Dancer Campbellock (Don Campbell) was born January 7, 1951 in Saint Louis, Missouri and raised in South Central Los Angeles. As a child, he had a strong passion for drawing and enjoyed sketching trees, insects and people’s hands and faces. Campbell eventually pursued a career in commercial art when he decided to attend LA Trade-Technical College, but ended up discovering and falling in love with another art: dance. In the late 1960s, he began practicing avidly and created a new dance that he called “The Campbellock” (later known as “locking”) by accident. “Locking” can be defined as “freezing from a fast movement and ‘locking’ in a certain position, holding that position for a short while and then continuing in the same speed as before.” The dance is very performance oriented and often involves playful audience interaction mixed with humor. Campbellock amazed club crowds with his unique style, and he began winning a myriad of dance competitions throughout the city.
Campbellock’s distinctive moves soon landed him a position as a cast member on the popular dance show Soul Train in 1971, and he recorded a song “The Campbellock” to accompany his dance on Stanson Records in 1972. He remained a featured dancer on Soul Train until he requested compensation from the show in 1973. Unfortunately, he and the other dancers were denied payment, so he decided to form his own dance crew called “The Campbellock Dancers.” The group became known simply as “The Lockers” and consisted of his girlfriend at the time Tony Basil (dancer/recording artist), Fred Berry (dancer/actor from What’s Happening?) and Shabba Doo (dancer/actor from Breakin’ and its sequel). Their popularity grew after they made appearances locking on The Carol Burnett Show, The Johnny Carson Show, ABC In Concert and Saturday Night Live. The crew went on to build over 80 credits to their name until they disbanded in the early 1980s.
Campbellock continues to teach choreography and holds classes in countries like Japan, Canada, Portugal, England, The Netherlands and Germany. He has been featured in various magazines and also included in Vibe’s History of Hip Hop book published in 1999. He has also attended Hip Hop culture events including B-Boy Summits, The American Street Dance Championship and the 1st Annual Hip Hop Dance Awards (where he was honored for his accomplishments). He was also honored at the first ever Hip Hop Conference sponsored by The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The event covered Hip Hop’s past, present and future. Artifacts, such as Don’s outfits worn during his career, were on display inside The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as well as abroad as a way to promote awareness about Hip Hop Culture.
Campbellock is currently working on an illustrated book of his dance and its teachings, an autobiography, a DVD detailing his life and two feature autobiographical films. He resides in Canyon Country, CA and has three children with his wife Mary of 33 years. Dan has had the opportunity to work with notable superstars like Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, Janet Jackson, Bill Cosby, Christina Aguilera and Michael Jackson. Many artists like Britney Spears and Snoop Dogg also include variations of Campbellock’s choreography in their videos today. Locking continues to remain popular in various elements of pop culture and has become a part of Hip Hop culture under the umbrella of street dance.
- Invented the “Campbellock” (later shortened to “locking”) by accident. The dance can be defined as “freezing from a fast movement and ‘locking’ in a certain position, holding that position for a short while and then continuing in the same speed as before.” The dance is very performance oriented and often involves playful audience interaction mixed with humor.
Donald “Locking” Campbell – Judge Solo at Battle Of The Stylez 2011
Interview with RAW
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