Their feet stomp the ground in rhythmic rhapsody, the clomp of each girl’s boot-clad foot sharpened in mesmerizing unison. Their hands clap, slap and twist about their bodies in a fine-tuned pattern — sometimes the motions mirror the movements of their feet and sometimes their hands work alone. Their bodies whirl and jump across the stage in precise and authoritative choreography that demands undivided attention. Suddenly, their fists punch the air and their voices call out in harmony: “Who are we? L.L.O.B.”

That is, they are the Lethal Ladies of Baltimore — a step team from the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women that is the center of Amanda Lipitz’s 2016 documentary “Step.” The film follows the school’s first graduating class, which matriculated in 2009, as they attempt to fulfill the institution’s founding promise: every young woman will graduate and attend college nearly debt-free. Lipitz directs her camera toward the small cohort of seniors who form the backbone of the school’s step team as they navigate the tricky throes of applying to college, winning step competitions and combating the low-income status that encircles them.

“Step” places focus on three step team members in particular: Blessin Giraldo, the impassioned team captain who struggles to made adequate grades and attend classes; Cori Grainger, a driven student who has ambitions to attend Johns Hopkins University; and Tayla Solomon, whose lively but pushy mom insists on monitoring her every move. Through intimate interviews with the girls and a voyeuristic eye on emotional conversations with counselors, Lipitz allows the viewer to accompany the young women on their journey through their senior year of high school.

There are the downs: the step team loses some competitions that they practiced tirelessly for, the girls make subpar grades to the disappointment of their college counselor, the parents realize that they might not be able to afford college for their children. There are the ups: the step team wins first place at their final step competition of the year, every girl is accepted into college and most of them have sufficient grants or scholarships to cover the costs.

If the narrative structure sounds like it belongs in a sports drama produced by Disney, such an assumption wouldn’t be far off — “Step” is not without its clichés, but it’s because they are rooted in the stories of living and breathing women that the documentary never seems too melodramatic. Sure, these are happy-ending tropes that have been observed in innumerable films, but they’re also a reality for young women who couldn’t possibly begin fathom such storylines outside of fiction. Lipitz carefully weaves the quieter, troubling moments that the women face with the infectiously entertaining spirit of the step team to draw a nuanced portrait of the girls she’s documenting.

Indeed, Lipitz’s documentary pulls richness from the sheer optimism provided by the girls who attend the Leadership School for Young Women. There are complex family dynamics and financial burdens present within each of the girls’ home lives, but they are constantly looking to the future with the ardent support of the school’s faculty and their parents. Cori mentions to the camera that at one point in time, she was completely unaware that she and her mother were homeless — a testament to her mom’s stringent ability to provide for her daughter and Cori’s unabashed belief that things will always be okay.

Here, the film’s enduring message becomes apparent: the powerful force of community and solidarity within educational settings. Perhaps it does take a village to raise one of these girls high enough that she can achieve academic success, but “Step” proves that these villages indisputably exist — and they are relentless in their love, support and adoration for such girls. These resilient networks of support allow the girls to be warm, authentic, funny and vulnerable all at once, providing them with the assurance they require to blossom into intelligent young women.

Still, “Step” is not without its shortcomings. Lipitz makes concerted efforts to include the context of her subject material by splicing in footage following Freddie Gray’s death at the hands of the police and speaking to the greater narrative at hand about the city of Baltimore. But these perspectives are minimally explored, and the documentary could have benefited from contextualizing the environment that the girls were reared in to further enrich their individual stories.

Regardless of any flaws in the storytelling, “Step” is ultimately a bright, uplifting documentary in an age where most films appear steeped in tumult and adversary. By offering young, black girls a spot in the limelight — where they are so rarely offered a place — Lipitz creates a film that is both urgent in its context and exceptionally entertaining in its subject material.