How to dance lock

Your Guide to Popping and Locking

© Sinisa Kanizaj / Red Bull Content Pool

How did popping and locking come to be? Find out more about the dance style and the moves to create more emotive dances.

Written by Red Bull Editorial Team

4 min readPublished on

Popping and locking have inspired hip hop, dubstep, and other modern dance moves for a long time. These two dance styles differ in their movements, though. While both dance styles tend to intertwine, popping and locking is a combined style of dance that has a very distinct rhythm. This unique move is the combination of two movements: the pop and the lock.

What Is Popping and Locking?

Popping has its roots in Fresno, California, and is the creation of Sam “Boogaloo Sam” of the group Electric Boogaloos. Locking is the creation of Don Campbell, a member of the Lockers, a Los Angeles group. These two moves combine to form a basis for hip hop, dubstep, and contemporary dancers to play into their choreography. Here's a guide to help you understand the moves and how you can up your popping and locking game so you can get better and create more emotive dances.

Practice Popping With Some Basic Moves

Dive into perfecting your popping by learning some of the basics. First of all, popping involves contracting and relaxing your muscles, creating a hit effect when you put it to the beat of the music you're dancing to. You can use popping in quick successions or in slow and controlled movements to add emphasis to certain beats in the music.

Popping Simcho performs at the Red Bull Dance Your Style Pre-World Final

© Little Shao/Red Bull Content Pool

The Forearm Hit

To get the hang of popping, start with a basic forearm hit or forearm pop. Just contract and relax the muscles of your forearm to the beat of the music, either in fast hits or slow hits to reflect the different points in the rhythm that you want to make stand out in your dance.

The Chest Pop

When you do a chest pop, you're pretty much doing the same thing as you do with a forearm hit, except the movement is in your chest muscles. Contract your chest inward quickly, almost where it feels like you're jerking your body in, but keep it controlled. Relax the tension in your chest muscles as quickly as you contract, and repeat the motion in the pattern you need for your choreography.

Play with this move by contracting and relaxing the muscles in your chest as you shift your body parts in different directions during your dance routine. Combine your forearm hits with your chest pops to create a flow to the music. You can use these two popping moves to form the basis of other moves you put into your dances.

Next Comes Locking

Locking is just stopping right in the middle of a quick movement and holding that position for a moment before flowing back into your dance. It's pretty easy to do. Just go through your routine and put these stops at different points in the music that you want to accent with your body. Freeze your dance in a position that drives your choreography to the rhythm, hold it for a couple of beats, and continue the routine. Here are some signature lock dance moves you can practice to hone your skills as a dubstep or hip hop dancer.

Greenteck poses for a portrait during the Red Bull Dancers Tour Japan

© Little Shao/Red Bull Content Pool

Ask for Five

This locking dance step looks like the hand signal for a high five. To pull off this lock, listen for the points in the music where you want to put your stop, and start playing it out in your choreography. Dance your routine and lock your hand in a high-five position for several beats.

This looks awesome when you follow through with a forearm hit to emphasize the beat of the music. You can use the ask for five move in a few different ways. In one, you can do it one-handed where you freeze your hand right in front of your body, or you can use both hands as you flow with forearm hits. It's really up to you how much or how little you put the move into your dance steps.

Locking Points

To pull off this lock, incorporate pointing in your choreography. Dance your routine and at certain beats through the music, freeze your hand while pointing at something or someone. This can accent your moves in a really cool-looking way on stage, especially if you're performing with live musicians, so you can lock point at the guitarist, drummer, or other person playing on stage with you.

Popping and locking are unique dance moves that have a long history of influencing popular and mainstream hip hop and other dance styles. Today, street dancers who favor contemporary styles like funk dances and dubstep can use the popping and locking moves to bring out the music, beat, and one-of-a-kind dance style. So give some of these moves a try, and if you're up for learning more, there are always dance lessons from the pros.

What is Locking? A Look At One Of Today's Funkiest Dances.

During his time at college, art student Don Campbellock could often be found by the jukebox in the cafeteria, drawing sketches of the students dancing to the latest 70s funk tunes.

He had always admired the way the dancers moved, but didn’t feel like he could look as good as they did. 

And at first? He didn’t.

Don tried his hand at the Robot Shuffle, and struggled so much to get it right that he ended up doing an entirely different move.

But to his surprise, the other dancers loved his move even more.

They started to shout:

“Do that Lock, Campbell, do that Lock!”

