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history of skipping

by Scott Robert-Shaw
While investigating the history of skipping I have come across a lot of information on the internet that is difficult to verify so this article should be taken as an account of how skipping may have developed over the centuries.

It would seem that there is no definitive understanding of the exact origins of skipping, it may be that it evolved from a game that is documented in Ancient Greece where two people held a pole for a third person to jump over. It may have originated from rope making in ancient Egypt and China when rope makers were twisting long strands of hemp into ropes. The rope makers needed to jump over the ropes to retrieve strands of hemp, this developed into a skill and perhaps their children began to imitate and invent games with small pieces of rope. Traveling sailors perhaps brought the ideas and games back home with them to spread the idea around the world. There is evidence of rope skipping being taken to America by Dutch settlers during the 1600's as it was written about by English settlers, who migrated to New Amsterdam, later to become known as New York.

It is an interesting point to note that during the 1700's rope skipping was mainly performed by boys. It seems that the prevailing sentiment at the time was that girls should not by physically active in case they harmed themselves. I would further like to point out that this in definitely not a sentiment that is shared by skip-hop. The girls that we teach in our skip-hop skipping workshops are every bit as good as the boys. Luckily this view in historic terms started to change in the 1800's and both boys and girls were able to enjoy the many skipping benefits. It was then, if anything, championed more by girls as a game and is associated with many skipping songs and skipping rhymes when used in conjunction with long rope or double dutch games.

The three basic styles of skipping began to emerge.
1) individual skipping
2) long rope skipping with two rope turners
3) double dutch with two ropes turning in opposite directions.
 skipping history picture from 1800