Forum: General / Hip Hop / Locking

What is locking?
By rayraydanca7
On Thu Mar 17, 2005 01:50 PM
Made sticky by glitterfairy (42646) on 2005-05-07 05:18:49 Some absolutely beautiful responses here, thank you very much!

I feel really stupid but I am new...I would like to know what "locking" is. If anyone has a short description of what it is or how to do it thatd be great!! ^.^

14 Replies to What is locking?

Locking and Popping brief histories plus resources... (karma: 1)
By Boogiewalker34
On Thu Mar 17, 2005 10:50 PM
Hey RayRay,

Don't feel stupid. You're here to learn. And the internet is an AMAZING resource! So, here's a brief history of Funk Styles and some resources you can use to learn more on your own!

(also, I think I'm going to ask the moderators to make this a sticky, for all the people in the future that have the same question that you did...)


G-boogie, the boogiewalker

Locking and Popping: a brief history (sorry for any historical errors)

Locking is a dance that was originated by a man named Don Campbell in LA during the early 70's. Don was an art student at Trade Tech college in LA; every day, he and his buddies would get together in the cafeteria for lunch. There would always be a bunch of people dancing to soul music around a juke box in the cafeteria. Don used to sit there and just draw the dancers, but then he started to learn some of the soul steps. However, Don had a more "jerky" style of dancing and he wasn't particularly smooth. He would often pause between moves to think of what he would do next.

One day, he paused in a certain position while trying to do the funky chicken. Pretty soon, every time he would try to do the funky chicken, he would end up in the same pause. Pretty soon, Don's buddies would cheer him on, saying, "yo, Don! Do that funky lock you do, man!" As Don got better and better, the "lock" became his signature move. Pretty soon, he became known around school as "Don Campbellock". He began developing his own style and it was radically different than the smooth soul steps, but it still incorporated elements of many of them.

His dance became highly improvisational. He would play with anything he had at hand and do tricks with it while dancing (e.g. his hat, a handkerchief, a cane, etc.). But he would always end up in his signature lock pose. He would also twirl his wrist up towards his head (these later became known as "wrist rolls"). One day, he was dancing and saw a friend in the crowd around him. He pointed at the friend. Then he pointed at another friend. Soon, the point (also known as the "Uncle Sam") became another part of the idiom of Don's dance.

After a while, Don was regularly winning dance competetions at many of the black nightclubs in LA, most famously, the Crenshaw Flats Club. It was here that Don met Fred "Mr. Penguin" Barry, later known as "Rerun" on the 70's sitcom, "What's Happenin'?". Don taught Fred how to do his dance. Soon, they were a team, doing highly improvisational and acrobatic forms of dance at these clubs. Don soon met a group of other dancers and formed his first group, "the Campbellock Dancers". The members of the original Campbellock Dancers included: Don "Campbellock" Campbell, Greg "Campbellock Jr." Pope, James "the Original Skeeter Rabbit" Higgins, Leo "Fluky Luke" Williamson, Adolfo "Shabba-Doo" Quiñones (O-zone from the Golan-Globus movies, "Breakin'" and "Breakin' 2: The Electric Boogaloo"), Toni "Ruby" Basil (world-reknowned choreographer; known for her hit 80's single, "Mickey"), Charles "Slim the Robot" Williams and Fred "Mr. Penguin" Barry (Rerun from "What's Happenin'?").

A short while later, they were contacted to perform on Soul Train. Their exposure on nation-wide television created a dance craze. Before the Lockers, almost all dances had been regional: what was done in NYC stayed in NYC and its surrounding areas; what was done in Chicago stayed in Chicago and its outlying suburbs. But now, Locking exploded in major black urban populations across the country. The "Campbellock Dancers" also had a new named coined for them by Network Television producers (who found "the Campbellock Dancers" to be too clumsy to pronounce on-air): they simply became, "the Lockers". They appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, The Carrol Burnette show, Soul Train, Saturday Night Live, 90-Minutes Live on CBS, a couple of episodes of "What's Happenin'?" and even had their own NBC Saturday morning Cartoon Special.

By the mid-70's, the Lockers were having some trouble maintaining their media exposure. Locking had started to get "played-out": it was "old hat". But Don revamped the Lockers and they appeared again in the late 70's. But they were eclipsed now by another West Coast dance style which involved illusional movements and waves and muscular "pops".

In the mid 70's, Sam Solomon was a teenager growing up in Northern California near Sacramento. One day, while he was dancing around his house to some music on the radio, his uncle said to him, "yeah boy! Do that boogaloo!" Sam replied, "what's a "boogaloo"?" His uncle told him: "it means you're gettin' down!" Sam's style involved large rolling hip movements and jerky stops. He would take inspiration from different motions, even developing one floor move while immitating the stiff walk of a senior citizen (this move is now known as the "old man").

