2016 had a lot of ups and downs this year. Locking however was the anchor that kept things going in the positive direction. Let’s get to it!
The year started with the launch of a new series of videos I worked on throughout the year, The Locking4Life Tributes Series. Jan 8 is the birthday of Don Campbellock, The Creator of Locking, so the first tribute video was dedicated to him!
Most of January was spent preparing for one of the biggest locking battles to date in Canada. Keep On Dancing (KOD), a big event originally from China held a Canadian qualifier in Toronto. It was a 4on4 locking crew battle and the winners would represent Canada at the world finals in LA later in the year. Montreal came with two locking teams: LockUnity & Ingenious Split. Although neither team won, both repped at a high level and made an impression on those who saw the battle. Big ups to Twisted Shifters (Lady C, Pyro, KC & Cantolock) for the win. They repped Canada well in LA. Also special shout out to Tash, who was one of the Canadian judges for this esteemed battle.
February was fairly low key. Most of the time was spent working on three separate videos. The first was a special live performance that took place at the WeFunk Radio studios here in Montreal. Temu, a talented musician and talk box specialist did an electrifying cover of Stevie Wonder’s “That Girl”. I was there to capture it and put together this fresh video.
I had access to a pretty cool studio in Montreal and worked with some of the members of LockUnity on two projects. One was a short video on Lockers Fashion. It was a follow up to a blog post I did in 2015. This time it was a video highlighting what some lockers in Montreal like to wear when they get down. It was the main feature of Issue 6 of In The Pocket: A Locking Video Magazine.
The 3rd video I worked on was for Ingenious Lockers, a sub crew of LockUnity members Quantalock, Apachapoulilock & Melofunk (who are all engineers, or “ingenieurs” in French!) They wanted to do a short video so I made it happen!
Although I live in Montreal, my hometown is Hamilton, Ontario. I had time off for the March Break so took a trip back home. While I was back home I taught a locking class at The Underground in Toronto as well as Defining Movement Dance in Hamilton. It’s so great to see more support for street dances in Steel City!
Back in Montreal, Kenini & The Concordia Street Dancers hosted the 2nd edition of the On Point Locking Battle. This year the judge was Tash and Lounes was a battle guest from France. L.O.C. Kingz presented their newest piece to open the event, Scramble battled 7Starr in a locking vs krumping battle and Treklock won the 1vs1 battle. The event was On Point!!!!
At the end of the month there was a surprise announcement that Prince would be performing his new Piano & A Microphone tour. He was in Montreal less than a year prior but it didn’t matter. I jumped to get tickets! The show itself was amazing but what made the night real special was the announcement of an afterparty on the Plateau following the show. Prince showed up at 3am at Muzique nightclub and perform a 45min set in a small club setting. It was a surreal experience and consider myself very fortunate to have seen Prince play on 4 separate occasions here in Montreal.
Sometimes it snows in April. I don’t think anyone was prepared for the news that Prince passed away on April 21. Prince was such a huge influence over the last decade. Even though I was a huge Michael Jackson fan as a child, Prince and his music shaped my years as an adult. He was a genius and his music will forever provide a soundtrack to my life as a dancer. For now I will share a special mix made by Ruby Jane dedicated to Prince called Lavender: The Softer Side of The Purple One.
There were a few other positive events that happened in April. I taught a special workshop for my crewmate Lazy Legz’s students. It’s amazing to see that Locking truly is a dance for everyone. No excuses, no limits!
The McGill Student Street Dancers also hold an annual event called Heir To The Throne, featuring a 2on2 battle with teams consisting of a teacher and student. Last year I judged the battle, this year I participated with Jess, one of the more recent additions to LockUnity.
This month is usually one of the biggest months in Montreal for street dancers primarily because of Bust A Move. After 10 years of running the event, the organizer Spicey decided to retire the name and focus more on other projects. BAM was such a fundamental reason why the locking scene has grown in Canada and I can’t thank Spicey enough for all she did to make the street dance scene in Montreal what it is today. Even though there was no BAM this year, she did host a more local event: Survival of the Illest. LockUnity participated and made it to the finals repping only locking in the all-styles battle!
