How the jump rope got its rhythm | Small Thing Big Idea, a TED series

How the jump rope got its rhythm | Small Thing Big Idea, a TED series

Translator: Krystian Aparta
Reviewer: Camille Martínez If you do it right, it should sound like: TICK-tat, TICK-tat, TICK-tat,
TICK-tat, TICK-tat, TICK-tat. If you do it wrong, it sounds like: Tick-TAT, tick-TAT, tick-TAT. [Small thing. Big idea.] [Kyra Gaunt on
the Jump Rope] The jump rope is such a simple object. It can be made out of rope,
a clothesline, twine. It has, like, a twirl on it. (Laughs) I’m not sure how to describe that. What’s important
is that it has a certain weight, and that they have
that kind of whip sound. It’s not clear what the origin
of the jump rope is. There’s some evidence
that it began in ancient Egypt, Phoenicia, and then it most likely traveled
to North America with Dutch settlers. The rope became a big thing
when women’s clothes became more fitted and the pantaloon came into being. And so, girls were able to jump rope because their skirts
wouldn’t catch the ropes. Governesses used it
to train their wards to jump rope. Even formerly enslaved African children
in the antebellum South jumped rope, too. In the 1950s, in Harlem,
Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, you could see on the sidewalk,
lots of girls playing with ropes. Sometimes they would take two ropes
and turn them as a single rope together, but you could separate them and turn
them in like an eggbeater on each other. The skipping rope
was like a steady timeline — tick, tick, tick, tick — upon which you can add rhymes
and rhythms and chants. Those ropes created a space where we were able
to contribute to something that was far greater
than the neighborhood. Double Dutch jump rope remains
a powerful symbol of culture and identity for black women. Back from the 1950s to the 1970s, girls weren’t supposed to play sports. Boys played baseball,
basketball and football, and girls weren’t allowed. A lot has changed, but in that era, girls would rule the playground. They’d make sure
that boys weren’t a part of that. It’s their space, it’s a girl-power space. It’s where they get to shine. But I also think it’s for boys, because boys overheard those, which is why, I think,
so many hip-hop artists sampled from things that they heard
in black girls’ game songs. (Chanting) … cold, thick shake,
act like you know how to flip, Filet-O-Fish, Quarter Pounder,
french fries, ice cold, thick shake, act like you know how to jump. Why “Country Grammar” by Nelly
became a Grammy Award-winning single was because people already knew “We’re going down down baby
your street in a Range Rover … ” That’s the beginning of “Down down, baby,
down down the roller coaster, sweet, sweet baby, I’ll never let you go.” All people who grew up
in any black urban community would know that music. And so, it was a ready-made hit. The Double Dutch rope playing
helped maintain these songs and helped maintain the chants
and the gestures that go along with it, which is very natural
to what I call “kinetic orality” — word of mouth and word of body. It’s the thing that gets
passed down over generations. In some ways, the rope
is the thing that helps carry it. You need some object
to carry memory through. So, a jump rope, you can use it
for all different kinds of things. It crosses cultures. And I think it lasted
because people need to move. And I think sometimes the simplest objects
can make the most creative uses.

55 thoughts on “How the jump rope got its rhythm | Small Thing Big Idea, a TED series

  1. As a kid if we couldn’t find or get a jump rope we had to pull out the cable cords n call it a day. Or make some out of shoe strings.

  2. I grew up in inner city Philadelphia… I'm white American and truly loved jumping double Dutch back in the day. One of the benefits of being bused in the 60's. Yes I was bused. ♡

  3. is a shame ,it seems kids play games on computers &phones these days..theyre mising out on all the fun games we played as kids,,jump rope & tag,tin can andy,red light,green light 123,freedom….every kids in a 4 block radius would play freedom for hours…it was great…

  4. I grew up also learning chinese jump rope since I grew up in Flushing, Queens. There were always urban legends told about a girl who could do Chinese jump rope when the 2 girls who were holding the rope held it over their heads.

  5. It was totally different where I grew up; would be nice if videos specific to a certain country/culture were labelled as that. It's just as interesting for me to learn about how things developed in America, but I'd like to know that's what the video is about by its title.

  6. This is interesting and makes me love jump rope so much more. I was never great at it as a child, but that was also because it was the popular kids that would play jump rope. There were only so many ropes available to use at recess and the popular kids would hoard them. I never got the chance to become good at double dutch because I didn't have people to practice with. But I jumped rope solo all the time.

  7. Why do people always assume a thing is invented in one place and propagated around the world? Very simple things could be independently thought of in many places.

  8. The camera focus on this lady's interview is terrible. The whole time I'm looking at the side of her mouth rather than her eyes. Just stop it down man, no one needs a 1.0

  9. What a great series! This video was eye opening for me, I didn’t know much about the jump rope – so interesting! I now have a newfound appreciation for the jump rope.

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