When I first saw this wonderful dance called Locking it changed my life. I was interested in learning the history, influences and every detail of this wonderful art. In this pursuit, I discovered a lot of the information that was passed down was not accurate. So I realized the only way to learn it was to go to the true original sources which led me to Greg “Campbellock Jr. Greg was an Original Locker, Soul Train 70’s dancer and well respected master of locking by his peers. Greg was an important pioneer, witness and piece to the puzzle. Greg and I became good friends and we started working on projects while he taught me his experiences with Locking.
I met all the Original lockers and many pioneers while I was trying to learn each of their perspective and experiences with the dance. I contacted OG Skeeter Rabbit through a friend on the Internet and got him in touch with Greg. They had the idea of doing a 2005 Locker Boot Camp together in Los Angeles but because of illness and other circumstances the Boot Camp got canceled and did not happen. Greg decided he wanted me to put together something in Las Vegas, so I contacted Rodrigo Gutierrez and he was able to get a dance studio donated for free. Rodrigo hosted our Las Vegas camp and he was its first student dance contest award winner. OG Skeeter Rabbit surprised Greg and presented him with an award at the Las Vegas Camp. I was also awarded the Master Student award from Greg.
Although the Las Vegas Camp had a small turn out Greg decided he liked the concept and asked me to organize the Elite Locking Camp in Las Vegas for the up coming 2006 year. I brought together a team to build the Elite Locking Camp. Enter Natasha Jean-Bart aka Tash. Tash opened the Cirque du Soleil “Love” show featuring the Beatles music and was currently dancing in the show. I was very impressed with Tash’s experience, talent, knowledge, and skills associated in technical and street dances. Tash’s respect for Locking and her strength in character was the perfect fit for our team.
Rodrigo, who was involved with every class that Greg did in Las Vegas served an important role in making the Elite Locking Camp. So with this team of Tash, Rodrigo and myself we made the arrangements that Greg wanted for the Elite Locking Camp in Las Vegas.
The first Elite Locking Camp was all ready to go for its debut in 2006. While I was sitting at a small coffee shop in the Sahara Hotel with Greg, I had no idea the wonderful journey ahead of us. I did not know if 3 or 50 people were going to come to this camp. Greg had his usual happy confident attitude associated with his wonderful laugh and he always told me, it is going to work out great. The next thing I saw I could not believe me eyes. I saw something I have not seen in a very long time. A group of people walking toward me with smiles on their faces all dressed in stripes shirts, sox, suspenders, funky hats, etc. Lockers dressed like lockers from the 1970’s generation. Dancers that you could tell immediately had a love and respect for the Original Generation of Locking.
These dancers made very long trips from all over the world to be at this camp. Japan, Taiwan, France, Germany, Finland, Canada etc. Tash also brought cast members from the “Love” show be a part of the camp. Very few dancers came from the U.S.A.
It was obvious that this camp was very important to these dancers not only because of the distance they traveled but because most of them did not understand English. All we needed was the universal language of music and counts to dance. The camp was a cycle of inspiration and love for locking. Rodrigo served as a perfect host for our guests in Las Vegas and we spent the entire weekend together. The studio time was just a part of the Elite Locking Camp. The atmosphere was incredible. This camp forged friendships that continued far beyond the days in Las Vegas. The formula was set for future camps.
We had many other guests that volunteered to be a part of the future camps. Steve “Sugarfoot” Notario volunteered and helped the camp as did other streetdancers that had a lineage to the Original Generation Lockers. The priority of the camp was atmosphere and profit if any was never a priority. After the conclusion of the 2006 camp I was so proud and pleased with the success I often thought we could not possibly match it next year, for the following camps I consistently was amazed at how each camp did that and more.
