The art of Double Dutch
April 8, 2005 6:35 PM   Subscribe

The art of Double Dutch: Whatever happened to the that tricky urban past time Double Dutch? The savvy dames from Harlem made it famous and continue to keep it competitive. How about the Double Duchess' jumping in schoolgirl plaids and kitty suits? Even Fat Albert can keep the legacy hip. Video's galore.
posted by Viomeda (25 comments total)
Fun! Thanks for reminding me of some of my favorite double dutch rhymes - I had most of the ones on this page memorized. Even though they say "Down By the Rollercoaster" is a hand game, hardcore ropers know it's really a double dutch rhyme.

and best use of the phrase double dutch in a song:

"New Amsterdam it's become much too much
Till I have the possession of everything she touches
Till I step on the brakes to get out of her clutches
Till I speak double dutch to a real double duchess"
posted by iconomy at 6:58 PM on April 8, 2005

Thanks, Vio. This Friday has been sadly flash-free; great stuff!

Also, I love you. I'll see you at the airport tomorrow.
posted by koeselitz at 7:00 PM on April 8, 2005

posted by hellbient at 8:17 PM on April 8, 2005

posted by airguitar at 8:18 PM on April 8, 2005

posted by airguitar at 8:25 PM on April 8, 2005

Oh thank you thank you thank you airguitar, I have been killing myself looking for a clip of that video. I have a copy of it that i recorded from MTV oh so long ago. The song it great and the video is the best with skinny little Malcom hanging out with a bunch of talented black ladies two-stepping in overdrive. Can you do the double dutch (because the time is running out)?!!
posted by Viomeda at 8:38 PM on April 8, 2005

They still play it in my neighborhood of younger days in South Philadelphia.
posted by tozturk at 8:38 PM on April 8, 2005

You rock, now the post is complete.
posted by Viomeda at 8:39 PM on April 8, 2005

i went to college with one of these girls....
posted by gnutron at 9:02 PM on April 8, 2005

Oh, I love this post!

As a little white girl in Oklahoma, I envied all those cool Double Dutch-ing girls we would see on various educational programs from the East Coast. They had style (and cool barettes).

We tried like hell to get our own Double Dutch thing going, but we failed miserably. We finally got to where we could jump through two ropes at a time, but we couldn't get the speed up. Plus the rhymes. 2 of the 3 black girls in our school were in it with us, but they eventually got sick of our suck-itude and stopped playing with us.

(So we decided to pretend we were "Valley Girls" instead.)

*And that's the report from Like Wobegon...
posted by Kloryne at 9:25 PM on April 8, 2005

or "Lake" Wobegon, rather -- But "Like, Wobegon" goes better with the Valley Girl thing, I guess.
posted by Kloryne at 9:27 PM on April 8, 2005

Is this the new white girl college fad? It has trendnik written all over it.
posted by Captaintripps at 9:42 PM on April 8, 2005

More (not enough) in this video. (Quicktime, click on "Super 8").

Those hipster girls are cute and I like their carefully selected outfits, but in terms of skills they can't touch what I remember seeing on the playground, back in the day. Or in this short video.
posted by hydrophonic at 10:18 PM on April 8, 2005

Excellent link, iconomy, but now I'm sitting in front of the computer doing half of the little hand jive that went with the McDonalds rhyme. So...thanks, I guess.

It was also a surprise to discover that the only other one I remembered was actually a hybrid of two or three rhymes as they appeared on that some other random stuff. There's some kind of whacked-out anthropological study there, I'm sure.

Miss Sue (clap clap)
Miss Sue (clap clap)
Miss Sue from Alabama
Hey little girl with the strawberry curls
Mama's got the measles, Papa's got the mumps
Take an A-B-C-D-E-F-G
Take an H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P
Take a booster shot, take a booster shot
Uno, dos, tres
Down down baby down by the roller coaster
Sweet sweet baby I don't wanna let you go
Shimmy shimmy cocoa pop, shimmy shimmy pow!
Shimmy shimmy cocoa pop, shimmy shimmy POW! (punch other person in the arm)

posted by Vervain at 10:35 PM on April 8, 2005

Very, extremely, and most definitely, Hot Stuff! Those where the good ol' days for sure. No one can do it like the originals. The white girls do go for the fashion award over the strict badassness. Try downloading the McLaren video its got all those moves.
posted by Viomeda at 10:55 PM on April 8, 2005

Double duchess have been putting it out in San Francisco for a while and even got a random writeup last year in the NY Times (no SF Chronicle coverage tho)! Those ladies are the best, just having some fun. Check out the DVD, it's hilarious (parody of a workout video).

They have the best themes too:
*ravers in a k-hole

*out-of-control, belligerent mothers (this one was on flag day with coachwhips 2 years ago - they did a tour of SF - financial dist, ocean beach, twin peaks & 16th/mission bart stop).

*Industrial Goth, mad at the world
posted by vporter at 11:22 PM on April 8, 2005

Whatever happened to Double Dutch? It's still done. There are national competitions for it, but you can observe it still in urban schoolyards. I think it's just been a while since pop culture celebrated it.
posted by Miko at 7:26 AM on April 9, 2005

In my mom's west side Detroit neighborhood (late 1940s), all the black girls jumped Double Dutch. My mom said they tried to teach her, but it just went too fast for her. She and her sisters had to content themselves with "High Water - Low Water" and "High-Low-Jolly-Pepper" type of jump rope.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:01 AM on April 9, 2005

Double Dutch is the new Burlesque.
posted by Tomatillo at 9:30 PM on April 9, 2005

vio, i think the go team video posted by hydro is actually current...look close...

i love that band...'junior kickstart' is my new favorite tune...
posted by sexyrobot at 4:06 AM on April 10, 2005

You hipsters! No one has posted the obligatory Doom lyric?

As follows in the text:

"That's the difference between
sissy-pissy rappers that's double-dutch
How come I hold the microphone double-clutch?"
posted by rachelpapers at 2:56 PM on April 10, 2005

It doesn't get better than All for Swinging You Around. (.mov)
posted by rafter at 3:08 PM on April 10, 2005

By the way, the link content is entirely safe for work, but be warned that the URL itself might get you in trouble if someone is looking just at the logs.
posted by rafter at 3:11 PM on April 10, 2005

The Chicago Bulls have an Acrobatic Team consisting of kids from the neighborhood near the United Center (I think), and they do all sorts of cool jumprope tricks, including the double dutch.

I remember seeing this done on Sesame Street years ago. : ) I never had the coordination required to do it.
posted by SisterHavana at 6:56 PM on April 10, 2005

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