The Real History of Locking, as told by Don “Cambellock” Campbell
Locking is considered the first Street Dance Style. It was created in 1970 by Don Campbell at LA Trade Technical College. Locking was created as a mistake. Don was being taught by his friends at how to do the Robot Shuffle, when he stumbled upon a movement that shocked his friends, pushing him to continue to “Do That Lock, Campbell. Do That Lock”.
From that moment on, Don “Campbellock” Campbell became a dance maverick, who blazed a distinct trail throughout the clubs of Los Angeles. His dance became so popular, in Feb of 1972, he released the single “The Campbellock” on Stanton Records.
That year, Don also went on to appear The TV show “Soul Train”, where he became a regular dancer and a fan favorite. In 1973, Don was kicked off Soul Train for standing for the right for dancers on the show to get paid for their time and effort.
So together with the Legendary Choreographer Toni Basil, Don founded the dance group first called “The Campbellock Dancers” later called “The Lockers” that would change the face of dance forever.
Don, Toni and The Lockers, which included Greg “Campbellock Jr” Pope, Leo “Fluky Luke” Williamson, Fred “Mr. Penguin” Berry, Adolfo “Shabba-Doo” Quinones, and Bill “Slim the Robot” Williams took the Entertainment industry by storm, with Live Performances, as Awards Show Presenters, Commercial Endorsements, Movies, Guest Appearances on Television, and even their own TV special.
Locking is the freedom of expression, using “The Lock”, as the base from which the movements flow through. In simple terms, it’s freestyle dance, where you are free to move to the music, returning to “The Lock” as the base.
Besides The Lock, Don did a variety of movements when he was creating the dance which is now synonymous with “Locking” Today such as, “The Wrist Roll”, “The Points”, Knee Drops, “Up Lock”, “Down Lock”, “Giving Yourself 5”, “Giving The Floor 5”, Dives, and Splits.
Additional movements were later contributed by Members of The Lockers or Dancers associated with The Lockers. They took moves that already existed and “Lockafied” them. These movements were either brought about because of the need for steps everyone could do together during shows The Lockers did or were movements that the individual members of The Lockers used in their solos for the shows.
These movements include Leo walks (created to Leo “Fluky Luke” Williamson and used in his solos), scoo b doo, scoo bot, stop n’ go, scooby walk (all 4 dances credited to Jimmie “Scooby Doo” Foster but brought to the group by Greg “Campbellock Jr.” Pope for the unison parts of the shows), The Skeeter Rabbit (Credited to Tony “Go Go” Lewis but brought to the group by Greg “Campbellock Jr.” Pope for the unison parts of the shows) and which-a-ways (Credited to Leo ” Fluky Luke” Williamson, used in both solos and unison parts).
Locking is a dance which requires a balance of precision with groove, soul, and funk. Locking has most notably appeared in Music Videos from Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Wyclef, Jean, and more. And if you watch closely, Locking has appeared in dance movies such as 80’s classic “Breakin’ 1&2” to “You Got Served” and the “STEP UP” series.