Local Skater’s Artistic Skills Rolled Out The Groundworks For An Anti-Bullying Platform And Clothing Brand

Darius Sanders has been skating since he was a child. He is now an artistic roller skater who has performs with Mariah Carey on the Billboard Awards. PHOTO PROVIDED BY CHUCK WILLIAMS.
Darius Sanders has been skating since he was a child. He is now an artistic roller skater who has performs with Mariah Carey on the Billboard Awards. PHOTO PROVIDED BY CHUCK WILLIAMS.

Local Skater’s Artistic Skills Rolled Out The Groundworks For An Anti-Bullying Platform And Clothing Brand

By Tia Carol Jones

Darius Sanders has been skating since he was six years old. He became interested in artistic roller skating from watching his mother compete in the sport. He would watch her practice and compete on the weekends.

Artistic roller skating is a competitive form of roller skating, similar to figure skating on ice. Artistic roller skaters do jumps and spins, and in competition, the higher the jumps and the more intricate the spins, the more points a skater receives.

Sanders training schedule includes practicing five days a week and working with a trainer. He has competed locally in Glenwood, Lynwood and Aurora, and in Ohio and Nebraska for Nationals. He has received more than 120 medals during the span of his competitive career. He is a member of the U.S. Roller Sports Team and the National Youth Amateur Figure Roller Skaters.

In 2023, Sanders performed with Mariah Carey for the Billboard Awards. He traveled to Los Angeles and worked with Debbie Allen on the choreography for the Mariah Carey performance. While he said he was a little nervous to perform with Mariah Carey, he was also very excited.

In addition to artistic skating, Sanders also has an anti-bullying platform called Stay Focused, Stay Balanced. The goal of the platform is to bring awareness to issues young people face with bullying and cyber bullying.  The platform also offers solutions for young people to implement to decrease bullying instances. He visits schools across the region to speak with students about anti-bullying. He said he chose it as his platform because he would see people on social media being bullied, and he knew someone who had been bullied online and it touched him deeply enough that he wanted to do something about it.

Sanders chose the name Stay Focused, Stay Balanced because of a saying that he stays focused on his goals and he stays balanced on his skates. It is also the name of his clothing brand. He has partnered with Special Olympics to ensure young people don’t have to continually deal with bullying. Sanders is studying criminal justice at Richard M. Daley Community College. He chose criminal justice because he took a forensic class in high school, and he was really interested in it.

His favorite move is called the travelling camel. In it, the skater does a series of spins down to the floor. He said it is his favorite move because it is different, and he likes how gravity holds up his body while he is spinning fast.

The competitive artistic season has started. Sanders competed in February and is set to compete more in April. There is a skating invitational in April that he is preparing for.

“I want to spread awareness to other kids around Chicago and hopefully get them involved in roller skating and help them achieve their dreams,” he said.

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