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Labai ilgą laiką beždžionių reikalai tebuvo vienos beždžionės pasikalbėjimas su savimi, bet nutariau – reikia ką nors pakviesti pasidalyti mintimis. Paklausiau savęs, ko mūsų šokių pasaulyje neatleistinai per mažai, ir iš karto atsakiau – lockingo.

Kai pagalvojau, ką būtų įmanoma pasisodinti ant virtualių foteliukų ir prakalbinti apie, turbūt, mažiausiai dėmesio mūsuose sulaukiantį šokį, pamaniau apie labai teigiamą žmogų, su kuriuo Lietuvoje galbūt buvote susitikę 2010 m. rudenį – Marc ‘Scramblelock’. Daugiau nieko ir nesakysiu, nes mano chaotiško laiško nepalaikęs elektroniniu šlamštu Marcas į visus klausimus atsakė pats:

Can you tell us how you got into locking, what attracted you about this dance?

I was first introduced to breaking in 1986 (when I was 3!) by my uncle. At the time it was more of a passing fad. But it was when I was 15 and beginning high school in 1998 that I began to really want to learn it. In school I was bullied a lot. One of my friends in elementary school started bullying me once we got to high school. He also started to break and I saw him get down at a school dance. The next day he got a lot of attention from other students and the girls. I said to myself “I’m going to learn it too and be better than him!” (I got attention, but never many girls!)

As for locking, that came 2 years later (2000). There was a popular website called bboy.com that had a message board specifically for locking. Gemini, Richie Rich, Sundance and others used to have big online discussions about locking but there were no videos online at the time. The mysteriousness of the dance drew me in and I wanted to learn more. I then saw some small demos of locking on Bboy tapes, or on websites like Nustudios.com, it looked like such a cool dance. I met the Fantastic Poppers in Toronto in 2002 and they were my first locking teachers! In 2004 I visited LA for the first time and met Don, Fluky, Richie, Gemini and many others. After that I was hooked!

It seems that people are much more into popping, hip hop, etc., but not into locking. Is it the same in Canada and other countries, that you visit? If yes, what do you think, why locking is not as popular?

Locking always seems to be the underdog and yet when most people see it live, it always ends up being one of the hypest styles to watch in a battle! There was a time in the late 1990s where locking and popping were resurfacing at events like the BBOY SUMMIT and the OGs were coming back. Lots of younger people wanted to learn more! Popping and locking were both pretty popular. In more recent years it seems popping has become more well known but I think it depends on a lot of factors.

First, if you travel to places in Asia like Japan, Taiwan or Korea locking IS a popular dance and there are hundreds of lockers active in the scene. It’s insane how big it is out in Japan especially. But locking has been in Japan a much longer time, especially because of Tony GoGo and crews like BeBop Crew and many others who helped that scene grow early on.

Same goes for France. It has a relatively bigger scene compared to other countries in Europe and people like Truand, Junior, and Gemini have put in a lot of work to make their scene grow in those formative years. In Canada there is a much bigger scene here than there was 10 years ago.

Why is this the case? I believe it has to do with leadership. For a scene to grow there needs to be individuals who are willing to put in work to help the dance grow through organizing practices, workshops, conferences, parties, battles, etc. It’s a lot of work and one person cannot do it alone. There are a lot of up and down moments too. It needs to be a COMMUNITY effort. In Montreal we formed a collective called LOCKUNITY. We all come from different backgrounds and perspectives in dance but we share a common love for locking and its the diversity that has helped Montreal’s locking scene to grow.

The LOCKING4LIFE movement is another example of this but on a much more global scale! It has helped unify lockers in MANY countries (Canada included). Lockers may all have differing views but everyone supports one another and it really helps locking to be more visible in different outlets!

Also organizing locking camps has helped tremendously for sharing knowledge. Big shoutout to WATTSSOUL for their annual Las Vegas Locking Camp and Funky J’s LOCK IS NOT A JOKE camp!

What is your opinion about music? What position do you take: locking should be danced only to funk music or any other genre?

I am very open to listening to all sorts of different music. Not a day passes that I am not listening to music! Growing up, my father used to play blues and rock. When I started dancing I got deep into Hip Hop, Funk, Soul, New Jack Swing and Jazz.