And with that, the art of Locking was born.


After Don got a taste of dance through that first signature move, he began looking for more ways to explore the art.

His “Lock” move was a playful arm/body freeze that was timed to emphasize striking moments in the music.  

In order to fill the space throughout the song, he started experimenting with other movements, like the Hambone, Wrist Rolls, and Points.

From clubs and parties, Don started bringing his most crowd-pleasing moves to local competitions where he and his fellow students would battle for cash.

Word got out about Don’s emerging dance style, and soon he found himself performing for talent scouts of the hit show, Soul Train.

Don was selected for the 1971 season of the show, where he went toe-to-toe with dancers of different styles before making it to the grand finale.

Throughout that season of Soul Train, Locking spread across the US as the hot new dance to learn. This also landed Don a record deal to create music to promote his dance.

In 1972, Don took off on a US tour, where he performed his signature dance along with his song, further spreading the style and paving the way for the worldwide Locking competitions, shows, and workshops we see today.


The Locking art form is now defined as the expression of the individual using the Lock as the base – the starting point for you to be creative. 

The main tenet of Locking is to be yourself! 

Don and other early Lockers were so dedicated to self-expression that they actually instructed Locking students to step away from what Don was doing and experiment with their own movement.

“When Don first performed the style, he wore suspenders just to keep his pants up. Now, you see Lockers still wearing suspenders just like him, but he woulda told you to wear your thing. So wear it. Do it. Be yourself in every aspect of how you approach the dance.” - Dennis Danehy, son of Don Campbellock

In addition to self-expression, another tenet of Locking is self-love.

Don loved the power and pride instilled by music artists like James Brown, who hyped themselves up just as much as they did others.

This is why we see popular Locking moves like “Giving Yourself Five” where you’re literally acknowledging yourself!


After months of touring and teaching Locking culture, Don founded his first crew of Locking dancers, called the “Campbellock Dancers.”

The crew was composed of solo dancers who would each step out of line to perform their solo, while the remaining dancers kept time in the background.

It wasn’t until Don met another dancer named Toni Basil, that he chose to explore a more cohesive act.

They had partnered in 1972 to compete in US contests, but found that they didn’t stand a chance against the traditional styles danced in small-town dance halls. 

Toni and Don decided to put together a larger crew for flashier, more choreographed performances, and founded “The Lockers.”

These crews became monumental to Locking’s emergence in the street battle scene.


While Locking was initially a solo dance, Soul Train and competition shows called for thoughtful staging and a larger library of foundational moves to create choreography.

So, The Lockers and other dance crews took existing moves from other styles and “lock-ified” them for the background.

Authentic Locking instructors still teach these moves in workshops, however, they are emphasized as being secondary to the foundational moves Don first created.

Popular foundational moves include:

Wrist Rolls

Snapping Fingers

The Quickie


Trading 4s and 8s

For surviving Locking pioneers and current Lockers, preserving the history and culture of Locking is of the utmost importance, so they urge dancers to learn it from those who are as close to the source as possible.

Dancers can find Locking hubs in larger US cities such as New York and LA, as well as in international training hubs like Paris.

Keep an eye out for some of the most popular competitions!

You can also learn all of the moves above and more with the “Intro to Locking” program on STEEZY Studio, designed by Dennis Danehy and taught by Locking legends Alain “Hurrikane” Lauture and Omar “FireLock” Thomas!

On STEEZY, you not only get to learn the style from the perspective of Don himself, but also get the help of intuitive tools that give you full control of your training experience.

“The important part is to sift through the cultural narrative and make sure you’re getting the intention for each movement. That’s why this program is extremely important. You can get guided practice, honesty, and the BEST possible tools for training!” - Dennis Danehy

Tap below to learn more!

What To Read Next:

What is Jazz Dance

Hip hop Dance Moves

The Council of Blood: Castle Nathria

The Council of Blood: Castle Nathria boss tactics and overview — Mirima Fion
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  4. nine0003 The Council of Blood: Castle Nathria Boss Tactics and Overview

This guide contains full tactics for the Council of Blood, the boss of Castle Nathria, on all difficulty levels: normal, heroic and mythic.

Advice of Blood - normal difficulty

Advice of Blood is an encounter in which you have to fight three bosses at once with separate health reserves. When one boss dies, the rest are fully restored and gain additional abilities. nine0015

  • they have separate health, and when one of them dies, the rest are restored, then there is no point in trying to keep them nearby if this does not give you an increase in DPS on the main target.
  • Abilities obtained by bosses do not depend on the person killed. Everyone always gets the same set in the same order.

