Our Story of the History of Locking


:as seen through the eyes of some of the original pioneers

NOTE: History is a compilation of historical events, most history is passed down legendary information, as seen from various perspectives, some are documented information passed down through writings or first hand eye witnesses. This information has been the results of first hand eye witnesses, and original creators and contributors from the ORIGINAL locking era. There are various historical accounts of various events in the 4 decades of Lockings existence. But there is only ONE Original era, which was seen through the many eyes that experienced it, which all came together to produce  its foundation ..Read and Enjoy

Locking or Campbellocking is a dance art form with improvisational steps called the locks. These steps were created by Don Campbell in the nightclubs of Los Angeles in the early 1970s.

This dance and subculture quickly caught on and was soon the rage of a new television dance show called Soul Train. Individual dancers displayed quick locking and pointing movements along with hand slaps and splits.

Don Campbell along with dancers like Greg “Campbell JrPope, Jimmy “Scooby doo” Foster, Fred “Mr. Penguin” Berry ( AKA Rerun),Damita Jo Freeman, The Go-Go- Brothers (Tony Lewis and Edwin “Buddy” Lombard),Kevin “YoYo”Lombard, James “Skeeter Rabbit” Higgins, Leo “Fluky Luke” Williamson, Johnny “Sambo Lock” McCloud,Damita Jo Freeman, Charles “Robot” Washington, Bill “Slim Robot” Williams, Alpha Anderson, Fredie Maxie, Guy “Shocklock” Evans, Tito Collins, Jeffery Daniels, Arnetta “Netta Bug” Johnson and SEVERAL other old school originals would meet in nightclubs like, ” The Citadel” in Hollywood, The Summit on the Hill or Mavericks Flats and share steps and moves.
 photo mavricksflatscopy.png
Don Campbell Himself created, initiated and emphasized the improvisational dance style of “Campbellocking.”

Don “Campbellock” Campbell early soul Train Line

Don and his partner, Damita Jo Freeman toured with the Soul Train Gang. Shortly after, Don comprised a group of improvisational solo style locking dancers (Each dancer would step out do his solo and step back in line) comprised of Don Campbell, Fred “Mr. Penguin” Berry, Charles Robot, Slim Robot and Sambo Lock. They were called the “ Campbellock Dancers“.

During that same time, Greg Campbell Jr. Pope “Scooby doo” Foster, Leo “Fluky Luke” Williamson (Then called LeoLock”, Tony and Buddy Go-Go and Skeeter Rabbit, Arnetta Johnson, were creating steps that were performed in unison. A movement towards group dancing was taking place in Watts, California.

In 1972 The Go-Go brothers (Tony and Buddy along with the Original Skeeter Rabbitt & Kevin YoYo ) combined to form the first synchronized locking dance group; performing skits and routines in both large arenas as well as small high school functions.

In late 1972, early 1973 Scooby Doo and  Greg Campbellock Jr. combined with the Go- Go Brothers (Tony & Buddy), Skeeter Rabbitt (OG) and with female lockers Arnetta Johnson, Lorna Dune & Shelly Cepeda formed the first unisex Locking group called, “Creative Generation“. This group studied dance, taught, performed and toured as members of the Legendary Watts Writers Workshop.

Later that summer,Is when  Don Campbell along with Toni Basil organized and introduced the group, “THE LOCKERS”( originally named the campbellock dancers after Don Campbell’s first group). “The Lockers” was one of the most dynamic, influential groups in the history of the dance, comprising both improvisational dancers and synchronized dancers to form a group who could attract the culturally diverse ,COMMERCIAL audiences

Greg Cambellock Jr left his first group “Creative Generation” and introduced to the group (The Lockers), synchronized locking choreography (from his Creative Generation experience, at the Watts Writers Workshop). Him along with Don Campbell, “Slim Robot”, Fred “Rerun” Berry, Fluky Luke, Trained Ballerina & Chorographer Toni Basil, along with a young new talent, from Chicago Adolfo “Shabba Doo” Quinones. The Dance style of Locking went from just a style to a performance artform, and was NOW revealed to the world.

During the groups existence, in the early 70’s. Other OG dancers such as Tony Go-Go and The Original Skeeter Rabbitt were added or toured with the Original Group The Lockers

All the way up into the 80s the group was reconstructed many times with various dancers added or dropped as members.As the group went through many personal & professional transitions

Also, during the early to mid 70s period other urban groups such as 33RPM and the Ghetto Dancers were also formed (see acknowledgement page). These were comprised of various combinations of other old school locking (dancers) pioneers. Once the dance was introduced on National Television, It set off a dance phenomenon which now began spreading from the Los Angeles inner city, to the once segregated Suburbs, of Orange County the once segregated surrounding areas, And eventually the style was seen and began to be imitated across the Country. Some of these newly found admirers of the style found themselves exposed to the ORIGINAL movement and Identified with the Original Foundation, Because the Dance style ONLY was exposed through site.The Original Culture ,History and Foundation was only passed on to those that lived or sought the inner city experience.The discovery of the Newly discovered “Dance style”  enticed supburban groups, promoters, dancers and managers, who were normally segregated to flood the scene . Some were driven by the love, facination and respect for the artform. Others simply ignored any foundatition and only disired to exploit an artform to a commercial market. Many of these dancers and groups, who bypassed the Foundation to simply imitate the moves as they thought they saw them, they were known by the real street sub-culture simply as “SLOP lockers”.

