You could say that I literally bunny-hopped my way to Russia. The ‘bunny hop’ is a key part of the Ebb Technique, the method I developed to teach kids and adults how to jump Double Dutch. And it was Double Dutch that led me to becoming a cultural ambassador to Russia.
I’m a coach for DC Retro Jumpers which started in 2004 as a Double Dutch team for adults. An after-school program contacted us, looking for someone to teach it to children and I said yes and roped in my sister, Carlyle, to help me. Now, I teach at four schools around Washington, DC, and lead demos for community centers, libraries, street festivals, birthday parties – wherever I’m asked! With my Ebb Technique: if you can do a bunny hop, I can get you jumping Double Dutch in 10 minutes!
My life-changing trip to Russia came when I was profiled in a Washington Post article that garnered the attention of a woman who arranges cultural programs abroad. The reporter of the article attended one of my demos at a community event, and he and his family had such a fantastic time that it motivated him to write a story about DC Retro Jumpers. The company was recruited to lead Double Dutch exhibitions in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Belgorod.
Russia was an amazing experience. It was exhilarating to be able to get out of my backyard and visit another country and show them this passion I have for double Dutch- and many of them enjoyed it just as much as I do! It also changed my impressions of Russia. When I saw Russian life on TV, it seemed sad and depressing, but it wasn’t that way at all. And Red Square – it was surprisingly colorful and beautiful. Over the years, the friends I made in Russia have come to visit us. In essence, we’ve jumped rope in Red Square in front of St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin, and in turn, they jumped Double Dutch on the National Mall with the Washington Monument in the background. Full circle!
Some of my favorite spots was idling by the river through the city; the humongous, gold accented buildings; and their lovely amphitheater was mind blowing. Most buildings were so massive. There was one section of the streets were lined with purple lights, and close by was an area with a super large swing set that was absolutely incredible to see. I’m still disappointed I didn’t take a swing myself. The inside of their churches were serene and majestic. Even their grocery store looked as if we were in a portrait gallery museum.
Physical movement and movement across the country have gone hand-in-hand for me. As a child, I performed with The Flying Nesbits, a foot-juggling acrobatic troupe in Chicago, Detroit, Atlantic City, and Harlem. I am inspired to travel more in the future, as there are plans in the works for a possible DC Retro Jumpers tour to eastern European countries like Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania. My hope is to make it back to one of the countries I am most passionate about: Russia!
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