Since you can kill the Council in any order, let's look at the different options. There is practically no “best” here, because all raid compositions are different. nine0015

  • Kill the bosses in the order that removes the most problematic mechanics for your group.
  • Baroness Frida will make it difficult if you're having trouble interrupting spells, as her Eldritch Arrow Volley does a lot of damage if left uninterrupted.
  • Castellan Niklaus will cause problems if you have AoE and CC issues, especially with his Castellan Fury on Heroic difficulty.
  • Lord Stavros will be difficult for players who find it difficult to quickly and accurately move around the marks and coordinate, because. his Dark Ball ability is very strong. nine0004
  • For an average raid in a vacuum, the following order may be optimal:
    1# Lord Stavros -> 2# Baroness Frieda -> 3# Castellan Niklaus .

One of the main combat mechanics is ballroom dancing. Each player will have their own column of light where they need to stand:

  • The dance phase occurs every time the health of any of the bosses drops below 50%. All bosses and adds jump to the balcony and take 99% less damage. nine0004
  • The raid has 8 seconds to get into position. Anyone who does not make it in time will be instantly killed.
  • Do not crowd in the center so that everyone can clearly see their highlighted position.

Standing in position, several servants will join the raid, who will also participate in the dance: and move there with all the dancers.

  • Each successful move will grant you one point of Mastery Footwork, increasing your movement speed by 3% for 20 seconds, and it stacks. nine0004
  • If you move into the wrong position, you will lose all stacks and take damage from the Foolish Trick ability. It will stop when you do take your seat or the dance is over.
  • After several transitions (the exact number is still unknown), the phase will end and the bosses will return to the battlefield again.
  • If you need to delay the dance phase, pause damage against a boss that is approaching 50% health.
  • During the battle, players need to stay on the "dance floor", as several bouncers, Dance Controller, stand around the perimeter. Any player that leaves the designated area in the center will be knocked back and take minor damage. nine0015

    • The dodgers disappear after the dance phase and you can freely use this space if necessary.

    Throughout the battle, the raid will gradually accumulate the effect of Oppressive Atmosphere - this debuff deals a small amount of darkness damage every second, but stacks indefinitely.

    • Stacks are reset after killing one of the bosses or at the start of the dance.
    • Healers of need to keep this cycle in mind and calculate their strength for severe damage at the end of each of these cycles. nine0004
    Baroness Frieda

    Eldritch Arrow Volley — The Baroness uses this ability, which deals heavy dark damage and inflicts a 12-second debuff.

    • This spell should always be interrupted as the damage is pretty high and your healers will dry out quickly.
    • If you are not sure that it will always be interrupted, then keep a couple of CDs in reserve.

    Siphon Essence - Freeda uses this ability approximately every 20 seconds. She deals moderate Shadow damage every second to several random players for 4 seconds. nine0015

    • This spell cannot be interrupted - heal and burn.

    1 boss dies: Frida gains Pride Eruption - she deals high damage to the entire raid, while each player additionally deals damage to everyone within a radius of 6 meters:

    • The entire raid must keep a distance of 6 meters.
    • If this ability overlaps with other mechanics, then be especially careful not to approach other players.

    2nd boss dies: Frida gains Soulthorn, a channeled spell that can be cast on tanks. Within 4.5 sec. 4 spikes will fly into the active tank:

    • Each spike deals great physical damage and increases received from the next one.
    • Each soulthorn also distributes a portion of the damage dealt to the primary target to all other players as shadow damage.
    • Tanks need to push through and/or change on 2 spikes if they can. nine0004
    Castellan Niklaus

    Duelist's Retaliation - This ability is often used by the boss on the current tank:

    • It instantly deals high physical damage and increases the amount received by this ability by 100% for 25 sec. The effect is cumulative.
    • Tanks need to change at 2 stacks. This ability has the same timing as Lord Stavros' Evasive Blow ability.

    Impenetrable Shield - The Castellan periodically summons a Diligent Attendant add that travels to the boss with the lowest health and covers him with a shield:

    • This boss becomes immune to any damage until the Acolyte is killed.
    • It is logical to say that the shield will always be applied to the boss you are currently killing. Therefore, all fighters must instantly switch to the Attendant.
    • Acolyte does not need to be tanked, cannot be controlled or interrupted by his spell, but can be moved.

