Movie Review: The dance-team documentary Step is as feel-good as it is flimsy

The documentary Step profiles three members of a step dance team at the Baltimore Leadership School For Young Women, a small girls’ college-prep charter institution, as they go through their last year of school and prepare for a big annual step competition at Bowie State. There’s Tayla, the everyteen whose mom, a corrections officer, lives vicariously through her; Cori, the valedictorian of the senior class, who has her mind set on a full scholarship to Johns Hopkins; Blessin, the team’s founder and resident diva, who was kicked off the team last year because of her dismal GPA. As for their teammates, we don’t as much as learn their names; Step’s first-time director, Amanda Lipitz, keeps the film as slick, flattering, and sound-bite-driven as a well-made fundraising video. Over and over, it pitches us reasons to care about these young women—an all-too-perfect example of a documentary …

The documentary Step profiles three members of a step dance team at the Baltimore Leadership School For Young Women, a small girls’ college-prep charter institution, as they go through their last year of school and prepare for a big annual step competition at Bowie State. There’s Tayla, the everyteen whose mom, a corrections officer, lives vicariously through her; Cori, the valedictorian of the senior class, who has her mind set on a full scholarship to Johns Hopkins; Blessin, the team’s founder and resident diva, who was kicked off the team last year because of her dismal GPA. As for their teammates, we don’t as much as learn their names; Step’s first-time director, Amanda Lipitz, keeps the film as slick, flattering, and sound-bite-driven as a well-made fundraising video. Over and over, it pitches us reasons to care about these young women—an all-too-perfect example of a documentary ...