As Lockunity what would you say are the 10 most important steps in building a Locking/or dance community?
- Patience – It takes some time to build a scene and there will be ups and downs. Stay the course!
- Show up at other styles events – get down in the circles, represent!
- Put together a locking showcase to perform at an event
- Organize events – battles and parties – both are equally important. But start small
- If you are going to teach, you need to still keep up with your learning. Take classes too! Especially when out of town dancers come to teach
- Practice needs to be effective. Sometimes in front of the mirror, sometimes in a circle
- Persistence – If you hold a practice on a Tuesday night, you need to be there early to set up and leave late to clean up!
- No man is an island! Try to form a core network of like-minded dancers and build together. Have meetings, etc
- Be accepting of all levels and all viewpoints of dancers. It’s ok to agree to disagree at times!
- Drop any egos and be willing to build with dancers who have different views. Sometimes when you work together you can build something more powerful
- Respect the local elders/OGs – Don’t get offended if they offer advice
- Keep communication open. If there are problems, handle it direct/face to face….avoid internet chat, talking behind the back or not talking at all!
- Build with other lockers. Not just at practice but go out, chill, party!
As individuals what has Locking done for you?
It changed my life! More than anything, it helped me build confidence in myself. It taught me a lot about music, in terms of listening and feeling it in different ways. The culture and code of the streets, where locking originates from, has taught me a lot about respect for elders, OGs and other dancers in general. If it wasn’t for locking, I wouldn’t have been able to meet so many amazing people from around the world. I’ve been to parts of the world I never thought I would have been able to visit if I wasn’t dancing. I certainly feel in debt to the dance and I guess that’s why I’m so passionate about keeping this dance alive and carrying on the legacy and teachings of the pioneers and elders who have shown me the beauty of this dance!
As a collective how do you create your shows?
Normally there’s one person who’s in charge of the choreography and come up with the idea for the show. We then get together and build the routine. Once the skeleton of the piece is made, we all give some input/tips/advice for staging, costumes any changes to detail, etc. There are always plenty of jokes and fooling around which makes working on the shows pretty fun!
Where do you see Locking in the future?
This dance made a comeback in the late 90s/early 2000s and since then there have been some ups and downs. A lot of events have been cutting locking from their lineup and yet the amount of people currently locking around the world is steadily increasing. In the future this dance is going to continue to grow and evolve. As more people receive the education and knowledge of locking, the level is going to rise and this dance will gain more recognition and popularity!
Is there one question or more relating to Locking history you feel hasn’t been clearly answered. If yes what is that question?
It’s not really a question but it is certainly a topic that many people talk about and it may be very helpful for a locking history timeline to be created. A few have been made in the past by individuals, but it would be really cool to see a complete locking history timeline with as many gaps filled in as possible. Starting from the creation of locking in the late 60s/early 70s till the present. A lot has happened and I feel the stories of those who contributed through the 80s and 90s still need to be heard.
What and who drives you to go session?
The desire to constantly grow and learn new things is a strong motivation for practice. Lifelong learning on that martial arts tip yo!
Knowing that every Tuesday Lockunity has practice, the other local lockers motivate me to go to session. The fact that everyone is responsible for forming the vibe at practice and we all push each other once we are in that circle means you have to bring a strong level and carry that vibe on your part too.
When I practice on my own it’s the desire to be fully in the music and zone out that motivates me!
What would you say is necessary as a beginner locker?
Be a sponge! Learn from everybody, ask questions, be OPEN and ask more questions. When I first visited LA in 2004 I met Richie Rich and he told me “Never let anyone tell you you are doing anything wrong, but be open and learn from everyone!” I really took that advice to heart and it holds true even 10 years after!
Respect is also something necessary for a beginner. Respect of everyone who has come before you: from 2 years, to old school, to OG pioneers. Because if it wasn’t for them you wouldn’t be here learning locking today!
What is necessary as a mature locker?
Respect is even more important as you mature in the dance. Because you still have to respect your elders and teachers but also you have to be respectful of the younger generation. With great power comes great responsibility, so as you become more mature in the dance scene, you have a lot more responsibility to make sure you are passing information down to the next generations without letting the ego get in the way. Younger dancers may not always listen to what you have to say, but be patient and stay open to communicating!
Why do you think locking always brings the house down in jams and competitions, yet the locking worldwide is so slow to grow?
I think there are several reasons for this. One of the main reasons is the music played in battles. DJs who are hired for locking battles need to be aware of the full funk spectrum and not be afraid to take risks and throw in some music from the 80s/90s/2000s….funk is so diverse, we need to expand the battle playlists!
Dancers who enter the contests need to be prepared for hearing songs they never heard before and open to music from all eras. Also if you are entering battles, be prepared to battle! Know the difference between a battle, a party and a show. (This goes for DJs too!)
