About Locking - Part 5
Don Campbellock signature Moves
But as the popularity of the dance grew on the streets of Los Angeles, the set of the hit T.V. show “SoulTrain”, and in living rooms across America, Don was forced to keep challenging himself and his creativity to make himself stand out above all others doing his dance. And He did.
Below is an overview of Don’s signature moves which are now considered as the fundamental moves of Locking. For certain movements, “Terms” were used throughout the years as a way to try and identify/structure the dance.
In Feb.1971, Don Campbell under the name Don “SoulTrain” Campbell (Based on the popularity of himself and his dance “The Campbellock” on SoulTrain) released a song about his dance on Stanton Records.
In the song, Don talks about “Steppin’ to the side and giving yourself 5”. In the United States, Giving someone 5 is like a handshake. It is a sense of Acknowledgement and a Greeting between 2 people. You acknowledge the person by slapping your palm on top of their palm and vice versa.
But what happens when no one is around to acknowledge you, then give yourself 5 and acknowledge yourself. Like “Hey, I am here!” It is not a clap. It is meant to be palm to Palm.
Don not only gave himself “5”, he also gave the floor “5”. Sometimes, he would slap the ground with his palm so hard on the stage, you could hear it cause it was louder than the music that was playing. This was another spontaneous movement meant to be dictated by the feel of the music and the expression of the individual. It was never premeditated.
Other Terms Used:
The terms “Slapping Roaches” or “Killing Roaches” were used throughout the years as a way to try to identify/structure the dance. These terms did not come from Don “Campbellock” Campbell. Those terms are derogatory since they both highlight and make fun of the experiences poor people face in the ghetto.
The Lock is meant to be one continuous motion. Up, Down, Up, Down, etc. This motion was meant to keep the body moving with the music.
It was never meant to be broken down into 2 separate movements.
Sometimes when you hear a part of the music that suits the moment, you might freeze the motion that is “The Lock” either “Up” or “Down”. “The Uplock” being the “Up” part, and “The Lock” being the “Down” part. It’s still “The Lock”, up or down!
Other Terms Used:
The term “The Muscle Man” were used throughout the years as a way to try to identify/structure the dance. These terms did not come from Don “Campbellock” Campbell.
One night in a club, Don arrived early to get loose before the dance contest. As Don was doing his thing, a group of ladies came in and sat next to the dance floor were Don was.
One lady decides to start mocking and making fun of Don. Don does a few movements, then abruptly points at the lady. She seems bothered and continues to make fun of him. So Don does a few movements and points in her direction again. She is clearly mad at this point, as her girlfriends start to make fun of her. Don does a few movements then points at her one last time with a smile and blow of a kiss.
This encounter solidified Don’s use of this movement forever as it was now a part of his arsenal of movement he would use at any given moment.
You don’t have to cross your heart, point in just one direction, do lots of points in a row or in every direction.
The Points just need to have purpose. You point at the wall. You point at your shoe. You point at a person. Know what you are pointing at, for the movement to have a bigger impact.
Another spontaneous movement meant to be dictated by the feel of the music and the expression of the individual. It was never premeditated.
Other Terms Used:
The term “Uncle Sams” or “The Uncle Sam Points” were used throughout the years as a way to try to identify/structure the dance. These terms did not come from Don “Campbellock” Campbell.
Everything Don “Campbellock” Campbell did was spontaneous, spur of the moment, and done with the music.
And “The Wrist Rolls were no exception. They weren’t done with every movement. They were the right movement, used at the right time, to accentuate a movement. To put something extra on it. You don’t just point. You wrist roll and point. You don’t just “Hambone”. You wrist roll and “Hambone.
You didn’t just keep wrist rolling for no reason or add extra wrist rolls to something. It might not match the music or you might be off beat. It had a purpose. And the purpose was up to you.
When Don “Campbellock” Campbell was on the dance floor, he was one with the music and always on beat. The way he stayed on beat was by snapping his fingers to the music. It was his natural groove to the music. And it showed in the way he danced.
His upper body was in tune with his lower body at all times, which allowed him to change levels, move different parts of his body at the same time, and explode with power when the time was right. He didn’t snap his fingers all the time. But when he just wanted to groove he did.
“I wasn’t tryin’ to do no pacing. I was just snapping my fingers to the music, dancing to the beat. Waiting for that spot in the song, where I was gonna cut up and put on a show.”
Other Terms Used:
The terms “Keeping The Beat”, “Keeping Time” or “Pacing” were used throughout the years as a way to try to identify/structure the dance. These terms did not come from Don “Campbellock” Campbell.
Don “Campbellock” Campbell was born in St. Missouri. But Don’s parents were from Alabama. So Don had a lot of Southern Influences growing up.
One of them was an old southern dance called “The Hambone”, which was a way of dancing and making music which involved: stomping, clapping, and slapping/patting the arms, legs, chest, cheeks and mouth.
Don used “The Hambone” in his dance, in such a way, that it highlighted his movements and gave them sound. Which was unique especially when there were instances of no music.
You can see it in performances, when he slaps his back thigh a few times, his knee cap twice, pats his lips a few times, then blows a kiss. Being showman and a musician all in one.
Think of it as making beats on a table. Or using spoons to make music. Or playing buckets on the street. But instead of using instruments, you use your hands and your body.
These were spontaneous movements meant to be dictated by the feel of the music and the expression of the individual. It was never predetermined or premeditated.