Photo Courtesy of Nine Network / Jason Winkeler Photography
If you try to compete with the acclaimed north county step team Gentlemen of Vision, we have one thing to say: good luck.
The nationally acclaimed team is the subject of a new documentary, also called Gentlemen of Vision, debuting on Nine Network (KETC) tonight. The film follows the high-achieving team throughout its 2015 - 2016 season, showing members as they work to win national competitions, graduate from high school and set themselves on a path for success despite hardscrabble surroundings.
So what exactly is stepping? As one member explains in the Gentlemen of Vision trailer, they are not dancers. "Stepping is derived from Africa," he explains. The movement is rhythmic and precise, requiring a lot of practice to do right — particularly for any team looking to win national championships.
Riverview Gardens High School counselor and GOV cofounder Marlon Wharton knows this. He demands not only each members' time and discipline, but also good grades and post-graduation plans. Wharton acts as both a mentor and coach, receiving shouts of "Yes sir!" in response to his pep talks and emphasizing that failure is not an option in life. His approach appears effective, as the GOV have a 100 percent high school graduation rate.
The idea for the film Gentlemen of Vision came about through Nine Network's work with the American Graduate Initiative, a local and national effort to help youth succeed in school and life. Independent filmmaker Frank Popper worked with Nine Network to bring the documentary to life.
You can see it for yourself tonight at 7 p.m. on Nine PBS and again throughout the fall. The documentary will also be featured at the St. Louis International Film festival, which takes place November 3 - 13, and be entered into national film festival competitions.
In the meantime, find step moves on social media under #ShowMeStep and follow digital segments of GOV on Nine Network's social media channels.
Check out the full Gentlemen of Vision trailer below.