Amari Yarbrough

A few months ago, I was contacted by a friend who needed some new images for his upcoming website/branding project. Getting such emails is a normal occurrence, but when he proposed capturing these images while on figure skates---my interest and excitement heightened! Styled by our equally talented friend Apuje Kalu this shoot turned into an amazing and fun experience. Peep the shots below, and read more about Amari Yarbrough and how to get in contact with him..........
p.s. don't let the smile fool you (He's very demanding.........signed hurt toes and ankles)

 Giving his background it seemed more likely that Amari Yarbrough would end up more a victim of his West Baltimore neighborhood than a college graduate and professional athlete.  Despite the odds that were stacked against him as a youth, Amari ignored the boundaries of negativity and chased his dreams of excellence.   
The second born of six children, Amari first got his start in figure skating at the age of nine when he was invited to attend a public session by his best friend.  Upon arriving at Northwest Ice Rink in the Mt. Washington section of Baltimore, Amari would have to leave before he got a chance to skate.  Wanting Amari to at least get a chance to step on the ice, the mother of his best friend went ahead and signed him up for the group lessons that were taking place.  For the next six weeks, Amari practiced at Northwest Ice Rink with his best friend and several other young skaters but when the next enrollment period came up, Amari would have to sit out due to his parent’s inability to afford any future lessons.   
"At the age of 13, Amari began working at Northwest Ice Rink handing out rental skates to the patrons. As an employee of the rink, management quietly allowed Amari to skate for free and money earned was used to pay for a new pair of skates. Amari spent hours on the ice, without a coach, but often imitating what he had picked up watching figure skating on television. Sometimes, Amari would listen in on other student’s lessons in order to pick up tips on how to execute proper technique. "

"While practicing one day, Amari was spotted by a John’s Hopkins Pediatrician, Dr. Dennis Brooks, who inquired about Amari’s training and background.  After discovering that Amari was without a coach and in the midst of financial hardships, Dr. Brooks offered to take over his expenses and set him up with Bruno Jerry; one of Baltimore’s most sought after figure skating coaches at the time.  Bruno, one of the few African-American skaters in the sport at that time, took Amari on as a student and the signs of improvement immediately began to show.  Under Bruno’s tutelage, Amari made tremendous progress in a short period of time landing multi revolution jumps in less than a year.  As the demands of training increased, Amari’s home life was taking a toll of its own.  Unable to cope with their addiction, Amari’s parents separated in hopes of eventual sobriety.  "
"For the next few years, Amari poured his attention into school and skating.  He knew he wanted to be a competitor, but he also had dreams of being the first in his family to attend a university.  However, his dreams of being a top competitor would be derailed at the news of Bruno’s sudden passing.  Now a senior at Dunbar High School, Amari was without a coach and direction.  Dr. Brooks reached out to Ron Ludington, a World and Olympic coach who was the head of University of Delaware’s training facility for figure skaters.  After one lesson, Mr. Ludington agreed to take Amari on as a student.  Having been accepted  to the University of Pittsburgh, Amari spent the summer before his freshman year of college in Newark, DE working under the watchful eye of Mr. Ludington." 
"As an undergraduate, Amari continued his training in various disciplines; Singles-Suna Murray, Pairs-Elena Valova, and Dance-Bob Mock.  After graduating from Pitt with a degree in English Writing, Amari received the opportunity of a lifetime when he went on to perform with Rory Flack, an African-American professional champion skater.  Ms. Flack had started, Ebony on Ice, the world’s first all African-American ice show and later renamed Soul Spectacular on Ice.  The show performed to sold out audiences for several years in various cities across the country.  While on the road, Amari began working on a memoir based on his experiences growing up in Baltimore and being a skater.   Enigma’s Child, Amari’s first book, was released to critical acclaim and put gave an introspective look into the life of a very unconventional figure skater."

"Currently, Amari resides in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area where he coaches competitive and test skaters.  Amari also provides aspiring authors with a full range of publishing services including, editing, typesetting, book cover design and layout, and printing. "

To inquire about figure skating lessons, please email

To get a quote on publishing services, email

 Below is proof that I will do whatever it takes for the shot........Plus Mr. Poteat got skills on the rink


Apuje January 24, 2013 at 10:15 AM  

It was pleasure to work with such talented people who also happen to be my good friends. Looking forward to the next project.

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