Step documentary goes feet first into lives of young Baltimore women

Blessin Giraldo and step coach Gari McIntyre talk to q guest host Ali Hassan about the documentary Step.
Tayla Solomon, Cori Grainger and Blessin Giraldo from the film "Step" pose for a portrait in the WireImage Portrait Studio presented by DIRECTV during the 2017 Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2017 in Park City, Utah. (Jeff Vespa/WireImage)

Step is a type of performance that involves footsteps, stomping, handclaps, songs, chants and call-and-response cheers.
It's an energetic and upbeat way of making music with your body. But it carries a lot of meaning, too, especially for African American communities in the U.S. and in the African diaspora. And now there's a new documentary called Step that shows just why.

Step focuses on a public charter school called the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women, which opened its doors in 2009 to 120 11-year-old girls. They were accepted to the school through a lottery and the goal was for every graduating student to be accepted into college.

That would be a tall order for any school and many of these young women would be the first in their families to get a college degree. In that first year of the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women, a group of 6th grade girls founded their own step group. And it changed their lives.

A new documentary focuses in on that group of women — they call themselves the Lethal Ladies of Baltimore — and their teachers and coaches, as they go through their senior year of high school and gear up for a big step competition. It's a plot fit for a blockbuster, but this is a true story.

Ali Hassan speaks with former student and captain of the step team, Blessin Giraldo and step coach Gari McIntyre.

Step opens in theatres across Canada on August 18.

- Produced by Cora Nijhawan

Audio for this segment will be added after the interview has aired.


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