Prancercise goes from viral video to Today Show

By Colleen Wright, Orlando Sentinel

6:56 PM EDT, May 30, 2013


It’s time to dust off those Jazzercise pants from the depths of the attic. 

Introducing the new fitness craze and Internet sensation: Prancercise ®

Sixty-year-old Joanna Rohrback, who will appear Friday on NBC’s The Today Show, is the creator of Prancercise, which she describes on her website as “a fitness revolution!”

“It’s about self-expression. It’s about non-violence. It’s about conservation,” her website proclaims.

Rohrback, who has a background in aerobic fitness and social work, classifies Prancercise as a form of cardio.

She defines it online as: "A springy, rhythmic way of moving forward, similar to a horse’s gait and ideally induced by elation."

It’s simple to do -- just strap on a pair of ankle weights and prance around. There are three levels of intensity: a walk, a trot or you can “cut the noose and let it loose” with a gallop. 

The Coral Springs woman recommends at least 20 minutes of Prancercise to see benefits. She was unsure of how many calories a 20-minute session of Prancercise can burn, because she isn’t concerned about calories -- she Prancercises for enjoyment and health.

“Prancercise can be done way intensely or lightly,” Rohrback said. “One size doesn’t fit all.”

Rohrback said she always loved horses and related a horse’s movements to exercise.

“When I finally developed the moves, I felt like it was a horse prancing in a parade,” she said. It led her to the perfect name: Prancercise.

Rohrback thought of the idea for Prancercise back in 1989. She began writing her book, “Prancercise: The Art of Physical and Spiritual Excellence” by hand at the library.

But she didn’t launch her business, Prancercise LLC, until last December. With a self-published book and a live website, she said she felt ready to switch her YouTube video from private to public.

In her 5-minute video, Rohrback demonstrates Prancercise. Clad in stretchy white pants, a peachy-pink top and an over-teased hairstyle, she prances toward the camera to upbeat jazz and rock music in an outdoor South Florida setting.

Her video has become a smash with more than 346,000 views and counting. Over the past week, she’s been flooded with media requests from small-town newspapers to national talk shows.

Rohrback said she’s very satisfied that her program has been noticed.

“People have reacted to a kooky woman doing these exercises,” she said. “Everybody wishes to have the attention I’m having.”

colwright@tribune.com or 407-420-5433