling and dance in performance
Algonquin graduate Dani Robbins created “PLAYFIGHT: unprofessional wrestling theater,” which they performed alongside Sophia Eliana. (Photo/NICOLE MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY)

NORTHBOROUGH – Dani Robbins is a former Northborough resident who now travels throughout New England to showcase their unique form of performing arts. Robbins has mastered the ability to combine the world of theater, wrestling and dance into an unparalleled performance.

Their newest idea is titled “PLAYFIGHT: unprofessional wrestling theater,” which Robbins created, developed, performs and directs alongside partner Sophia Eliana. This showcase involves no music and its sound only consists of monologues from Eliana and Robins, as well as wrestling narratives. Robbins describes it as “a lot of talking and safely beating each other up.”

A lifelong love of dance

Robbins has been dancing since diapers, finding their love of the art at two-years-old.
This passion only grew from there, and they continued to engulf their life in dance by attending classes all throughout high school. Robbins was a student at Dawn’s School of Dance in Northborough and Urbanity Dance Company in Boston. After graduating from Algonquin Regional High School, they then went to Bennington College for dance and graduated in 2018.

Being involved in dance has had a long-lasting impact on Robbins.

“It has taught me to be a starter in life,” they said. “Staying in dance after graduation is really difficult but I now know how to start things and reach out to the right people. It’s given me the ability to get people interested and spark collaboration, I’m just always chewing on the next thing and pursuing new ideas.”

Robbins said they were pursuing the arts professionally because of the teachers at Algonquin that got them interested in art.

“I just want to sing the praises of the arts teachers that I had in Northborough who encouraged me to pursue my creativity. I’m the person I am today because of them,” Robbins said.

Their first showcasing of “PLAYFIGHT” was held in 2022 at Portfringe Festival in Portland, Maine.

The performance won them an award by the Fringe Festival, and the prize gave them the opportunity to travel to Reykjavík to perform “PLAYFIGHT” at the Reykjavík Fringe Festival.

Combining the art of wrestling and dance really brings together two communities that may have never meshed until Robbins unexpectedly introduced them to one another.

During the Reykjavík Fringe Festival, Robbins was approached by an audience member after the show who was a huge wrestling fan.

“I knew this before the show, and I was really nervous about what he’d think of our performance. But after the show he came to me and said that watching my piece actually taught him so much about dance. It was so cool hearing that the two mediums had met each other because of my piece,” said Robbins.

Robbins continued to evolve the piece even more throughout the next year, and has no plans on putting their passion for the arts on hold.

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