THE TERMS LOCKING, ROBOT & POPLOCKING and how do they connect ?
“THE GOOD” “THE BAD” & “THE UGLY”
By James “Skeeter Rabbit” Higgins & Lockerlegends
For several years there has been controversy and question as to how Roboting and Locking connected and also over how or if the artform of popping was inspired or connected to them.Many People have never heard the history ofDon Campbell & Charles Robot starting on Soul train Together, Charles (who also locked) was in The VERY first “CAMPBELLOCK DANCERS” In 1972 They became synonymous on the streetdance scene together and infused the two styles together..
Many ask even if the term POPLOCKING. Is it a valid term? or Does it disrespect both Art forms of Locking and Popping? Many also ask How did this term come about? These and other questions regarding these connections and terms has been the topic of many heated discussions on Facebook & message boards .. We at Lockerlegend have discussed this with many pioneers who existed before these terms ever enteracted. And have found that depending on when and why you became exposed to the Art forms of Locking, Roboting and of Popping, May affect how you perceive the term.
We agree that NOW as the COMMERCIAL market has dictated that the credit, marketing and history of these great dances be distributed separately, But each has definately affected the others existance in todays dance world. There are claims that the term does diservice to both LOCKING & POPPING ,And that it also serves to confuse the public, But what about the Dance and term ROBOTING how does it fit into the equasion. Has the term Poplocking always been cosidered an in accurate term ? We believe not! There was a time in the early 1970s when the major street dance subculture to equate with was LOCKING and Roboting at that time BOTH were considered part of the Locking subculture Most of EVERYTHING else that we see in todays Streetdance subculture began to evolve from those two styles, When other developing street moves and styles began to develope it was only natural that they desired to have a connection with Locking. That is until there became a market for these dances as THERE OWN art forms We believe that for both those that was and wasn’t there it is very easy to see that Popping and boogalooing had its evolutionary ROOTS from Locking & Roboting.along several street dance moves which formed in The northern California cities of Oakland , Richmond and San Francisco. The first PROFESSIONAL group to display all of this as a connection, proved it to be a fact, by dressing like, and naming themselves after the one inspiration that existed, The LOCKERS. They equated themseves with the LOCKING movement. They called themselves “The Electronic Boogaloo LOCKERS”, However their performance was filled with steps like quick hard roboting, gliding,tutting. It was filled with gestures and mimelike moves. There members had names which denoted style represented, In Northern California Dancers Like Ticking Will explain his connection ,with his original group also bearing the name Lockers, that is until their style had developed ,to express different unique moves. So it was only natural that since that since many originally considered themselves “Locker style dancers, that the term adapted by MANY was the combination of the two art forms,” POP LOCKING”. combining Their Locking roots of Roboting along with Popping and other animated moves
At that time many of the old school Poppers, from the innercity hoods and streets were proud to be associated with the continued evolution of locking & Roboting. These pioneering dancers often used the term Poplocking themseves, Later this seamming to be acceptance began to confuse new comers. They began to perceive this to be a new evolution of Locking instead of its own distinct new & separate Art form .Don Campbell the creator of the Locking dance style, once discribed locking as quick pausing or freezing movements, by that account. at that time there was no criteria for exactly how this was to be done, Locking was adapting total creativity as its foundation, So under that criteria Popping could have been considered a evolution of Locking, and also remember that Don Campbell himself referred to a step called “The Robot shuffle” to be the inspiration for his first locking moves. so the connection between the animated styles, mechanical styles , and slow motion mime style were already set within & under the term of Locking. However distiguishing between the type of freezes did not come into play until years later. And at that point the the dance of popping had more of a connection with the Various styles from both Northern & southern California. under the one umbrella term of POPPING. Today individuals try to distinguish the differences between the styles.Insted of the simularities which caused its evolution. Can that be why we, TODAY we cannot use the theory that any dance with ANY element of freezes be considered locking.because we have NOW determined which freezes are considered Locking and which Popping and also which is Robot, But lets remember that was NOT always so..
