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Prancercise is an exercise developed by Florida resident Joanna Rohrback that involves dancing in a similar fashion to a horse’s gait. The regimen gained notoriety when a demonstration video began circulating online in May of 2013.
On December 12th, 2012, the Prancercise YouTube channel uploaded a video titled “Prancercise: A Fitness Workout,” which featured Rohrback performing various dance moves while walking down a pathway in a park. As of June 2013, the video has received over five million views and 200 comments.
The video remained relatively obscure until May 25th, 2013, when it was posted to the /r/videos subreddit. On May 28th, the video was highlighted on the viral content site BuzzFeed, where it received over 38,700 views and 6,500 Facebook likes in the first six days. On the following day, Redditor jhangel77 reposted the video to the /r/cringe subreddit. Also on May 29th, the Seattle-based novelty store Archie McPhee uploaded a video to YouTube featuring a man Prancercising while wearing a unicorn-themed horse head mask (shown below). In the following five days, the video accumulated upwards of 73,000 views and 100 comments.
On May 30th, The Week published an article about the exercise, revealing that Rohrback invented the regimen back in 1989. That same day, CNBC published an interview with Rohrback, who responded to those making fun of her video saying, “Let them laugh.” Also on May 30th, The Daily Beast published another interview with Rohrback in which she explained that she invented the exercise while walking down the street in the late 1980s.
“I must have heard a really good song I liked on the radio. I started moving in a rhythmic way, using ankle weights. And it just evolved.”
On May 31st, Time Magazine highlighted the video on their Newsfeed blog. On the following day, Rohrback appeared on Inside Edition to promote and demonstrate her exercise (shown below). Also on June 1st, ABC News published an article comparing Prancercise to other bizarre workouts, including “treadmill dancing” and the “heel hop workout.”