Star Peloton Instructor Hannah Corbin Returns to the Audition Circuit

April 10, 2024

When Hannah Corbin first joined Peloton, the brand was little more than a startup. An Alvin Ailey–trained dancer who specialized in aerial acro­ba­tics­, Corbin performed in eclectic off-Broadway shows like Fuerza Bruta and Queen of the Night, and supplemented her performing career by teaching dance and fitness classes. A pro­ducer on a nightlife show she was doing asked her and Jess King (now a Peloton superstar) about teaching for a relatively new company that was looking for strong personalities who loved to work out and were comfortable in front of the camera. “I was like, ‘I can do all of those things!’ ” Corbin says. She’s now been teaching weekly Peloton classes for just over a decade, and gained a dedicated following of people who love sweating through her workouts from home. Recently, she started auditioning again for Broadway and off-Broadway shows, hoping to bring everything she’s learned from teaching fitness for the camera to performing on the stages she’s dearly missed.

My dream growing up was to have my own series of fitness DVDs. That was the epitome of fitness for me! What ended up happening was something that I couldn’t even envision.

For my first two years of Peloton, I was still performing six nights a week in Queen of the Night, which meant a lot of naps. When I started, I think Peloton was my 21st 1099 of the year.

Later, I found out I had an autoimmune disease. But at the time I just knew I was really, really tired, so I stopped pursuing outside things because I needed the energy for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

I started with cycling—early Peloton didn’t have anything else. Now, I teach cycling, barre, Pilates, dance cardio, stretching, foam rolling, mobility, and strength. A lot of jobs can feel stagnant. But Peloton’s been that special bird where each year feels like the beginning of something. We’re constantly innovating.

I get a lot of pride from people telling me that their shoulders are back, their chest is lifted, they’re feeling lighter, they’re not feeling full of stress after taking my classes. I think that comes from my dance background.

When I am dancing and moving and celebrating myself in sweat, that’s when my mind is clear, my insides are full of joy. Being able to give that in class is pretty fun. The hope is that that comes across on the other side of the camera, where you can’t help but also feel the joy of movement and the celebration and sweat.

I want to combine this movement on camera with my love of theater. Now that my autoimmune disease is managed, I realized recently that I will regret not doing that because it is still such a love of mine. I will not be leaving Peloton. I’m just adding in some more naps.

It’s been fascinating to be in an audi­­tion room again. At Peloton, I spend a lot of my time talking to a camera, pretending like people are there. I’ve become masterful at envisioning the reaction that I want. If I’m teaching, the joke always lands, whether it was funny or not. It always works because it has to, right? There can’t be that moment of doubt or lack of self-confidence. Learning to trust that has really changed the audition landscape for me. When I was younger,­ it was a lot of “Oh, man, I hope you think I’m awesome.” And now it is entirely “Well, I am spec­tacular. You’ll either see it or you won’t.”

I don’t get nervous about a lot of things, and I’m a little nervous about going back, in a good way. But the Peloton community has been unbelievably supportive. These humans are taking my classes to be the best version of themselves, to make their future selves proud. So I think they understand it more than anyone.

For other dancers who’re chasing that performance career, my advice is to keep saying yes. It leads you to people and places that you maybe couldn’t have predicted but are probably the right place.