Locking (dance)

Locking (dance)

Locking (originally Campbellocking) is a style of funk dance and street dance, which is today also associated with hip hop. It relies on fast and distinct arm and hand movements combined with more relaxed hips and legs. The movements are generally large and exaggerated, and often very rhythmic and tightly synched with the music. Locking is quite performance oriented, often interacting with the audience by smiling or giving them a high five, and some moves are quite comical in nature.

Locking was originally danced to traditional funk, such as James Brown. Funk music is still commonly favored by locking dancers, and used by many competitions such as the locking division of Juste Debout.

The name is derived from the original "lock" posture invented by Campbell. While doing this most common posture in locking, the dancers are like locking a door with a key. The name has nothing to do with the freezing element in locking. When you're locking something, you're moving not freezing.

A locker is a locking dancer. Lockers commonly use a distinctive dress style, such as colorful clothing with stripes and suspenders.


The beginning of Locking can be traced to one man, Don Campbell. In the late 1960s he put together several fad dances adding moves of his own (notably the "Lock") when performing. The original lock was created by accident: Don Campbell couldn't do a move called the "Funky Chicken" and stopped at a particular point. He wasn't able to perform it fluently, for he couldn't remember which step to take next. (Even the acting towards the audience was of spontaneous nature: people started laughing at Don because of his unfamiliar moves, whereas he started pointing at them.) These halts soon became popular as Don added them into his performances. The resulting dance was called Campbellocking, which was later shortened to Locking. In the early 1970s this set off a movement of Locking dance groups. The most notable was when Campbell formed the dance group The Lockers and set the foundation for locking dance and clothes style.

Clothes style can consist of loud striped socks, pegged pants that stopped at the knees, bright colorful satin shirts with big collars, big colorful bow ties, gigantic Apple Boy hats, and white gloves.

Later locking became part of the growing hip hop dance culture, and has influenced more recent styles such as popping, breakdancing and liquiding. Locking is still quite popular and many current artists such as Beyoncé Knowles feature moves derived from Locking steps in their videos.


Locking is a dance that came from the old '70s funk dancing. It may be done in solo or in unison with two or more dancers doing steps or handshakes together. A locker may smile while performing to emphasize the comical nature of the dance; other times, a serious demeanor will be maintained to place emphasis on technique. Other important stylistic features is waving of arms, pointing, walking stationary and grabbing and rotating the cap or hat. Don Campbell was the originator of the original freezes in 1971 which were called "locks"; he incorporated his unique rhythm and added gestures such as points and handclaps. Other dancers also adapted this style while adding some of the steps and moves listed below:

Alpha, created by Alpha Anderson;The Skeeter Rabbit, created by James "Skeeter Rabbit" Higgins;Stop 'n' Go, created by Greg "Campbellock Jr." Pope;Scooby Doo, created by Jimmy "Scooby Doo" Foster;Whichaway, created by Leo Williamson

Locking is by nature an improvisational dance, but also consists of a set of signature moves of locking pioneers. However, many lockers alter or blend these with other moves or create their own. In general lockers will often put a small pause and move up on the second and fourth beats to emphasize the locking and never use closed fists.;Alpha/applejax/Oilwells:One leg is kicked forward from a crouching position while the upper body is leaned backwards supported by both hands.;Break down:in the squatting position, shift the pelvis to the side, then back to center and stand up then down and shift to the other side, both hands doing the rotation (not twirl).;Bop-top:a bop top is where you make a 70s face step with it and some hand gesture;Box split:A semi-split done with one leg bent, which enables the dancer to get up again in one swift movement.;Crazy horse or Whichaway:Altering kicks to the sides with right and left legs, upper body stationary with arms in front as if holding reins .;Funky Broadway:Moving the feet from a 'V' position to an upside-down 'V' position, while moving to the side. The body generally lags behind. ;Funky Chicken:Feet move from side to side with small kicks each way, while moving the body up and down. (This is different from the James Brown Funky Chicken.);Groove Walk or Rock-Steady or The Bump:Stepping forward, the hip of your front foot is thrusted towards the front foot, brought back, dipped forward towards the front foot as you take a step with your back foot (sometimes used to get across the dance floor with some funk in your step);Hop kick:A high, quick kick of one leg while standing straight on the other.;Knee Drop:Drop to the knees with knees pointing inwards (into a W shape leg position).;Leo Walk:A funky two step where the first is an exaggerated step in a particular direction, followed by sliding of the second foot along the floor to meet the first;Lock:Bending slightly forward with arms forming a circle downward, as if lifting a heavy object.;Pacing:A quick punch to the side, with hand starting just below the shoulder. (Fist should still be open.);Pimp Walk:Similar to the Scooby Walk, but hands stay beside the dancer. ;Stomp the cockroach:Going down on one knee, with the other leg pointing out to the side, then pounding the floor.;Scooby doo:Taking a stationary forward step, then making a Lock;Scooby walk:Walking forward, stopping and bending knees outward with each step, while bringing forward the opposite arms. ;Scootbot or scoobop:Skipping while making the motion of an exaggerated step to the left or right.The Skeeter Rabbit :a kick and shiffle hop move;Stop-and-go/Busstop:Taking a step back and to the left/right, then forward again.;Uncle Sam points:A quick, extended pointing gesture, usually held for a few seconds for emphasis;Watergate:;Wrist roll or Twirl:Twirling wrists while moving arms up and down in pace.

ee also



* [http://web.mac.com/groovaloos/groovaloos/HOME/Entries/2008/4/1_GROOVALOO_FEATURED_IN_DANCE_SPIRIT!.html Popping ain't locking] Urban Myth, Wendy Garofoli, Dance Spirit Magazine, April 1st 2008.

External links

* [http://ozfunkstylist.com/ OzFunkstylist.com] An Australian dance community with profiles, messaging and more!
* [http://www.lockerlegends.net/ LockerLegends] The official website of some of the original members of The Lockers.
* [http://www.superawesomefunk.com/ SuperAwesomeFunk] A blog dedicated to spreading knowledge of Locking with articles, videos, events and more.
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sqx6EJ1pog Video of Locking] at the Red Bull BC One competition in Berlin 2005

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