    1 boss dies: Castellan gains the ability to summon Grumpy Waiter adds. They will spawn along the edges of the "dance floor" and throw themselves at random players. Throw Food, dealing a small amount of Nature damage:

    • The waiters must be gathered and controlled in order to kill them as quickly as possible.
    • It is important to switch damage to them, especially if the dance phase is approaching - you will be completely uncomfortable doing them on it.

    2nd boss dies: Castellan gains Castellan's Helpers ability, which summons Veteran Stoneguard. He needs to be tanked as he will deal heavy damage with melee attacks and will cast Sin-Stained Blade on his tank. nine0015

    • Stoneguard is a priority target for fighters , because the effect of the increased damage is cumulative and the tank will not live long.
    • Keep the add close to the boss to maximize passive damage.
    Lord Stavros

    Evasive Blow - This ability will often be used by the boss on an active tank. He teleports behind him and then dashes forward 20 meters:

    • Anyone in the way will take heavy physical damage and 100% more damage from Evasive Blow for 25 seconds. nine0004
    • Tanks need to hold the boss in such a way that when he dashes, he does not throw himself at other players. Try to imagine that the tank is firing 20 meters ahead and make sure no one is there.
    • Tanks change when 2 stacks of this ability are received. It coincides in timing with Castellan Niklaus' duelist's Strike Back.

    Dark Ball - Multiple players become a couple for 8 seconds. - They will take damage every 0. 5 seconds while being more than 8 meters away from each other. nine0015

    • The players of the pair will be linked by a red beam.
    • They will also create void zones below them that will explode after a few moments, dealing heavy dark damage to anyone within them. The difficulty is that the pair will have to move together and not create unnecessary problems for other players.
    • Stay spread out so that connected players have more room to maneuver.

    1 boss dies: Stavros gains the Blood Waltz ability - after the dance phase, the Waltz Ventir adds spawn in the hall, they will move in a small area:

    • Any player that touches Venthyr will take dark damage and be stunned for 1 second.
    • Once you see where the adds spawn, move away from that spot.
    • The Waltzing Ventirs cannot be interacted with in any way.

    2nd boss dies: Stavros gains the Dancing Fools ability - a lot of adds appear in the hall that players cannot interact with in any way:

    • players within 11 meters of each add will take massive damage. Because There are so many of them that there will be nowhere to hide. nine0004
    • Immediately after starting to cast a stir, one of the adds will become active and can be attacked.
    • You have 13 seconds to kill him, clearing a small space for yourself where the entire raid can survive the explosion of the others.
    Advice of Blood - Heroic difficulty

    In Heroic, each boss gains one additional ability when alone.

    Baroness Frieda

    Supernatural Pain - This ability causes players to leave a pool of Pain Incarnate underneath them every time they take damage from her abilities:

    • Pain manifested inflicts moderate dark damage to anyone standing within it. Puddles disappear after 30 seconds.
    • If at this stage you also have Soul Thorns, the floor will be filled with debris rather quickly - move the whole raid around the hall and lay it all out as compactly as possible.
    • Players affected by her Essence Siphon ability will be quite vulnerable to any raid errors - let them run away or squeeze.
    Castellan Niklaus

    Castellan's Rage - Any of his adds on death will give 100% increased damage for 18 seconds to all other adds within 12 meters:

    • Make sure Veteran Stoneguard doesn't get the buff. Try to take him or the add you are killing.
    • A diligent servant does not get buffed, but his death will buff others.
    • Buff only applies to other adds, not the boss.
    Lord Stavros

    Clumsiness - All players stack stacks of this effect on themselves every time they move, reducing movement speed by 2%. The effect stacks every 0.3 seconds. movement. nine0015

    • Standing still, stacks fall quickly. This debuff can also be removed with abilities that negate "move-impairing effects".
    • This effect is rather problematic, because many of Stavros' other abilities require players to move around a lot: Bloody Waltz, Dancing Goonies, and Dark Ball.
    • This debuff requires some skill, you will need to practice.
    Advice of the Blood - Mythic difficulty

    On Mythic difficulty, at any time during the battle, except for the dance phase, 5 random players will be affected by Dance Plague:

    • Each of the five players will receive 3 stacks of debuff that lasts 30 seconds. If the debuffs expire, the player dies instantly.
    • The only way to remove the debuff is to jump. One jump removes one stack from the player, while dealing small damage to the entire raid with darkness magic.
    • You need to coordinate to remove the effect gradually in turn, otherwise the damage will be fatal.
    • You can save a few strong raid cooldowns for a while and clear most stacks at once. nine0004

