STEP Review – An Uplifting, Triumphant, Docu-Drama

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

STEP, from Fox Searchlight Pictures, presents a documentary drama that showcases the first graduating class of the Baltimore Charter School, the effort the girls make to meet the challenges, and the dance team that unites them.

Directed by  Amanda Liptiz, STEP stars Paula Dofat, Blessing Giraldo, Cori Graniger and Tayla Solomon as themselves. STEP introduces family members, school administrators and others helpful in counseling the girls as they navigate the final year at The Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women.

STEP begins with a voice over explanation of the STEP Dance team, an extracurricular program, that is the center and focus of many of the girls life.

Blessin Giraldo, an aspiring dancer, hair and make-up professional, is the team captain and leader. She, by her own admission, as a natural knack for routines, and choreography.

Cori Grainger, is in STEP not so much for the satisfaction of the program as she is zeroing in on being the class valedictorian and academics are really her strong suits and she also admits, she "got used to being at the top." Her dream is Johns Hopkins.


Weinstein Lexus Short Film Series Three Review – Attention Grabbing, Comedy, and Mysticism Make the Cut


Tayla Solomon has something most don't: she has a strong willed mother, a corrections officer with at the prison, who manages the home with strength. Tayla has worked hard and is having a bit of divided attention.

The goal when the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women began in 2009, founded by the filmmaker's mothers, was to take eleven girls from inner city Baltimore and put them in this neutering school environment and guarantee the all graduate and go to college. It was a lofty goal.

The cameras follow the girls from school, where they are commanding presence on the dance floor to their individual homes where life is tough. Inner city Baltimore, is not easy street and the girls are honest about the struggles they and their families face.

Blessin, a beauty, talks of days with no food in the house. She rationalizes "she doesn't have to eat but a six year old" as she talks about her nephew? The little guy explains when the food get "here" he'll eat like a monster. Not having food in the fridge is a common and reoccurring problem for Blessin and her family in 2016.

Food insecurities, no matter how she rationalizes, has taken its toll on her as we find out her GPA is severely below the requirements for graduation and college.

Cori, our Brainiac, is focused, and with tunnel vision she pursues her education. Seeing the $40,000. a year tuition costs for Johns Hopkins, she begins to get swallowed up, the wave comes over her, and her mom, a devoted Christian, and her stepfather also a Christian, stopped her from going under and told her if that's want you want we'll make it happen.   

Cori is struggling to extradite herself and by association her entire family from the generational poverty that has wrapped its tentacles around them and tries to strangle and hold them down, and with every forward movement they are hit back. Today, it's the electric bill, the power is out and the family, with no employment can only afford so much and the lights had to wait.

Tayla, with exotic looks, has a very strong role model. Her mother shows up at he practices, and understanding the pressures of life, and the neighborhood, keeps a watchful eye on her daughter. And it is obvious when mid-way through the documentary her mother's stops the practices with her daughters report card, which has fallen to what she feels are unacceptable and has lectures her, which Tayla explains is her pet peeve about her mom, "she acts young."

The girls, each and every one of them, have so much more than what they think or believe. STEP is primarily African American Dance and is strongly featured as the girls team has been to many competition the in what would be their junior year and had not won or placed.

This year, with a new instructor and renewed determination, they decide early they want to win. Winning means practice and they do; they are dedicated to perfection, to proving they are the best, they have a drive that is rare.

STEP is a solid, heartfelt triumphant against all odds stories. These girls, maybe one or two of them, shouldn't be graduating high school. They should be the product of their environment not rising above it.

We see throughout the daily struggles they face, from extreme poverty, to finances, to food. Without, in some cases, basic life requirements, which could be a root cause for the struggling GPA and other academic problems. And these girls rise above. As college day approaches, each one is challenged to go for their dreams, oh and here at The Baltimore Leadership School, only one student had a safety net choice. Each student went for it. All in.

The girls and their families are inspiring. They see themselves bowed by poverty and it is understandable and the girls haven't let poverty invade their minds. Where it sinks some, and it is and can be generational; others understand it is a temporal circumstance and  will change.

So collages apps are in; decisions have arrived. Our scholar, Cori, whose families doesn't hesitate to encourage her to go for the her dream even at $40,000 a year? She got in; with a full ride.


The Pulitzer at 100 Review – Captivating, Informative, Pulitzer’s Most Memorable Moments


Tayla, who mother wouldn't let up on her or let her fall into a trap, got into both her choices and moved from Baltimore to Alabama.

