Baltimore’s Lethal Ladies step team, the heroes of director Amanda Lipitz’s 2017 documentary “Step,” continue to shine a joyous spotlight on themselves and their city. In late June, they happily performed at the wedding of one of their school’s administrators, perhaps upstaging the bride but only in the best way possible. And last week, as President Trump went to Twitter to disparage Baltimore and Congressman Elijah Cummings, former first lady Michelle Obama took to her own Twitter to reiterate her pride in the team and remind her followers of the good things to come out of the city.
Just hours after Trump began his Twitter outburst, referring to Cummings as a “brutal bully” and calling his 7th congressional district a “very dangerous and filthy place,” Obama tweeted about the team, members of which she had met shortly after the documentary’s release. “On #NationalDanceDay, I’m shouting out the Lethal Ladies, a Baltimore STEP team who I saw perform back in 2017,” she tweeted. “I’m so proud of you all—and everyone who’s dancing today!”
Obama never mentioned the president or his criticisms, and the timing could have been coincidental. But the tweet certainly showed Baltimore in a more positive light than anything else coming out of Washington that day.
Weeks earlier, the team practically stole the show at the wedding of Chevonne Hall, CEO of the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women, the team’s home. The school’s entire student body had been invited to her June 29 wedding to Michael Smith at the Carter Memorial Church of God in Christ, and the Lethal Ladies took the opportunity to perform. Happily, Lipitz sent a film crew to capture the performance on film.
“Anybody that sets foot in that school feels the magic,” says Lipitz, who remains a fierce champion of the team and the school.
“I knew they were going to do something, but I didn’t know what,” says Hall, who had seen the team practicing after finals (they resolutely refused to talk about what exactly they were doing). The performance included one of Hall’s favorite songs, Etta James’ “At Last.”
“My heart was warm and excited,” Hall says, still aglow at the memory of her family, her friends and her students, alumni and their families, 300-400 people in all, she guesses, together in one place. “This was the first time that I was able to gather everybody that I loved into one room.”