Prancercise Creator Joanna Rohrback: "I'm Against Riding a Horse ... Let the Horse Enjoy Its Free Will"
Like wild mustangs galloping over the dusty Nevada horizon, it came our way without warning: a thing of raw, natural beauty.
As you will soon learn, Joanna Rohrback has never actually prancercised alongside a horse.
As reported yesterday by New Times' equine dance-fitness bureau chief, Prancercise is a global multimedia phenomenon started by Coral Springs resident Joanna Rohrback.
In her book (Prancercise) and videos (Prancercise: A Fitness Workout), Rohrback evangelizes what she describes as "a springy, rhythmic way of moving forward, similar to a horse's gait and is ideally induced by elation." But as Cultist learned in a phone call with Rohrback, the story of Prancercise is not one just of elation but of struggle, a healing journey back from the brink, and copyright infringement of the Funkadelic back catalogue.
Before we begin, take a look at Rohrback in action:
Prancercise is not an overnight success but, rather, was nearly a quarter century in the making.
"I created the program in 1989 and I finished the book in 1994 but I never published it," Rohrback tells us. In spite of the successful completion of a test video entitled Funky Punky Prancercise -- full of what Rohback calls "rhyme rap" -- fate had other plans in store for Rohrback and her funky punky parts.
"I had a female condition," she says. "I never got operated on so I couldn't exercise for, like, 10 years in the 2000s."
Meanwhile, Prancercise was put on hold.
"When I spoke with publishers, they wanted guaranteed market demand but I was doing everything by myself. No support, no husband, nothing. That made it like Mt. Everest so, rather than be depressed, I shelved it for several years."
Life continued apace, though less at a canter and more at a beleaguered trot. Rohrback had attended the University of Miami's School of Nursing but completed her degree at FAU in Health Administration.
"Then I was a social worker for the state. Boring! That was for four years. I did every job under the sun while working towards my dream. Cocktail waitressing, you name it. When you're one person without connections, it's hard to do."
But, even if she would have wanted to put the video out in the world, Rohrback knew that the authorities would never allow its release.
"The music was copyrighted so I couldn't use it," she says. "The video back from 1989 was a lot of old Motown. I love Motown. There were songs by the Funkadelics, Aretha Franklin."
Over this music, she sang her own "rhyme rap," lyrics like: "Put some glide in your stride / some dip in your hip. / There ain't no place that ugly fat is gonna stick."