And Blessin, who had deep struggles, was accepted to a BridgesEDU program, a transitional program that assist graduating girls and assist them prepared for college. She stayed on as Assistant Coach of the STEP team.

STEP will have you standing, applauding. The girls are charming, beautiful and talented.

STEP is in theaters everywhere Friday, August 4, 2017. See it!

 

Haute Tease

  • US, World Markets Stay Strong

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average had a strong week, surging, the market gained enough momentum to end the week on a respectable note, and once again close above the 17,000 point record set over one month ago.

     
  • Actor George Clooney Cuffed in Humanitarian Protest

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Academy Award winner George Clooney was arrested this week for civil disobedience during a planned protest at the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, DC.

     
  • Designer Parfums Announces Exclusive Fragrance Partnership with Jennifer Lopez

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Prestige beauty company, Designer Parfums, announces a new fragrance partnership with world renowned actress, singer, entertainer and producer, Jennifer Lopez.  Working alongside Dilesh Mehta, Chairman and CEO of Designer Parfums, they will create new brand innovation and strategy to drive global growth.  

  • The Venetian Resort Hotel Review - Family Friendly Vacation Flair

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Throngs of family vacationers flock to Las Vegas for the copious kid-friendly activity and entertainment options the city now has to offer, but many seek luxury lodging that provides a reprieve from the casino atmosphere central to most of the hotels on the Strip. 

     
  • Manhunt for Murder Suspect, Kidnapper James Lee DiMaggio Extends To Canadian Border

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The manhunt for murder suspect James Lee DiMaggio has extended to the entire west coast and the Canadian and Mexican borders, as the child kidnapper has eluded police and capture for three days.

Crime

  • New Jersey Man Free After 30 Year Sentence Murders Again

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Steven Pratt, after completing a 30 year sentence for murder, returned to his Atlantic City home to a party in his honor only to turn the festivities into tragedy with the horrific murder of his mother who planned the celebration.

     
  • Jealousy Alleged Motive in Houston Family Massacre

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A jealous former lover entered the Houston suburb home of his former girlfriend, through an unlocked window Saturday night, and proceeded to restrain and systemically execute every member of the family, including his own biological son.

     
  • Theater Shooter, James Holmes, Formally Sentenced

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Theater Shooter, James Holmes who walked into the Aurora Cinemark 16, in full tactical gear, tossed a smoke bomb designed to get his targets to stand, and systematically slaughtered 12 moviegoers and wounded another 70.

     
  • Breaking: Judge Orders All Cash Bonds on New Mexico Child Killers

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    In the first court appearance since their arrest on the murder of 10-year-old Victoria Martens, a New Mexico Judge has ordered bond set on all three at 1M all cash for Michelle Marten, Fabian Gonzales and Jessica Kelly.

     
  • Remains of Two Missing Pulled From Manhattan Gas Explosion Site

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The final two missing from last week’s gas explosion on Manhattan’s Lower East Side have been pulled from the rubble days after an alleged illegal gas tap set off a massive seven alarm inferno that killed two and injured 25.

Theatre, Music, Books

  • Billy Blake: Images From The Ashes The Story of Triumph over Tragedy

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Billy Blake, 71, in a flash, a moment, woke up to a raging fire rising up over the Malibu hillside and marching down the canyons engulfing his home, thirty years of work and almost everything, including his wherewithal, his hope, all lost.

     
  • Tyler Hilton Secues London's Blue Soap To Arrange Interviews and Airplay for US Tour

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    We're delighted to be working with musician and One Tree Hill actor Tyler Hilton to secure airplay and arrange interviews ahead of his upcoming 30 city American tour. The focus tracks from the album and advance dates are enclosed! Support is hugely appreciated!

     
  • After Snowden - Privacy, Secrecy and Security in the Information Age Review – Opens The Floor to Debate

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    In June 2013, Edward Snowden leaked thousands of documents he stole from the National Security Agency (NSA), from several laptop computers, exposing flaws and violations of the Fourth Amendment routinely practiced in the Domestic Surveillance program.

     
  • Broadway's Best: Celebrating the Music of Ron Abel

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Birdland, the legendary Manhattan Jazz Club, played host for two nights only to celebrate, one of Broadway's best and Hollywood's hottest talents, composer and musical genius Ron Abel.

     
  • A California Closing Review – The Perfect Set of Characters for A Summertime Read

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Ready for a digital detox? Looking for the perfect summer read, a purely fun, page turner, turned down corners, smudged pages, a no app necessary, trashy, romance novel or high brow biography; soft or hard a genuine book?