It’s been slow for locking to really develop in North America as compared to Asia but I think there are cultural reasons behind this as well. Trendy dances come and go in North America. It seems in Asia locking is held in higher regard despite it not being the current trendy dance at the moment.
What is the biggest obstacle a locker faces when learning the Art?
Access to information. Even though there are plenty of videos on YouTube right now, to really understand locking you need to learn this dance from someone in person. It takes time, energy, $ to travel and meet other lockers. If you are really serious about this dance, consider it an investment because in the long run, the knowledge and experience gained will be much more meaningful than watching a video!
What is the selection criteria for anyone wanting to be part of Lockunity?
Lockunity is not a crew. It’s a collective of lockers living in Montreal.
If you are serious about locking, want to learn more about the dance, come to the weekly practices, represent at events, you can be down!
What creates the disconnect in locking in general? Give an example.
I think one of the biggest issues is a lack of communication in the locking world. Even with the internet forums/groups that have been made in recent years, there is still a lot of miscommunication that takes place. Many lockers have various views on the dance, its history and its fundamentals. Over the years the division between views has led to the formation of different “camps”. I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing, everyone is entitled to their own views and opinions. But I think what is important is a degree of respect among groups. In my opinion, discussions face to face tend to clarify a lot of the differences created when posts are made online, where it’s hard to tell the tone of the writer. In the end, the scene is still relatively small and we should all do our best to support one another, even if we may not agree at times.
If you had a message for the creator and the pioneers what would you say?
THANK YOU! You have all paved the way for what locking is now and we would not be here today if it wasn’t for what you all contributed. We hope to carry the torch of locking to future generations and never let this dance die.
If you had a message for the new generation of lockers what would you say?
Many of the OGs and old school pioneers are still around. Learn from them while you can! Once they are gone, it’s going to be a lot harder to carry on the dance so learn as much as you can now!!! Always have respect for those who came before you but push the dance to new heights as well. Don’t be afraid to be yourself and bring something new to the table. Keep one foot in the past to keep you grounded and another foot in the future to move you forward and stay balanced. Always question knowledge you receive. Fact check and cross reference in order to formulate your own educated opinions especially when it comes to credibility of historic knowledge (That’s the scientist in me!).
What is your motivation as a collective and as individuals ? What or who makes you want to get better?
I think as a collective the motivation for us is each other. We want the locking scene to grow in Montreal and Canada so we are trying to up our level, teach more students and build an overall stronger locking community.
How did Triforce come about?
I met Boombeast at a bboy event in Toronto in 2004 and Treklock in 2005 at Funk Fo Yo Feet also in Toronto. When I moved to Montreal in 2006 I knew it was going to be dope with these two great lockers in the city. We would always battle each other at the early Bust A Move events and so there was a bit of competitiveness between us, which I think pushed our levels up and brought us closer together. Trek and Boom were repping together a lot and they did Juste Debout together in 2007 and some great shows as “Trek! Trek! Boom!”. After an event in 2008, Monstapop suggested me and Trek team up for a battle and so we started practicing at Urban Element studio on Tuesday nights. Boom also joined us and that was really what set it all off. Our weekly practices started to grow and eventually the practices in The Cove, the small side studio at Urban Element, had to move into a larger space. But Triforce is really the result of a perfect storm of the three of us being in the city at the same time, having the same love for locking and the suggestion of other dancers/mentors (Adesola, Tash, Boot Camp Pat, Gemini, Monstapop) to work together and build something as a unit!
Anything you would like to express to the locking or dance community worldwide?
There are a lot of locking events around the world. To organizers of these events: Canada has a lot of dope lockers and we’re down to represent at these major international events too!
Who or what inspires you?
When it comes to locking I have to give mention to all those teachers/elders/OGs who have shared their knowledge of the dance with me. My first teachers: Licorice Lloyd and Boogaloo Storm of the Fantastic Poppers in Toronto. They were the ones who first showed me a tape of The Lockers and broke down the basics of the dance for me. Disco Dave was the first locker I met outside of Toronto. Richie Rich was the first old school locker I met when I visited LA in 2004 and he continues to teach and mentor me to this day. He is like an uncle and isn’t afraid to tell it like it is, even if it may be hard to swallow. That is something I have really learned to appreciate over the years. Don Campbell, Greg Campbellock Jr, Fluky Luke were the first of the OGs I met and I learned so much from them. Gemini has been an incredible teacher/inspiration/mentor sharing his wealth of knowledge and experience and for that I’m very grateful! OG Skeet has shed light on a lot of the roots and history of locking, especially from the street perspective.
