Locking Dance - The Origins
So it's the late 60s and a young man by the name of Don Campbell is learning and practising some of the social dances of the time. He finds some difficulty doing some steps and freezes as he thinks about how to do it.
Repeat this story a couple of times and a person or two in the background who sees this happening. Throw in a little joke or two about how Don keeps 'locking up' when does his dance moves and you have the beginnings of the dance!
Really it was created by accident??? Yep indeed, like many good things invented by accident it was Don's ability to see that freezing was something distinctive of his own that made this dance possible (and of course those who laughed at him).
In the year 1973 Campbell (nickname 'Don Campbellock') put together a group of dancers who collectively became known as the Lockers. The core 7 lockers comprised of Don Campbell himself, Dave Gregory Pope (Campbellock Jr), Toni Basil, Leo Williamson (Fluky Luke), Fred Berry (Rerun/ Penguin), Bill Williams (Slim The Robot) and Adolfo Quinones (Shabba Doo).
Other dancers were also drafted in from time to time for their performances.
In 1976 Tony 'GoGo' Lewis Foster was brought into the group, while Fred Berry and Toni Basil left earlier in the year to do TV work.
The Lockers were innovative with their performances, including regular appearances on Soul Train, and spots in commercials and The Grammys. They also set the ball rolling for street dancers to be recognised as professionals and negotiated payment for their performances, thus making them the first paid street dance group.
Origins Of The Steps
Many of the steps existed already and were soul steps and party steps of the time. They were put together into a dance and combined with the improvisational steps of each of the lockers.
Each of the dancers had their signature steps which most lockers learn and continue to do to this day. Eg, the Leo Walk was a signature step of Fluky Luke.
Other dancers who were practitioners of locking also created steps such as Jimmy Foster (Scooby Doo) who created steps like the Scooby Doo and Scooby Walk and James Higgins (Skeeter Rabbit) whose signature step was...you guessed it...the Skeeter Rabbit!
No Longer With Us
Unfortunately 2 of the orginal members of The Lockers have sadly passed away:
- Fred Rerun Berry (1951 - 2003)
- Greg 'Campbellock Jr' Pope (1952 - 2010)
Their places in the history of popular dance are unlikely to be forgotten and will be fondly remembered by lockers all over the world.
Lifetime Achievement Award
All surviving members of the lockers were reunited for the Choreographer's Carnival on January 27th 2010. Here they were honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award on this night. Ironically this time with The Lockers would be Greg Pope's last full day here with us and he passed away in the early hours the following day.