As for my view on locking music. Well, if you’ve ever seen the LOCKERS perform SWAN LAKE, Shabba-Doo says it best “If there’s music, we can dance to it!”

Funk is for sure the base for every locker. One needs to understand Funk & Soul music first and foremost because there is a format in that music that helps you understand how the locking structure fits. There are lots of different musical flavours that contain the basic “Funk Formula”. I believe it is possible to dance locking to any style of music but of course there needs to be some balance. There is a lot of new music that excites me just as much as any old school track. In events I like to hear a balance of new and old. DJs should challenge dancers to songs they haven’t heard before and also pump them up with music they know that brings the best out of them!

Another great video that highlights this point is the Locking4Life video Gemini made on Locking music – “It’s not about the style of music, it’s about the way you feel it”

You often judge at the dance battles. What are the most important criteria when you are judging dancers? 

I love judging battles but it really is hard work and I take that job very seriously! There are several criteria I look for when judging (shoutout to Richie Rich & Gemini for helping to develop these criteria)

1. Foundation – Do you know your basics? Can you perform those basics in different ways and with varying energies? Can you dance these fundamental moves. Are you using the foundation in more complicated ways or combos?

2. Are you Locking? – This is a complicated criteria to explain in writing but there is the physical aspect of actually locking your joints when you are dancing. Watch the original Lockers and see how there is power in the basic locking moves they do. Not only are you locking your arms but are you locking your hips? Wrists? Shoulders? Legs? The other aspect has more to do with addition of other styles/moves/dances into locking. The best way to explain this is are your additions WITHIN the context of locking or do you stop locking and switch into other styles/moves/dances. For example, are you locking, doing house moves or are you house dancing doing locking moves???

3. Soul/Conviction/Confidence – This has more to do with being truly genuine while dancing. Are you dancing with your heart and soul or are you “faking the funk” trying to be someone you are not? If I am feeling angry I may dance a lot stronger than if I’m relaxed or happy, but I don’t like to force it if I’m not feeling a certain way. Many discussions focus around what “Soul” means. Tony Gogo and Greg Campbellock Jr. have said really great responses about that. Of course, Locking was built on the Soul dances of the 1960’s-1970’s within the black communities of the USA. But Soul, as something that comes from WITHIN, is something every human feels. We all feel happy, angry, sad. When I refer to Soul in a battle I am asking if the dancer is dancing from WITHIN, honestly expressing themselves through the music. Are the moves you are doing have MEANING? That’s conviction!  And all around confidence: Are you looking on the floor or are you really interacting in your environment, on the stage, with the audience?

4. Musicality – This is a bit more direct. First, I look for if you are on beat. After that I then look to see if you are incorporating different aspects of the music: bass, hi-hat, rhythm guitar, horns, vocals, etc. and making interesting combinations with those aspects. Many people think of musicality as just hitting specific accents or key moments in a song. Yes highlighting accents or parts of a song are cool and helps to space out or give impact in your dance but if you prepare only for these accents and are off beat most of the time, to me that tells me you are not IN THE POCKET of the music!

5. Creativity – I was raised as a dancer who should always bring something new to the table and strive for originality. This is where I would look to see what new and fresh movements you are bringing to your set OR what type of unique combinations you are doing with your basic locking foundations. Also the kind of character or stage presence you are bringing to the battle. Are there signature tricks or power moves you are executing, and if so can you change them up?

6. Battle strategy – Dancers say a lot without having to speak. To me battle strategy has to do with the unspoken ways you respond in a battle. Are you trying to one-up something your opponent did? Or are you doing something within the battle to maybe throw your opponent off? The way you look at them, a certain gesture, or even finishing at a strange moment in the song are some examples. Also, how are you controlling the energy of a battle? Are you rushing in all the time with strong, fast moves or are you pacing yourself and building the tension up gradually? If you go first, are you setting the level high? If you go 2nd, are you responding well and then leaving bringing something new? Battling in locking doesn’t have to be “angry” or “aggressive” like many tend to compare to breaking. But many b-boys understand that winning a battle is just as much a mental competition as it is a physical one! One does not have to be angry or aggressive to win! When lockers bring this strategy into their dance then the battles become exciting!

Can you give advice how dancers can improve their musicality?