Greg “Campbellock Jr. passed away in 2010 while we were planning and just set the date for the 2010 Elite Locking Camp. We did not have a 2010 Elite Locking Camp and mourned the loss of Greg. The passing of Greg as big a loss to locking it was, caused a series of events that is best described by me as having a divine intervention. Greg passed away while at an event that Honored the Original Lockers. One of the very few times all of the surviving members of the group were in the same room at the same time for decades. Greg was so happy to be with his locking family all together, a fitting way for him to say good bye. Locking was Greg’s life and he was with people that loved him at an event that honored “The Original Lockers”.
Greg’s passing caused a series of events that brought back a Pioneer that many thought was not alive. Jimmy “Scoo B Doo” Foster sent an email to offer his condolences for the loss of his friend Greg. This led to me meeting Scoo B Doo, he was all set to move to Florida and had put his dancing far behind him. Scoo B was married and even his wife Gina had no idea that her husband was a Legendary Pioneer in Locking. When Scoo B started to realize the impact locking had on the arts he came back to Locking with the passion that started it all in the 70’s. Scoo B was in Las Vegas for many years and he was soon going to leave. He already moved most of his belongings to Florida and was finishing up on the final arrangement of his move.
Natasha and I were at a loss of what to do with the camp’s future with Greg gone. We wanted to honor the camp and do it right. There was a lot of talk from everyone to continue the camp but we had the number 1 priority to do it right and honor past camps with Greg gone we had a very hard time with the camp’s future. I introduced Scoo B to Tash and we started to learn many things from Scoo B. This inspired the 2011 Elite Locking Camp and with Scoo B Doo on board we knew exactly what to do.
Our team started to build and we added as our home base Tunay Ink Street Dance studio owned by Jojo. We knew that majority of our camp alumni which made up a good portion of our camps was not going to be able to attend the 2011 camp because of financial circumstances which was not an issue in past camps. Enter Kim Sato. The Elite Locking camp was very important to Kim and she brought many of her students. She arranged for them prepay so that we could invest in the camp. Many incidents through the planning of the camp that seemed to be issues turned into blessings and a feeling of divine guidance started to gain momentum.
I wish I could mention all the amazing blessings that were gifts to us all at the camp and maybe one day it will be understood. The camp started as usual with registration and happy greetings to new and old friends. Lionel and Nancy Douglass were hired to capture the camp on video. Lionel “Big D” Douglass was a second generation circuit dancer that was in 2nd group called “The Lockers”. He was an accomplished entertainer/actor/dancer that we were very blessed to have as a part of our team. I was very impressed with their video company and had complete confidence in their expertise especially Lionel’s experience with Locking.
Fred “Realness” Folkes donated his talent in physical therapy and street dance instruction from England to support the camp and was a great friend to the camp and Greg at the 2009 camp. Fred made sure everyone was instructed on proper warm up and injury prevention techniques. The camp had a return visit from Original Locker Leo “Fluky Luke” Williamson to teach his experience and contributions to the art of Locking.
New to the camp was not only wonderful students that showed the love and respect for the Original locking generation, but Legendary Master Locker Jimmy “Scoo B Doo” Foster plus Damito Jo Freeman. Damita (an original Soul Train dancer that had the respect from every Pioneer in Locking) was original dance partner with Don “Campbellock” Campbell and Jimmy “Scoo B Doo” Foster. Damita has a long successful career in dance with education in ballet and other dance arts and was not only a witness but made significant contributions to the art of locking, putting names to moves being one to mention.
The 2011 Elite Locking Camp was an amazing accomplishment not only from the feeling of divine guidance but many moments that brought us all back in time to witness a portion of history. When Scoo B Doo and Damita Jo Freeman came down the Soul Train Line at the Pioneer’s Ball after party Elite Locking Camp performance, it was priceless. It was like actually being there so many years ago. To give this feeling to the camp is just an example that only those that were there can truly understand.
To hear students thank us for the camp and say it changed their lives was a gift that we will always treasure. The camp was a cycle of inspiration between our entire 2011 Elite Locking Camp family. Every person that was at the camp contributed to it in some way.
All we can say is Thank You to everyone that shared and was a part of this camp. It is an honor to experience it with all of you.
Frank “Sundance” Sams.