Albany's double-dutch team heads for Tokyo

Nanny's Double Dutch Natalie Jay-Short

Nanny's Double Dutch League of Albany

It's true: Albany has a double dutch team. And it's pretty good.

Nanny's Double Dutch League has been practicing at the Arbor Hill Community Center and competing in venues around the country for the last five years.

Later this month they'll be competing and attending workshops with 168 double dutch teams from Japan, Belgium, North Korea, Singapore and the US at the World Tournament in Tokyo.

Natalie Jay-Short.jpgGrowing up in Manhattan, Natalie Jay-Short -- the coach for Albany's double dutch team -- jumped competitively for her elementary and middle school teams. But when she came to Albany for college, she noticed something was missing. "Driving around the Capital Region for years, the one thing I never saw was kids playing double dutch. And I'd just keep talking out loud, saying 'I want to start a double dutch league, I want to start a double dutch league.'"

Her own kids went through school in the Capital Region and participated in all kinds of sports through high school, but never jumped.

Nanny's Double Dutch 6 -Team Photo.jpg

Jay-Short works for the SUNY Research Foundation and about six years ago, when some funds opened up for community outreach, she was offered an opportunity to start her team. "They bought my ropes and rule books, and I hustled to schools all over the area to practice and teach them."

Jay-Short named the team Nanny's Double Dutch League, in honor of the grandmother who took her, along with her three brothers and a cousin, out of foster care in NYC and raised them. The team now has members from schools all over the Albany area, but they don't have to be from Albany to join. "I'll take anyone who wants to jump and can get to our practices Monday through Thursday from 5 to 6:30 at the Arbor Hill Community Center." The current team is mostly made up of girls, but there's one boy from Hackett Middle School.

Nanny's Double Dutch 2 Speed.jpg

Nanny's Double Dutch 3 Leg up.jpg

Nanny's Double Dutch 10 - leap.jpg

"Double dutch teaches the kids focus and competitiveness," says Jay-Short, "but it also teaches them sportsman-like conduct and how to work with each other, using words to solve conflict and maintaining respect. So we teach a lot."

Nanny's double dutch  1 stretching .jpg

The team, she says, is like a family, going to movies and doing community service together in addition to practices. But she says the kids are pretty serious about their competitions. "Before they even start sometimes they'll tell me 'my chest is pounding, my palms are sweaty.' Sometimes they don't want the others to talk to them because they're so focused."

Here's a look at the team in action at a recent fundraiser. (The show starts around the 8 minute mark -- things get really good after the 9:30 mark.)

Nanny's Double Dutch 4 - push ups.jpg

Nanny's Double Dutch 5 -Flip.jpg

"Double dutch is a sport," says Jay-Short. "People are working to have it included in the Olympics."

Double dutch teams compete on three levels. The first is kind of like choreography -- jumpers have to complete certain steps within an allotted time period. "If you don't complete them all you lose points. If you do complete them, you gain points." Next is speed -- jumping as fast as you can for two minutes without making mistakes. "A floor judge counts every time the jumpers left foot touches the ground." The third part of the competition involves freestyle tricks, where competitors try to wow the judges with stunts.

Nanny's Double dutch 9 tricks.jpg

Nanny's Double dutch 11 tandem .jpg

Nanny's Double Dutch 12 African American Day at the plaza.jpg

In June, while competing at the US World Tournament in Georgia, Jay-Short and her team met a group from Tokyo and were invited to join their world tournament later this month. They've traveled to competitions and workshops around the US, but this is their first opportunity to travel abroad.

The team has been training and raising money for months, and in a couple of weeks, five young women from the Capital Region will be one of three US teams to compete and workshop with double dutch teams from Japan, North Korea and Belgium at the World Double Dutch Tournament in Tokyo.

Nanny's Double Dutch 7 - Team Tokyo.jpg

They've raised $11,000 for their plane fare, but Jay-Short says they still need about $6,000 to cover hotels, meals, fees and other expenses. They're accepting donations online. They're also holding a fundraiser this Friday (March 9) at the Victory Dream Center at 25 Warren Street in Albany at which they'll be selling lunches (11:30 am-2 pm, $12) and dinners (5-8 pm, $15).


This is really awesome. I can't think of any more succinct way to put that. Thank you for including this AOA.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

What's All Over Albany?

All Over Albany is for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. In other words, it's for you. It's kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who can help you find out what's up. Oh, and our friends call us AOA.


Recently on All Over Albany

Who owns this street, grinder pumps, just-arrived email, a school expansion, and other exciting tales of the Albany Planning Board

Exciting Tales of the Albany Planning Board is a program recorded before a live studio audience once a month in which the fates of multi-million... (more)

Cynthia Nixon is running for governor

It's official: Cynthia Nixon is running for governor. She's lining up a challenge to Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic primary. That's her announcement video embedded... (more)

Miranda Sings at The Egg

The comedy act Miranda Sings will be at The Egg July 13. Tickets are on sale now -- they're $39.50 and up. The title for... (more)

Hungry Hollow closing

The Hungry Hollow -- the long-planned cafe in the Sheridan Hollow neighborhood redevelopment -- is set close after lunch this Friday, Steve Barnes reports. [TU... (more)

The NCAA women's basketball regional is at the TU Center later this week

Let's look ahead to the weekend: One of the NCAA women's basketball regionals will be at the TU Center this Saturday and the following Monday.... (more)

Recent Comments

Washington Avenue definitely needs more than one lane in each direction, but that doesn't mean it can't be redesigned. They can reduce the size of the lanes, add a median, and add a protected bike lane where the shoulder of the road now lies. I agree, however, that the entire Harriman loop would have to be redesigned and that includes those over-passes, so this would be an extremely expensive undertaking if they want to do it right. But there could be significant development on the land that is now wasted by asphalt that could offset that cost and bulk up the tax base for the city.

Studying the future direction of Washington Ave

...has 14 comments, most recently from Mk

787 is sticking around for a long time, but if you want to change it the time to start is now

...has 2 comments, most recently from Anonymous

A good home inspector?

...has 17 comments, most recently from Sally

Morning Blend for Mar 19

...has 1 comment, most recently from Lu

Favorite local foods 2017

...has 7 comments, most recently from Amy H