    In addition, in the epoch, the death of any of the bosses leaves his residual presence - a ghost that will continue to use part of the abilities for the entire battle, except for the dance phase:

    • Baroness Frieda: will use Volley of Eldritch Arrows. Keep her close to those who will quickly shoot down.
    • Castellan Niklaus: Calling the Diligent Attendant. Be ready to kill him right after the exit.
    • Lord Stavros: will use the Dark Ball. Keep your distance and leave free space. nine0004


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    nine0000 Ball at Garibaldi Castle: "We've been in a fairy tale!" : zamok_garibaldi — LiveJournal The historical carnival, organized by the Samara dance clubs "Svita", "Dynamics" and "Americano", brought together guests from five cities of Russia in the village of Khryashchevka, Samara Region.

    Violins sing, skirts rustle, eyes shine... If you have ever dreamed about all this, click "read more" and welcome to the ball at Garibaldi Castle!

    What girl in her childhood did not envy Cinderella or Natasha Rostova? This is a rhetorical question. All girls dream of a ball gown and a handsome prince. And for the rest of their lives they keep the dream of one day getting into a fairy tale. nine0015

    Modern men, of course, rarely imagine themselves as Prince Bolkonsky or a daring hussar. But even today, as it turned out, there are gentlemen who are ready to put on epaulettes and ballroom shoes (in extreme cases, a tailcoat) in order to hug a beautiful lady wrapped in a corset and carry her away in a whirlwind of an exciting waltz.

    Three Samara dance clubs have joined forces to organize and hold the most grandiose ball in the entire history of historical dance evenings in Samara. nine0015

    Inga Shilintseva, co-organizer of the ball (club "Americano")
    - Balls in Samara have been held for 15 years, but the peak of activity has come in the last 3 years. More and more people are interested in historical dances. Nightclubs and discos are no longer interesting to many. This is for teenagers. When you grow up, you understand that interest is not the point. I want a really nice hobby. When you start to study historical dances, you start to delve into history, find out what dresses were like, what etiquette. nine0015

    Alyona Sadofyeva, organizer of the ball, head of the historical and everyday dance club "Svita":
    - Last year, the owner of the castle allowed us to make a photo session here in historical costumes, for which we are very grateful to him. And when we saw the castle, these beautiful walls, this amazing platform, I got the idea to hold a ball here. I immediately had a picture - how everything will be here: here we will plant a string quartet, here we will set tables for a buffet table, and here couples will be spinning ... And this year we managed to fulfill our plan. nine0015

    Nikolai and Ksenia Redkin, co-organizers of the ball, leaders of the historical dance club "Dynamics":
    - For our club, this is the first event of such a scale. The castle met and even exceeded our expectations. This venue is just perfect for such an event: it is both a natural scenery that takes participants several centuries back, and a spacious dance floor that allows a large number of couples to spin freely.

    There were a lot of people who wanted to get to the ball in this castle - those who did not have time to receive an invitation called the organizers even after the application was closed. “Unfortunately, we had to refuse,” Alena Sadofyeva sighs. “But we did not pursue quantity at the expense of the quality of the event and the comfort of the guests.” nine0015

    This year there were approximately equal numbers of dancers and spectators. The organizers deliberately departed from strict ballroom etiquette in order to attract newcomers to their circle in the hope that, inspired by the atmosphere of the ball, they would become interested in history, sew ballroom dresses and become experts in polonaises, mazurkas and waltzes by next year.

    The organizers' calculation turned out to be correct: many guests, who had never performed historical dances before, went out to the dance floor with pleasure and joined the club members. nine0015

    The program includes dances from the 19th century that are easy to learn even for beginners. Those who wished to attend simple pas could learn at the master classes right during the ball - and immediately dance the polka, pas de gras or march parade together with the masters.

    The participants of the ball danced to the music of the Fresco string quartet and the vocal numbers of singers Nadezhda Shavrygina and Aliya Umyarova.

    Traditional ball games were also organized for the amusement of the guests...

    ...archery, belt master class...

    ... and photo sessions in historical costumes.

    The decoration of the ball was live statues from the Togliatti Street Theater "Barcelona". week (it took place on September 6), and the participants continue to share their enthusiasm on their pages on social networks and post more and more photos of a fabulous ball in the most beautiful Gothic castle in Russia.

    Learn more