LockUnity also performed at the Break City year end show, dancing to Prince, of course!
Prince dedications continued into June. The 2nd Locking4Life Tribute video: Housequake, was dedicated to The Purple One and was released on June 7 (Prince’s birthday).
Locally, Ruby Jane and I hosted a listening party with for Prince at Le Bleury called “Purple Music & A Microphone”. I selected a lot of lesser known music from Prince’s vast catalogue and those who attended really enjoyed the party. The 2nd edition will most likely happen April 2017.
Monkey Business is a Lithuanian blog dedicated to street dance. I was asked to do an interview for them. Thank you Ruta for the opportunity!
Articien takes place in Montreal each June and L.O.C. Kingz performed their latest piece, Siberian Nights.
The month capped off with a free concert to kick off the Montreal Jazz Fest with Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings. It was a soulful performance and a great way to start the summer. Unfortunately Sharon passed later this year after a long fight with cancer. Another funk solider passed in June: Bernie Worrell. He was the legendary keyboardist for Parliament Funkadelic and was known for contributing to such great songs as Flashlight and One Nation Under A Groove.
The summer months in Montreal are spent mostly outdoors either in festivals, parties, terraces or cottages. I saw some great acts at the Montreal Jazz Fest this year including Trombone Shorty, The Jacksons and the festival also collaborates with the Montreal Swing Riot. This is one of my favourite battles to participate since various street dancers team up to battle Swing and Lindy Hop dancers in an epic showdown.
I did a few locking workshops at Imperium Dance Studio before heading out on a short vacation.
Another highlight of the year was travelling to Las Vegas with LockUnity for the Las Vegas Locking Camp. It is organized by Wattssoul and continues the legacy left by Greg Campbellock Jr. I was one of the first attendees of this camp back in 2005 so it was special returning this year with a much larger locking family! We all got to meet Don Campbellock as well as Scoo B Doo, another influential OG locker.
What was extra special was being able to perform as L.O.C. Kings in front of Don and Scoo B. That is something I will never forget!
Before heading back from Vegas I made a short stop in LA to visit one of my mentors: Richie Rich. We trained hard!
I returned to Montreal recharged and ready to start the Fall strong. What better way to start than with a workshop at Break City?
Most of September was spent teaching and training. With four separate weekly locking classes held throughout the city, along with the weekly practice sessions, there is now more opportunities for people to learn locking in Montreal than ever before!
This month I launched another series of videos called The Hive Sessions. Many lockers have danced with me in my personal studio, The Hive. I decided to start showing some of these practice sessions in short highlight videos. Hope to feature more guests in the next year!
The third Locking4Life Tributes was dedicated to Scoo B Doo, one of the pioneers of locking. One can describe Scoo B with one word: POWER!
I was hired in October to work on a commercial for Aubainerie, a clothing store across Quebec. I locked it up in their ad campaign that was featured on TV and in stores all across the province.
Got to visit Toronto during Thanksgiving weekend and taught a special 3hr locking intensive as well as judged a battle hosted by the Ryerson Urban Hip Hop Union
Another cool event that happens in the city is Can I Get A Soul Clap. This year I participated with Leah McFly. We were 2 Legit 2 Quit!
WEFUNK Radio celebrated their 20 year anniversary with a special Europe Tour. They asked me to edit a promo video for them. Check it out!
Chocolate Jungle is a special party that happens regularly in Montreal. This edition was dedicated to The Funk! There was locking performances as well various other styles, all to a live band. Big up Kalmunity!
The month ended with L.O.C. Kings opening the Jack Of All Trades event with a hype showcase. Unfortunately there’s no video yet but here’s a fresh pic!
Break City hosts their end of the year event Jingle Bell Rock in December. Was honoured to be a judge for the battle and witness all the potential dance talent in the new generation!
Finally I ended 2016 with one last tribute. None other than The Godfather of Soul: JAMES BROWN
As always, there is a lot that happens in one year. Thanks to everyone who supported locking in Canada and around the world this past year. I’m confident 2017 will bring more outstanding projects and more opportunities to build and share this amazing dance. Happy New Year!