The jump rope may be a simple object but for countless generations it has served as a powerful symbol of culture and identity for African American girls and women. The skipping rope is a steady timeline upon which girls add rhymes, rhythms and chants, creating a space that is uniquely their own. It is a word of mouth and word of body treasure passed down from one generation to the next, with influences on hip hop and other music that span the globe.


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  • Tru

    Simplicity. Play. Connection. The reminder it is available to all of us. Have you played today? I recently got a new jump rope and have been practicing. Some days I can do 35 jumps without missing. It's a jump in progress. And feels so darn good. Reminds me of the Adult Recess I initiated many years ago. People bursting with joy in the midst of daily life. I'll be 71 in a few weeks. Wouldn't it be something if I could do 71 jumps in a row?

  • Kristin Pedemonti

    Thank you! I love kinetic-orality! what a wonderful term and capture! I know jump rope and rhymes were super important in my own childhood, I love how they still continue! Thank you so much for the added historical context!

  • Shari

    I'm 68 - this just made me smile remembering the hours spent jumping rope with friends, passing on the rhymes that my mother and her friends jumped to. I was so envious of the girls who did double-dutch. I teach middle school - how can I get the girls to turn off the computer and connect with the jump rope? I'm going to show this video in class.

  • Nancy

    Beautiful expression of truth!Thank you. Felt so happy watching this. Reminded me of the freedom as a tiny child - I could rise! Lifted by the wind! My body was LIGHT. Needed two friends to hold the rope so I could JUMP! Women power. The rope - the Weave. Glad black women identify -it is cross culture. Kinetic orality - a symbol of memory

  • Barb

    I started teaching in the 70s and jumping rope was what my girls did! Fast forward to now -- there's still a locally famous elementary Montessori school known for its jump roping team. A graduate of that school, HS, and MIT is Stewart Isaacs. You can find him -- still jumping, but now as he travels in Africa -- on Facebook.

  • Ruth Ann

    I taught Physical Education in a senior high school. In the 1990s we would do a few days of co-ed "Jump Rope for Your Heart." I wish we could have shared this with the students. We had great fun with jumping. The wrestlers were the best.

  • Page 1

  • Learn about the studies of the film's narrator, Professor Kyra Gaunt
  • Read more about the jump rope as a symbol of community identity and empowerment.
  • Enjoy a short jump rope/hip hop dance break with friends and loved ones. 

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