Go back to the basics! This is where an understanding of the “Funk Formula” really helps to. There’s a video of Bootsy Collins where he explains this as a musician about being ON THE ONE. It can be applied to locking 100%! Every fundamental movement in locking can be performed and connected to the counts of the music. Up-lock-roll-point (1-2-3-4). Being connected to that is crucial. I think it’s a combination of discipline, physical training and mentally listening to the music that will contribute to this understanding becoming second nature for dancers. But to start simple is the key. Dancing to slower music where the beat is clearly present will help a lot (I used to practice to Zapp and Roger songs because the beat was so evident). You have to walk before you can run! I find a lot of dancers go off beat when they either a) rush their sets trying to keep up to a fast beat or b) try to add too much in one set. Loose Caboose once explained it to me like saying a sentence. Youcantrytoaddalotofwordsinonesentence. Or. You can. Take. Your. Time. (Breathing helps to pace yourself too!!)

What is your opinion about dance battles these days? From your point of view, what is the best environment for dance and improvement?

I love battles! Starting out in the bboy world, battles have always been part of my dance life and its a way for me to express and challenge myself as well as build with other lockers. Of course it is not the ONLY aspect though. To me organized battles, circle battles, call-outs, cyphers, parties, street shows and showcases are all elements that make up street dancers today. You may have more experience in some elements than others (better at battles than showcases for example) but there is always room for learning more and gaining more experience. It’s 2016 and you should have some experience in all those elements! Personally, I would like to see more exhibition locking battles. Headline battles that give the battlers a chance to go more than 3 rounds and really show what they got!!! I really enjoyed the Locking4Life vs Team Rocket exhibition battle that happened in France a few months ago.

What dancers of the young generation inspire you the most?

The younger dancers that we have been building with in LOCKUNITY keep me on my toes. (A few names: Kenini, Melofunk, Groovinh) Also Kosi, Michael Chau and Cantolock from Toronto and MadMax from Taiwan. I’m really inspired to see all the lockers (young and old) across Canada who have been growing and pushing their art!!

Internationally: LMC Lockers, Vovan & Funky J, Chi, Lounes, Candyman are really dope. They all work hard and I hope to link up with them again soon. Also seeing newer lockers through the various Locking4Life country pages is really cool. India, Brazil, Chile, Cyprus, Japan, Russia. Damn there are a lot!!!!

I was also recently inspired by all the young lockers in Japan. Kids 9-11 years old are KILLING it and pick up on things very quickly!

There are a lot of other lockers that excite me but these are some from the younger generations I like right now.

Can you share some songs that you loooove dancing to right now?

PRINCE! He is a genre on his own. There is so much music he has made (official albums, singles, b-sides, unreleased songs, demos, outtakes, live concerts) His music gets me hype to dance ALL THE TIME.

I’m also feeling Kendrick Lamar. He has worked with George Clinton and has made some great songs to lock to.

There’s TONS of new groups coming out all the time with great music. You just have to search for it! I highly recommend checking out www.wefunkradio.com to give you an idea of what is out there!

You’ve visited Lithuania in 2010 and we had so much fun in your workshop. Was that the last time when you were here? Are you planning to visit this place any time soon?

Yes 2010 was my last time in Lithuania. I was able to travel across the whole country and teach a few classes during that time. I also have some family over there. It was a great time visiting. I would love to go back anytime and see how the scene is now. Big ups to my homies GREENTECK and DARQ, I saw they were just in Vilnius teaching! At the moment I have no plans to visit but I’m open for any future opportunities!

To end I’d just like to give a shoutout and thank you 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. 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, Disco Dave, EB Skeet (RIP), Slim the Robot, Peek-A-Boo, Poppin Pete, Mr Wiggles, Jazzy J, Tornado, Adesola, Klown, Sugar Foot, Pat Cesar, Jimmy Williams, Frank Boogie, Loose Canon, Lockadelic, Fon, Treklock, Boombeast, Quantalock, Apachapoulilock, LOCKUNITY, Vancity Lockers, LMC Lockers, Vovan, Funky J, MadMax, Takashi, Ken-G, Ichi, Chi, Candyman, Lounes, Firelock, Hurricane, Shock-a-lock, Tash & WATTSSOUL, Priska and the Locking4Life Family all around the world!!!!

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