Double Dutch (jump rope)

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Children playing double Dutch in Buenos Aires

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.[1] While it had long been a popular street activity for African American girls in New York City,[1] 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. In the early 1980s, Double Dutch was strongly associated with New York hip hop culture.[2] It has also been recognized as an element of the genre by notable MCs such as KRS-One. 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.[3]


Girls playing Double Dutch outside the Ida B. Wells Homes in Chicago, 1973
Picture of US service personnel jumping double Dutch on the deck of an aircraft carrier
US sailors and marines participate in a double Dutch contest on the deck of the USS Saipan during a ship celebration.

Playing Double Dutch involves at least three people: one or more jumping, and two turning the ropes. A jumper usually performs tricks that may involve gymnastics or breakdance, and may also incorporate fancy foot movements.

Double Dutch in the media[edit]

The 1981 single "Double Dutch Bus" by Frankie Smith features African American girls playing this game in the video clip of the song.[4]

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.[5]

The 1991 single by American hip-hop duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, "Summertime" mentions "girls playing Double Dutch". It is taken from their fourth studio album, Homebase.[6]

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 very first time. The competition took place at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.[7]

The 2002 novel Double Dutch by Sharon M. Draper features a teenager competing in the Double Dutch world championships.

In 2005, Elizabeth Verity, aka Double Dutch Girl, began jumping her way around the U.S. 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.[8]

The 2007 Disney Channel original movie Jump In! features Double Dutch as the central element of its plot. Jump In! features the Dutch Dragons, based on a real Double Dutch team in 1997 from Harlem. Jump!,[9] an award-winning documentary following five teams from around the United States who push their physical and psychological limits in pursuit of winning the World Rope Skipping Championship, being premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival in 2007.

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.[10][11]

A 2010 PBS documentary, New York Street Games, included Whoopi Goldberg describing Double Dutch.[12]

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.[13]

Double Dutch is featured in the Wee Sing production Grandpa's Magical Toys.[14]

The music video to the 2010 track by DJ Fresh, "Gold Dust", centres on Double Dutch.[15]

In the music video of Yves Larock hit 2007 track "Rise Up", Double Dutch is the theme used.[16]

In his dual title role of the 2011 movie Jack & Jill, Adam Sandler gives a demonstration of Double Dutch jump rope on board the cruise liner.[17]

There is a Double Dutch jump roping competition in the 2015 film War Room.[18]

Competitive Double Dutch[edit]

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.

The World Jump Rope Championships were held in July, 2012, at George Washington University, in Washington D.C.[19][20]

Double Dutch competitions are categorized as compulsory, freestyle, and speed rope.

Legends Of National Double League gather at the Lincoln Center.

Double Dutch in France[edit]

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 NYC Rap Tour. Groups such as the Dutch Force System, Ladies' Night, and Crétil 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" .[21]


  1. ^ Jamin Brophy-Warren (9 November 2007). "Bested by Japan, A Jump-Rope Team Plots a Comeback". WSJ. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  2. ^ Lauren Schwartzberg, Double Dutch's Forgotten Hip-Hop Origins,, April 1, 2015
  3. ^ Hu, Winnie (31 July 2008). "Double Dutch Gets Status in the Schools". New York Times. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  4. ^ "Frankie Smith – Double Dutch Bus (Official Music Video)". YouTube. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Malcolm Mclaren Presents Double Dutch". YouTube. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  6. ^ "Summertime DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince". Lyrics Genius. Genius Media Group. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Doubletime (2007)". IMDB. IMDB. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-04-10. Retrieved 2010-04-07. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-08-21. Retrieved 2009-09-02. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Saltare". USA Jump Rope. Archived from the original on 2012-06-28. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  11. ^ Goodtree, Hal. "Morrisville's Saltare on America's Best Dance Crew". Archived from the original on 2012-10-19. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  12. ^ Hector Elizondo (Narrator); Matt Levy (Director). New York Street Games (Motion picture). New York City. Archived from the original on 2011-11-13. Retrieved 14 Nov 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  13. ^ Google MLK Day logo
  14. ^ "Wee Sing Grandpa's Magical Toys". Wee Sing. Penguin Group. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  15. ^ "DJ Fresh – 'Gold Dust' (Official Video)". YouTube. YouTube. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  16. ^ "Yves LaRock – Rise Up". YouTube. YouTube. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  17. ^ "Clip from Jack and Jill movie". YouTube. YouTube. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  18. ^ A Spiritual Battle in the War Room
  19. ^ Kelly, Brian. "Bainbridge jumpers win gold medals at world championship".
  20. ^ Owens, Dave. "World Jump Rope Championships Unlike Jumping Rope In Your Backyard". WUSA 9.
  21. ^ Piolet, Vincent (June 2015). Regarde ta jeunesse dans les yeux: naissance du hip-hop française, 1980-1990 (in French). France: Horizon. p. 90. ISBN 9782360541676.

Further reading[edit]

  • Veronica Chambers, Double Dutch, ISBN 978-0-7868-0512-9, Jump At The Sun; 1 edition (October 14, 2002)
  • Kyra D. Gaunt, The Games Black Girls Play: Learning the Ropes from Double-Dutch to Hip-hop, ISBN 0-8147-3120-1, Published 2006 NYU Press

External links[edit]