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June 7, 2013

Prancers plan downtown parade

Organizers admit it’s “a wacky event.”

Yet they think a “Prancercise Parade” planned for Saturday at 10 a.m. may be just what the doctor ordered. Participants are encouraged to wear costumes — or, for the less adventurous, exercise clothes — and meet at the parking lot across from Northwest Georgia Neuromuscular Bodywork and Wellness at 110 W. Waugh St. The idea? Prance around downtown and over to the Downtown Dalton Saturday Market at Dalton Green.

Organizer Hollie Cope of Northwest Georgia Neuromuscular said the event is designed to celebrate exercise, movement and having a good time. Her inspiration came from a Florida woman — Joanna Rohrback — who has recently made waves on YouTube with her “prancercise” video. Originally recorded in 1989, the video was posted on YouTube in December. It has garnered more than 5.9 million hits.

Prancercise, according to Rohrback’s website, prancercise.com, is “a springy, rhythmic way of moving forward, similar to a horse’s gait and ideally induced by elation.” She encourages people to learn more about it in her book “Prancercise: The Art of Physical and Spiritual Excellence.”

Dalton resident Ansley Greene said she saw the video on someone else’s Facebook page.

“I watched it, so I put it on my status and said, ‘How cool would it be? Could you imagine people in Dalton doing this?’”

Her long-time friend Cope could imagine it. Greene said once Cope saw the idea she decided to try to make it work. In the video, Rohrback attaches ankle weights just above her feet, and at one point in the video straps them to her wrists, but Cope said Saturday’s “prancercise” can be done without the weights.

There’s no special technique that has to be mastered. Just get your body moving, have fun and go.

“When I first saw it, I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness. This is a hoot!’” Cope said. Still, she said, as silly as it may look at first, Rohrback is taking something she needs to be doing for her health and having fun with it, Cope said. Cope said she works with many clients who have body image issues or are self-conscious for other reasons and encourages them not to miss opportunities to improve because they’re worried about how they look.

“You have to appreciate who you are wherever you are in that moment,” Cope said. “You can’t get any better if you don’t love yourself wherever you are. You only have one life, so you might as well enjoy yourself.”

Participants for the Saturday event will meet at 10 a.m., mingle for about 20 minutes and then have their costumes judged. Anyone sporting a Unicorn or horse head as part of their costume will receive a special prize. At 10:40 a.m., the “hottest trot” contest will begin with rizes going to the winners. The “Prancercise Parade” will consist of a group gallop to the market and begins at 11 a.m.

Greene, who is co-hosting with Cope, said the event is all about having fun. Some people are very serious when they exercise, worrying about what they wear or how they look.

“(The prancercise video) was humorous, but Hollie and I both discussed it, and there’s no inhibitions (for her). She’s just being herself, getting her exercise in, being a little free-spirited and just enjoying herself.”

For more information on Cope, visit HollieCope.com. Search for the Dalton Prancercise Revolution on Facebook for more information on the event.

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