Sam became one of the founders of the "Electric Booalaoo Lockers", a group inspired by the Lockers and their dance style. But soon Sam started winning dance competitions by simply doing an "old man" across the floor! While in Long Beach, CA in 1977, Sam taught his style to his cousin, Pete. Pete added muscular pops on the beat with his arms and his chest. He became known as "Poppin' Pete". Soon, the Electric Boogaloos were no longer doing the Locking style. They called their style "Boogaloo" and dropped the "Lockers" appendage from their group's name. They still exist as the "Electric Boogaloos" (check out their website: . . .). Their current members include mostly OG's, including "Boogaloo Sam" Solomon, "Poppin' Pete" Solomon, "Suga Pop", "Skeeter Rabbit" (NOT James Higgins of the Campbellock Dancers) and, from New York City, one of the OG members of the Rocksteady Crew, "Mr. Wiggles".

Anyway, that's a basic overview of Locking and Popping's related history. Collectively, the two styles are known as "West Coast" styles (as compared to B-boying/Breaking/Uprocking, which are East Coast/NYC-based in their origins) or "Funk Styles", since both "Popping" and "Locking" were originally done to live funk music in the 1970's.

As a final note: "Popping" is a much broader stylistic umbrella term than is "Locking". "Popping" can mean many different smaller, incorporated styles: waving, tutting, popping/hitting, ticking, strobing, dime stoping, strutting, fillmore (named for an area in SF where this style oringated), "sac"-ing (named for Sacramento, CA, where this style came from), boogaloo, electric boogie (east coast variation), animating, gliding, abstract/liquid, Cobra-style, etc.--sorry if I've left any out; there's ALOT of styles!)

Ok, well I hope this helps!


G-boogie, the boogiewalker

for more info., visit: . . . (go to the history page) . . . . . . . . . . . . (go to the locking forum) . . . (website run by Greg "Campbellock Jr." Pope and James "The Original Skeeter Rabbit" Higgins--two of the original, first generation Campbellock Dancers...) . . . (Chain Reaction, another old school Locking group)
--for more info., check out bboy.or . . . 's two DVD set, "Learn How to Breakdance Step-By-Step"; there are interviews with Don Campbell and a masterclass with Medea Sirkas/Breakbeat Assassins' Zulu Gremlin on the Bonus features part of the "Basic Moves" disc. These will give you a little more history and show you some of the basic Locking and Popping moves/vocabulary. It's about $30.00, but it's WORTH it, believe me.
Here are some fun video examples of Locking (karma: 1)
By Boogiewalker34
On Thu Mar 17, 2005 10:52 PM
Edited by Boogiewalker34 (108192) on 2005-03-17 22:41:54 I left out a link
Here are some videos that can help you see what Locking looks like. (links courtesy of TrippyJing--thanks man!)


G-boogie, the boogiewalker . . .

and the other video link: . . .
re: What is locking?
By Dancer_4_Life1
On Thu Apr 28, 2005 04:43 PM
thanks for the videos they were good fun to watch.. there were some really good moves in there
re: What is locking?
By centre_stage1
On Thu Jun 16, 2005 10:49 PM
dont worry ur not the only one i have no i dea wat locking and poping is. but i sort have a idea now. there soo many different styles its confusing
re: What is locking?
By singin47
On Fri Jul 22, 2005 04:03 PM
haha fun post
re: What is locking?
By singin47
On Fri Jul 22, 2005 04:04 PM
haha fun post..never knew the history!
re: What is locking?
By benjaminlibl
On Mon Sep 24, 2007 07:59 AM
As I'm kind of a noob on locking, I can't say I knew all of this. But it's pretty cool.
re: What is locking?
By disco_dancer4member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:31 AM
Hi i jst want to say im a disco dancer really but i do hip hop at competitions and usually do wel.. but i thought id answer the question. when you lock your joints so everything luks sleak and flows into one another:)x
re: What is locking?
By Boogiewalker34
On Tue Oct 23, 2007 07:39 PM
Actually, DiscoDancer4, that's not really true. If you actually read the sticky, you'd know that LOCKING (originally called "Campbellocking") is a dance style from the 70's created by Don Campbell and the lockers.

You seem to be describing more what would be called "popping" or "waving"... completely different dances...


CSLA Funkstyles
re: What is locking?
By livelovedance8
On Mon Oct 29, 2007 12:59 PM
how thee hell am i going to explain this.
its really strict movements;
to create a robotice look?

almost like you move then you LOCK your muscles.
hint the keyword locking.

hope this helped.
...or didn't.
re: What is locking?
By Jin
On Sat Mar 29, 2008 12:37 PM
you shouldn't feel stupid!!! I don' t know, what is locking, as well
re: What is locking?
By Dancer_Gemma
On Fri May 29, 2009 03:05 PM
Ok these tips are really helpful. I never knew there was SO much to locking. Oh and it helps to focus on the way you breath as well. You'll see what I mean if you do it.
re: What is locking?
By gladbarcelona
On Fri Jul 17, 2009 09:27 AM
Hi!!! I'm from Spain, and here there is not culture about hip hop...a lot of breakers-poppers-lockers...nut not culture!!
im really happy because of learning this damn good!
my msn is

peace :)

Comment #9767460 deleted
Removed by Sumayah (204191) on 2011-11-01 19:13:38 Do not copy and paste the same reply in multiple threads. That is considered spamming the boards and is a bannable offense.


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