The innovator of Boogalooing and the founder of the Electric Boogaloos, Sam Soloman (“Boogaloo Sam”) Tells the story of when the name was changed and the term ” LOCKERS” was dropped from their name”, he explains that it was at the insisted suggestion of then manager and promoter Jeff Kutash,for marketing purposes, Was Kutash smart enough to realize that the term Locking and Locking as a dance, itself had already been marketed and that it included Roboting. and there was a need to separate that connection..Therfore what he had was an opportunity to be the first to market, what was perceived as an entirely different Art form ? And was it at that point that a campaign to discredit the Term PopLocking began. and is at that point that some decided that it also needed to be separated into TWO words with two seperate identities? At some point the three dances of Locking Popping & Roboting became totally seperated & confused , with the growing popularity of Popping, Many people began to refer to the Original Dance of LOCKING as PopLocking.again confusing its ORDER of inception. Many of the dancers of the ORIGINAL artform of Locking became frustrated with this confusion of them as Poplockers insted of Lockers and also joined in the campaign to seperate the Term PopLocking.
Well the three art forms will be forever linked through that history although they now do have only two separate identities and two seperate dances.with the third of Roboting being lost in the shuffle But there is also purist who still exist who have used the term Poplocking for decades, to discribe the original artform now known under the general term of Popping, and we believe they have every right , just as we have the right to determine if what we do is Locking or Cambellocking. Locking and Popping EACH went on to have two different marketing strategies,while Roboting became assimulated into popping. For Comercial and marketing purposes this seemed reasonable, both needed its own foundation. But for historical purposes Locking and Roboting are the for runners, which produced the inspiration for Popping. Because these art forms are both big marketing Items with great capitalistic potential we are now clarifying differences and not similarities So Locking cannot be popping and Popping cannot be Roboting . and The profitors now want the term PopLocking to not be Valid…To explain this each pioneer or teacher has to explain the technical differences (see the Greg Campbellock Jr. artical and his views below). WE AGREE… They each need their own place in history… but that does not mean that the term that once existed is no longer accurate. It only means that the three artforms should be clarified .But we must always give a clear view of the history to not confuse the thousands that have known these terms to have once been validated and accepted by the entity that makes the rules for streetdancers , THE STREETS THEMSELVES.. then they can now understand why it can serve as both an affectionate term and a disservice to the now established dance world disservice to Both Art forms
This above Editorial is a collaberation between James “SkeeterRabbit” Higgins, Tony GoGo and Peekaboo Frenke
I give all dancers respect and props for their connection to all three art forms ,no matter what environment exposed them to these dances, and what term their environment originally put on the style, heck the east coast version was termed “Electric Boogie” and that to is forever locked in history.. I define the Term & those that have used and still used the term pop locking this way
“A Term created and used by a subculture of people, who developed their animated style of Popping, through the direct evolution of both of the original TWO styles of Roboting & Locking. The term originally meant as a descriptive respect for the combination & fusions these original two creative dance Inspirations”…James “Skeeter ” Higgins ..2014
Greg wrote this artical for lockerlegends in 2005 prior to his passing always remembered
One day one of my students had approached me with a question. He Seem a little reluctant to ask the question. It has always been my way Of teaching others that NO QUESTION is a stupid question. His question to me was: What’s the difference between “Locking” and “POP -LOCKING”? Now…. This is one of those words I truly have to catch myself in the control Department. It’s one of those words that I’ve had to tolerate over the Years.
Just like that bad tasting medicine my mother use to give me When I was just a child. I went on to explain that they are both (2) Separate dances and should be respected in there own category. Popping is a down – ward motion of the joints into what’s call a “hit”. This was explained to me by the Creator himself….Boogaloo Sam. Locking….You are taking a Fast and Vital Movement of the body And Stopping at a given point. This is called: Locking. For example: A door……Once it is in a Locked position it’s stuck until it has been release to move or to open. This is the case with LOCKING…the dance. Popping for what I have been taught by the other Master Poppers,Sam,Pete,Suga Pop, Dane, Taco,and Shrimp. That a “HIT” is a Flow of moves that is translated like a TICK of a CLOCK. I mean even though I’ve made through Television appearances with these guys doing these moves. I’m still not good at it. But because of my Locking skills I understand what that means.
Locking is so full of energy that it is not possible to do accurately as the WORD …….POP – LOCKING indicates. But based on the fact that this was once the name the ELECTRIC BOOGALOOS use to identify themselves as Electric Boogaloo Lockers. Others took it upon themselves to confuse the name. Does it really matter? Yes…. Many have made sacrifices to forward the name and Culture of Locking and Popping and it should be corrected out of RESPECT. By: Greg Campbellock Jr.
LOCKERLEGENDS: Thanks Greg for that insite into the differences between the dances GREG: your very welcome I’m sure you want to read Skeeter’s views on the subject (below).. it should really go in dept on the history of the term
IS THE TERM POPLOCKING VALID