Baltimore, the city of unrest in 2015 when riots broke out over the Freddie Gray case was televised all over the world and for the population of the city they had to deal with the good and bad of the people who lived there. This documentary basically follows three young African American girls, their hopes, family life, friends, college aspirations, dreams and their Step classes during their senior year of high school.
Blessin Giraldo is the founder and captain of Step at her school, the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women, BLSYW. Like many senior high school students she hopes to be the first in her family to attend college but she must improve her grades in order to get accepted. She discovers that like her time in Step if she applies herself in class she can actually achieve good grades. Her mother tends to support her at home but not as much at school when her instructors ask to meet her for consultations. Paula Dofat, the Director of College Counseling, has requested many times to meet her mother but to no prevail until one day she showed her support by coming to her school.
Tayla Solomon, a member of the Step group at school lives with her mother, a correctional officer in Baltimore. She supports her daughter in everything that she does and after high school will struggle being away from her if she is accepted into Alabama A&M.
Cori Grainger lives with six siblings, her mother and step-father, he has recently lost his job and the electric is sometimes cut off for non-payment but at the core of the family they all make it work. Her ultimate goal is to get accepted at John Hopkins but she needs a full scholarship in order to attend.
We watch as these girls and their classmates work their way through daily classes, Step classes and the sometimes hardship of living in Baltimore. What keeps them going and basically out of trouble beside school and Step are their dreams of making it out of Baltimore and achieving their future goals. College app day to protests of Black Lives Matter the girls are practicing to compete at the Bowie Competition with hopes of winning it for the first time ever. When the school year comes to an end and graduation day is upon the girls we eventually learn who gets accepted into college while leaving behind the memories, goals and determination for the next group of girls to continue Stepping.
The film is a bit jumbled in its direction and since it’s a documentary they do a nice job of bringing the pieces of the girls lives together so they make sense but I felt that there just could have been more in the character development of these girls and by that I mean getting deep within their minds showcasing their hopes, dreams and ambitions more than they portrayed. The film has a good score with some great Step moves although I wish there was more of in the way of dance throughout the story. The film lost my attention in the middle but by the end it makes up for it. I think this film will find a small core audience but like it has always been said if you can change one life you made a difference and I’m sure this documentary will do that. I also enjoyed before our screening that we got to see a live dance group of young students from Sweetheart Nation Step Team performing Step, it was truly inspiring as this story should be for others.