With a chant playing in the background, the Soul Jumpers Double Dutch team practices the routine the 6th grade girls will perform at this weekend's competition.
Eight teams of five girls each will show off their skills in the second annual Double Dutch Jump Off.
The program was the brainchild of Sheriena Gibbs who runs the Youthline program for the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board. She said she wanted the get the kids involved in a fun activity that would also help them be more fit.
“All you have to do is just have fun. It's not all about winning.”Lauren Barlow, 12-year-old competitive jump roper
"Our mission is to get them to do some physical exercise, get them away from the TV, it's about getting recreation, it's about moving, it's about taking some steps. I just hope it turns into a lifestyle," Gibbs said.
Gibbs said she got the idea after last year's Disney movie "Jump In" sparked more interest in Double Dutch, which is central to the movie's storyline.
It IS a sport that takes a lot of endurance, technique and quick footwork. In Double Dutch two people, usually girls, stand opposite each other and twirl two ropes between them. A third girl jumps the ropes. To make it more challenging, she sometimes performs tricks while she jumps, like a mambo step or pop-ups. Sometimes another girl will join her to jump the ropes.
The teams in this weekend's competition are all from Minneapolis. They'll be judged on their speed, duration, style, technique and creativity. They've been practicing for weeks to get ready for the contest.
Twelve-year-old Lauren Barlow is on the Soul Jumpers team. She's been doing Double Dutch for about two years. And while she's excited about the competition, she said the outcome is not the most important part for her.
"All you have to do is just have fun. It's not all about winning. I don't really care if we win or lose, I just want to have fun," Barlow said.
The Double Dutch Jump Off competition begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning at the Midtown Farmer's Market on Lake Street in Minneapolis.