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About Locking - Part 4

The Campbellock Essence

A.k.a Locking

"When I was ready to go, I would just go, trying to be creative with the music. I didn't know what I was gonna do till I did it. Simple as that!"

The essence of locking can be difficult to understand. It is also probably the reason why many teachers aren’t able to objectively pass it on to their students.

When Don says: “Take the dance and make it your own! Can’t nobody beat you at being you!” What does that mean?

"When I was out on that floor, I wasn’t trying to come up with steps then name them. That's not and has never been what my dance was about. That's not how creativity works. You got to let it flow. And whatever comes out is you being you."

If you are looking at the 1st of “The Campbellock Dancers/The Lockers, they all have a very distinctive personality which transcends into the way they dance. They all learned the dance by looking at Don, trying their best to do everything he was doing. They also understood that there was only one Don “Campbellock” Campbell and they would never be able to “be him”! So they each added their own flavor into the dance and created their own steps.

Now it’s important to realize that they never removed anything Don created, they only added to it. Without what Don created there is no Locking!!

The essence of The Campbellock a.k.a. Locking is your own style, creativity, personality, showmanship mixed in with the movements of Don himself.

“The Lock” was named by Sam Williams to acknowledge the movement Don was predominantly doing. In those days in college people called each other by their last name. So Sam said “Do That Lock, Campbell, Do That Lock”. What came next was Don’s creativity that flowed through this movement that made the dance work. And that’s how Don Campbell became “Campbellock”!

When you try to break things down into pieces, especially when the move I was doing was continuous, it doesn't flow the way it's supposed to. What I did was spur of the moment. I was spontaneous, right on the spot. Not making up steps. Especially not naming them.

The Campbellock a.k.a. Locking must be unified with the personality of the dancer. That’s what differentiates you from everyone else; your creativity, skills and connection to the music.

As mentioned in the prelude, Don didn’t planned on creating a dance. What he was doing while dancing was just and simply him getting down, trying to be creative, different, and impress people. He was first expressing his individuality.

Don didn’t dress up to give a style to his dance. What is today considered a locking costume is how Don used to dress all the time.

"How I dressed, How I talked, How I walked. How I danced. They were all me. From the time I step foot out that door til the time I went to bed at night, I was "Campbellock". I didn't need to be nobody else."

So if you can do Don’s moves and be yourself while you dance then you are definitely Campbellocking”.

A good teacher knows that and should always give students the freedom to be themselves. He or she should also be able to teach how Don did the dance he created (not only their way of doing them) if not, they are only teaching subjectively, which is not the original way from which everything started.

To dance this style, you must understand Don (not merely imitate). Be yourself (put in your dance what is special about you and what no one else can do)!

I just went out there and danced. I wasn't trying to create no character! I was trying to put on a show and win dance contests! And when I wasn't performing, it was the same damn thing.

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The performances?

The Dance was never meant to be choreographed or to be about routines. It was originally a dance built for one person. But blossomed into a worldwide phenomenon. The Videos of Don and The Lockers that people see nowadays were made to fit a performance that they were booked for. The performances had to fit the parameters of the performance: lighting, staging, sound and time frame. Basically, you had to create a show within a show. You couldn’t have people just standing while people did solos or just a performance of all solos. So transitional steps were added that already existed but were “lockified” to fit into the performance. These transitional moves were done to transition from one part of the performance to the next or when people did their solo, which was the main way to showcase each individual’s own take on the dance.

Next, we’ll talk about Fundamental moves of Campbellocking.  

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