Note: Many of these groups and individules quickly clammered to exploit not just the artform of locking but it’s entire culture and roots. Many renamed steps and  plagerized entire taped routines. Some never learned the internal rules of the sub-culture. They never learned or inquired about the brotherhood which made locking great. They only attemped to capitalize, exploit and alter the history of locking.

Many don’t understand what the History &; background has to do with the dance of Locking, Many wonder why it just can’t be a dance style, show or circus act..WATCH this video WATTS STAX and see what the inspiration was and still is for those that KEEP IT REAL

By 1973 there were an excess of  pioneers known as lockers who made their name and reputations in the urban communities and night clubs. The few known as the Original members of ”The Lockers Group” became the internationally famous.  But Dancers Like Guy “Shocklock” Evans, Jeffery “Cat Man” Macintire, Eugene “F&M” Henderson, Roy “Lie Lock”,  ”Sneaky T”, Enock “Elmer Fudd”, John “Okiedoke” Wilson ”Elmer Fud’ Smith (RIP), , Steve “Sinbad” Crane, Arnetta “Nettabug” Johnson,Greg “Capt Crunch” Dandridge, Fredi Maxie and several others were some of the Street legends, who contributed.

By the mid 1970s locking had now been seen by many, and was now spreading. Southern California now had the Originating movement, but the dance now had migrated from the Inner city to suburban areas, such as Orange County California, where some of the originals were now accepted and shared the dance style with locals in that area, and to the Ventura Valley where those that seen an imitated the dance style open the doors to other eyes. But the Original style continued to develop in the Southern California Hoods of Watts, South Central , Compton and Inglewood, with Other 80s groups and Old School legends who bridged the gap between Locking and Popping

There were many who danced as members of the group “The Lockers” and many more who are refered to as Lockers by virtue of the dance of locking, which they have represented

In 1974 Jimmy “Scoobydoo Foster toured with a group called “Something Special’ introducing Locking along with various other dances internationally , into Japan,

By 1975 the artform had evolved both socially and professionally and in the late 1970’s, “The Original Lockers Group disbanded” and a third generation was formed in the mid 1980’s, adding old school pioneer “Alpha“Anderson,(who created the alpha floor move) along with old schoolers from the mid 70s,  Lewis “Deputy” Green,  Lionel “Big D” Douglas“and Anna “Lollipop” Sanchez, and 2nd generation GoGo brothers Manny “Loose Caboose” Tristin  this formed the third generation “LOCKERS” Group. In the mid 1970′s Jimmy Scooby do Foster and a Group called “Something Special “was the first to internationally expose Asia to Locking along with other Cultural social dances. In the Late 70s Watts groups, such as the second generation of Kaptin Krunch (Charles Washington of the FBs) and his Funky Bunch followed the legacy of the Inner City Streets, by performing on Soul Train and in the 80s and as members of the Lockers in a 1984 performance, dancing both Locking & Popping.  By the mid 1980′s, Tony Go-Go Lewis established a school  re-introducing the locking dance art in Japan. Today, there is a wave of interest to know and understand the history and sub-culture of a true dance phenomenon all over the world.

By no means were these the only groups or contributors ( There are so many) to this dance and subculture that helped to form the multi style and cultures of today’s hip hop History of anything begans with an inspiration and an action, The inspiration of the artform came from a struggle of a people, the and action was put into place by Don Campbell, The early history stims from this one person through a group of early contributors to a specific area at a specific time in history,The innercity of South central Los Angeles, Watts & Compton California will always be that inception point in history, the issues surrounding those times will always be the inspiration.from there it insited a streetdance movement with purpose and pride. Today when one speaks of Locking history it can include many points of exposure to the style and all create an ever expanding chapter
Many thanks to Don Campbell and the many other Old and New School pioneers.

Many ask why can’t Locking just be an act like the circus, why can’t it just be entertainment , well it can be entertainment, but not like clowns, or minstril , it means much more check out the video below, soul and funk music linked to what the influences was that made this dance great


Any Questions.. please send us an email at info@lockerlegends.net .  

Please send all comments on our articles to: feedback@lockerlegends.net


Comments are closed.