Double Dutch (jump rope)
Double Dutch is a game in which two long jump ropes turning in opposite directions are jumped by one or more players jumping simultaneously. It is believed to have originated among Dutch immigrants in New York City, and is now popular worldwide. While it had long been a popular street activity for African American girls in New York City, the modern sport of Double Dutch originated in the early 1970s with NYPD officers Ulysses Williams and David Walker, who formalized the rules for competition. The first official competition was held in 1974. Competitions in Double Dutch range from block parties to the world level. During the spring of 2009, Double Dutch became a varsity sport in New York City public high schools.
Playing Double Dutch involves at least three people: one or more jumping, and two turning the 3.5 m-long (11.5 ft) ropes (according to the American standard). A jumper usually performs tricks that may involve gymnastics or breakdance, and may also incorporate fancy foot movements.
In popular culture
The 1981 single "Double Dutch Bus" by Frankie Smith features African American girls playing this game in the video clip of the song.
The 1983 single by Malcolm McLaren, "Double Dutch" features a number of New York City troupes. It is taken from his debut album Duck Rock.
Doubletime, a documentary from Discovery Films, tells the story of the historic meet-up of rope skipping and Double Dutch. The film follows two top teams, the Bouncing Bulldogs and the Double Dutch Forces, as they train to compete against each other for the first time. The competition took place at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.
In 2005, Elizabeth Verity, also known as Double Dutch Girl, exhibited her technique around the United States, raising money for the United States military. Double Dutch Girl jumped rope in St. Louis, Chicago, Washington and several small towns throughout the Midwest. Ultimately, her goal is to jump rope in all 50 states.
In 2010, Saltare was on season 5 of America's Best Dance Crew and the group featured single rope and Double Dutch into their dance routines.
A 2010 PBS documentary, New York Street Games, included Whoopi Goldberg describing Double Dutch.
On January 15, 2007, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Google homepage featured a double Dutch logo with black children playing with white and Asian children, emblematic of the realization of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech in 1963.
The National Double Dutch League holds yearly camps and a Holiday Classic, in which teams from all over the world compete. Double Dutch is also an integral part of USA Jump Rope Tournaments as well as the AAU Junior Olympic Games and the World Jump Rope Federation's worldwide annual competitions.
Double Dutch competitions are categorized as compulsory, freestyle, and speed rope.
Double Dutch is associated with early French hip-hop scenes. It was introduced in late 1982 when the World Champion Fantastic Four Double Dutch team came to France along with the New York City Rap Tour. Groups such as the Dutch Force System were some of the better-known Double Dutch groups. Double Dutch was seen as "the symbol of a strong and affirmed femininity in hip-hop".
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