There have been many others I have learned from and I feel they need to be mentioned too. Much love to them all: Tony Go Go, Loose Caboose, Anthony Thomas, Flomaster, Sugapop, Sundance, Toni Basil, Scooby Doo, Mr Pengiun (RIP), Shabbadoo, EB Skeet (RIP), Slim the Robot, Peek-A-Boo, Boogaloo Sam, Poppin Pete, Mr Wiggles, Jazzy J, Tornado, Adesola, Klown, Shallow, Sugar Foot, Pat Cesar, Jimmy Williams, Tony Three, Jr. Boogaloo, Neo Boog, Bonez, Funk Mystic, Sirreal, Popsikal Pete, Loose Canon, Lockadelic, Fon, Treklock, Boombeast, Quantalock, Apachapoulilock, Lounes, LockUnity, Baby L, Funky Miko, Monstapop, Venom, 2 Marvelous, Sam I Am, Namo, Locking Sun, Vancity Lockers, LMC Lockers, Firelock, Hurricane, Shock-a-lock, Tash, Mikey Disko, Shyguy, Ill Kosby, Lockin Fossil (RIP), Rick Slade, Bag of Trix, Boogie Brats, Supernaturalz, RBP/MEC/FAM, Ground Illusionz, Stylordz, Canadian Floor Masters, Treble, Tabu, Lazy Legz, Flow Rock, Fresh Format, Rubber Soulz and my bboy crew: Illmask.
A special shout out to Son of S.O.U.L., Alan Cross, Frank BLVD, Cholo B, We Funk Radio, Ruby Jane and all the Toronto and Montreal funk DJs who have been a huge musical influence.
What other dance styles do you think can improve your locking dance Skills technically and artistically?
Learning other dances will make you a better all around dancer for sure! It will open you up to new movements and feelings and help develop your own personal flavour. Any dance style can be applied to locking too, but in order to do that you have to have a solid base for the skills and techniques fundamental to locking first! In my opinion if you are to incorporate another dance style into your locking, it needs to be done with the locker feel! For example, some b-boys like to incorporate salsa into their top rock. The ones who incorporate it well will still keep the bboy feel to their dance and not look like they are suddenly switching dance styles.
What helps you feed your creative juices?
Food, cooking, music, graffiti art and other art exhibits, photography, city walking, travelling, record digging. There is creative inspiration all around. Just got to go out and explore!
Favorite music or artist to get down to?
Prince. See him live and you’ll understand everything! He is a genius!
As for music in general though I love getting down to funk. But keep in mind when I say funk, I mean the FULL SPECTRUM of funk. That is; music from the soul era of the 60s/70s, to that raw 70s funk, to the 80s electronic funk and into the 90s with HipHop and New Jack Swing and now the 2000s with all the current artists who are making amazing music. I currently visited New Orleans and it opened me up to JAZZ: the roots of funk! I tend to be pretty open when it comes to music.
If you could go back in time… What year and date would you want to time travel to? (Why)
Probably into the future to ask my future self advice on what I should be doing in the future!
Do you have another training regiment aside from dancing?
It’s super important to train outside of dance, especially as you get older. I’m really into the Beachbody programs like P90X and Insanity. Those programs have helped improve my cardio, strength, flexibility and balance. I highly recommend them!
Favorite jam, event or competition worldwide?
-Bust A Move! This event has a personal connection to me. Since I moved to Montreal in 2006, I saw how this event has grown. Spicey has done such a great job building it and it’s part of the reason why Locking is growing in Canada! 1st weekend of May, come to Montreal!!!
-The Chocolate Jungle parties organized by 2Marvelous (Boogieman Linx and Leah McFly) are 90s themed parties that also take place in Montreal. The vibe is incredible and is a true example of what a Montreal party is and why I fell in love with this city
Any of you play any instruments?
I don’t but I’d love to learn bass guitar
What other styles do you excel at? Or any special skills people don’t know about you?
Well I’ve been bboying since 1998 and I still rep. It’s my roots and in my blood!
As for other skills, well I have a Master’s degree in Chemistry and I currently work as a Science, Math and Hip Hop Education teacher.
I also enjoy Graffiti Art and cooking!
What other dance styles would you like to start learning?
I’m currently learning hustle dance and it’s super fun dancing with a partner! But, if I were to start learning a new dance right now, I think it’d be cool to learn Pantsula!
If you could pick anyone’s brain for a whole day in this world, who would you choose?
There’s a lot of people who have been working to help bring HipHop Education into the classroom in schools around North America. I would love to take some time to talk to some of those educators to discuss this because this is an area I’m very passionate about and working towards building more on right now.
How many sub-groups comes from Lockunity.. (Names)
So far Triforce and Ingenious Lockers are the two sub-groups I can think of. I’d like to see the younger lockers in Lockunity begin to form sub groups soon, and maybe rep outside the city.
Next on your Bucket list?
I’d love to travel to other parts of Canada to share and help build locking in other cities! I also want to visit South America and spend more time in New Orleans! Most importantly my long term goal right now is to work towards building HipHop education programs in order to bring them into the classroom and give students to learn in an alternative way.