It’s the sport that gave Corbin Bleu his solo career shot and KeKe Palmer — well, she really just did us all a favor.
by Joanne Xu
POV: You’re a working class man in one of the great ancient civilizations — Egypt, China, Phoenicia, take your pick. You go to work every day by the neighborhood pier, twisting strands of locally graded hemp into long industrial ropes. A kid making some side cash is running back and forth between you and the nearby hemp supplier, hopping in and out of your two-strand system.
This is quite literally how the game of Double Dutch is thought to have been invented.
Looking at how Double Dutch has transformed from a means of utility to an internationally adored pastime to a full-on competitive sport is exactly why we exist. The one-two-step role model of Recreation has been branded a World Class Sport since 1973, when New York City Detective David A. Walker and his partner Detective Ulysses Williams made a competition out of the game. Ever since, Double Dutch has been internationally recognized for both its competitive and Recreational natures, with leagues spanning from east to west in the United States alone.
Playing the game is one of those things where the pros make it look exceptionally seamless — so much so that your inclination is to assume that you can just step right in, simply because you’ve dug six hours deep into the Youtube rabbit hole. But alas, the second you try and shimmy your way into the swiveling matrix, you’ll realize you can’t just “happy feet” your way through this one.
So let us break down the basics. If you’re one of the two ropers, alternate swinging each hand in a circular, inward motion, mirroring your partner’s speed. If you dare attempt being the jumper: wait until the rope closest to you is up high, then jump in below between the two ropes. Your back should always be directly facing one of the ropers. Take a second to adjust, until all three of you are synchronized in step and pace.
But in the end, all Double Dutch requires is two ropes and two people. It’s the simplicity of it all that somehow transports us back to our playground days — where the only hard part was picking just one partner to play with. So whether you’re on a work break, playing with the neighborhood kids, or antsy to get your body moving, try your hand at Double Dutch. Tell us about your best moves in the comments below.