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Double Dutch is a rope skipping exercise played when two ropes are turned in eggbeater fashion. While the ropes are turned, a third person “jumps in.”

RED BULL ROPE MASTERS

Red Bull Rope Masters features the top Double Dutch teams in the United States. Teams will compete in a head-to-head Double Dutch freestyle battle to determine who will be the Red Bull Rope Masters Champion. Red Bull Rope Masters is sanctioned by the National Double Dutch League.

RULES:

  • Eight per tournament. Single elimination.
  • Teams will compete in a head-to-head Double Dutch freestyle battle.
  • Each battle round is 1:40. At any time throughout the 1:40 battle round a team may compete as a Singles Team (3 people) or a Double Team (4 people). All teams must have at least one female on their team.

HISTORY

The people holding the ropes are called the turners. A person jumping in usually does tricks that may involve gymnastics or break dancing and can also incorporate complicated foot movements.

A history of the game traces the probable origins to ancient Phoenician, Egyptian and Chinese ropemakers. They plied their craft at ropewalks -- spaces 900 feet or more in length -- usually near seaports. With a bunch of hemp around their waists and two strands attached to the wheel, the ropemakers walked backwards, twisting the rope into uniformity. As the runners traveled the cluttered floors supplying the spinners with hemp, they had to jump the twisting rope. To make their deliveries, they needed quick feet, lithe bodies and good eye perception.

It is possible that at these ancient rope-works the basic framework of Double Dutch evolved. In all likelihood, the rope spinners, runners and their families patched together a leisure time activity from their work. The strand-over-strand turning movement of the spinners, the footwork of the runners evolved into the game. Thereafter, it was passed from generation to generation.  

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The Dutch settlers brought the game to the Hudson River trading town of New Amsterdam (now New York City). When the English arrived and saw the children playing their game, they called it Double Dutch. The game has since grown over the years, particularly in urban areas. It became a favorite pastime to sing rhymes while turning and jumping. During World War II, the game was often played on the sidewalks of New York. By the late 1950s the radio music boom dominated urban America and the lack of recreational areas in close proximity to apartment buildings had made the game nearly extinct.

In the early 1970s with the advent of hip hop and a new focus and recognition on forms of expression born in the inner cities of the US, Double Dutch began to reappear.

In fact, during the very early years of the hip hop music genre, Double Dutch was an element of the culture (popularized in the song Double Dutch Bus). After hip hop began moving towards the mainstream in the early 1980s, Double Dutch fell out of favor as a recognized element of hip hop.

Now a uniquely American fusion between sport and dance, competitions in Double Dutch are still often seen at block parties in inner cities across the US. Current conventional Double Dutch competitions are categorized as compulsory, free style and speed rope.

While Double Dutch began in the inner cities of America, it is growing in popularity throughout the US and the world. Double Dutch can now be found at block parties, world level competition, commercials and feature films: an urban pastime that has undergone a transformation due to hip hop. Beginning in the spring of 2009, Double Dutch became a varsity sport in New York City public high schools.

 

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