Today's Building Hours
  • Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC
    5:30am - 10:00pm
  • Weinberg Park Heights JCC
    5:30am - 10:00pm
Shabbat Candle Lighting: 7:02pm
Join the J Locations Schedules
Today's Building Hours
  • Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC
    5:30am - 10:00pm
  • Weinberg Park Heights JCC
    5:30am - 10:00pm
Shabbat Candle Lighting: 7:02pm

Fitness with Passion and Purpose

Robyn Korobkin’s journey to teaching at the JCC 

“Strong is the new skinny” is Robyn Korobkin’s motto. She handed out magnets with the slogan to her students at a 6:00am BODYPUMP class to remind them that feeling good and healthy is more important than clothing size or body weight. In addition to BODYPUMP, Robyn teaches BODYFLOW and SH’BAM at the Weinberg Park Heights JCC where she’s been leading group fitness classes since 2009.

Robyn’s path to teaching at the J began in South Africa where she grew up studying ballet. When she immigrated to the U.S. as a preteen, Robyn continued her dance training, but found that she missed the Jewish community in South Africa which she describes as very “involved.” “South African Jews take their Jewry very seriously” she says, “they don’t necessarily keep kosher, and often drive on Shabbat, but they are involved – Shuls are packed every Friday night.”

Robyn joined NCSY in California to reconnect with a Jewish community and became very active in the organization, while at the same time becoming more serious in her dance pursuits. She began to receive offers and opportunities to dance professionally, but as she gravitated toward a more religious life, her dance career conflicted with her religious journey, and she eventually gave up dancing.

She describes her path to Orthodoxy as an intellectual journey, rather than a spiritual one. It wasn’t the result of one defining experience or epiphany, but rather a gradual, and disciplined transition. Robyn has found spiritual fulfillment in her religious practice, but she has always had that with dancing.

The importance of dance became clear when her mother passed away when Robyn was just 24. She was drawn back to it as a form of therapy to cope with her grief and address weight gain that came as result of the loss. She joined a gym and was immediately drawn to ZUMBA class because of the dance elements involved. Within a few months, she went from taking the class to teaching it, and a new passion was born. At last, she had found a way to incorporate dance and fitness in to her religious life.

“My goal was to never be able to wake up and say I don’t feel like going to the gym today,” Korobkin said in an interview. “[if I teach] I have to show up because people are depending on me.”

Staying fit has become a perk of teaching fitness, rather than the motivation. Robyn has developed a true passion for teaching, particularly at the JCC. “Being Orthodox, I have an opportunity to give back to my community,” she said. “I’m not on a board at a synagogue, this is my place where I feel like I can really give back.”

stop looking at the scale, all that matters is that you feel good


Positivity and empowerment are the focus of Robyn’s female-only classes. She’s open about having struggled with body image issues and talks about it with her students. “I’ve gone through my own journey, and I feel like I’m up and down,” she said, “You’ve always got struggles, and I share that. I feel like I have a place to share it within my community.” Her message: “Let your hair down, and let it go, and just feel good about yourself… stop looking at the scale, all that matters is that you feel good… you don’t have to be a size 2 to be fit, strong, and flexible.”

Robyn's class

Robyn's SH'BAM class

This message is heard loud and clear by her loyal students who pack her classes regularly. Pam Kanter has been taking SH’BAM with Robyn for about eight years and loves the energy and encouragement she brings to the class. “She brings out the best in me” says Kanter, “she’s so full of life and makes you feel so happy about what you’re doing.” Pam says that even though Robyn’s dance training is apparent, she makes everyone feel comfortable and encouraged in their own abilities. In fact, Robyn refers to all of the students in her SH’BAM class as “her dancers.”’  

Through her classes, Robyn has found a way to truly contribute to and connect with her community, while continuing to explore her life-long love of dance. Her passion and commitment to not only fitness, but overall wellness and positive body image are enormous assets to the JCC community.