Know Your Genres

Know Your L.A. Hip-Hop Dances: Locking Is So Easy, Even Dom DeLuise Can Do It

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Tue, Dec 13, 2011 at 5:30 AM

[Editor's Note: Writer Jessica A. Koslow is a USC master's student writing her thesis on krumping. Know Your L.A. Hip-Hop Dances explores some of the most popular street dances in our city.]


Not to be confused with popping, locking is the signature move of Rerun from What's Happening!! The funky dance style is characterized by bending knees and elbows, rotating forearms, hops, and pointing fingers.

Background: In Los Angeles in the late 1960s, while attempting the Funky Chicken, Don "Campbellock" Campbell inadvertently created what is now known as the "locking" motion, or freezing to the beat. After folks seemed to like it, he named the style Campbellocking, after himself, though it was soon shortened to Locking. Campbell joined Soul Train as a regular dancer in 1971, but left after two years to found the world-famous Lockers. According to a source, he was asked to leave "Soul Train" because he requested the performers receive payment.

Even Justin Timberlake has paid his respects to The Lockers, who were comprised of seven original members -- including Campbell's one-time girlfriend Toni Basil who went on to score a No. 1 hit in 1982 with "Mickey." The Lockers were also known for their distinctive duds: striped knee socks, suspenders, hats and short pants.

In 1975 they were on Saturday Night Live! More recently, Usher has done himself some locking -- see above -- and plenty of other celebs have incorporated locking moves into their videos and routines, from Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera to the Jacksons. Here's the Jackson 5 in 1977 with Dom DeLuise!

Nowadays, a new crew of lockers continues the tradition of dancing to funk music, and has also broadened the beat to include hip-hop, house, R&B and rock 'n' roll. Shyoshi is one such group. (Video below.)

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