The meeting of dancers Sedakov and Kukushina

Russian wheelchair dance couple Maksim Sedakov and Svetlana Kukushina first met through a chance encounter but Sedakov has gone on to dance at the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. 23 Jul 2014 By Alison Graham | for the IPC

“We are training hard and looking forward to the Continents Cup competition”

After his accident in secondary school, Russian wheelchair dancer Maksim Sedakov sat in the gymnasium of the Dinamika Centre, a school for children.

He watched a young girl work with children in wheelchairs and was fascinated by what they were doing. By observing others, he discovered that what he was doing with his own body in a wheelchair was only the beginning for him. This discovery would lead him down a path to learning not only traditional wheelchair dance, but break dancing as well.

Two days after sitting in the gymnasium, the choreographer of the school asked him if he wanted to dance the rumba at the “Faith, Hope and Love” festival with the same young instructor, Svetlana Kukushkina.

Kukushkina had graduated from the Institute of Pedagogics and was invited to teach at the centre, where she joined the school dance group and met Sedakov.

The two have been dancing together ever since those days in 2004 and have gone on to become incredibly successful.

They have won seven championships in Russia, two silver medals at the World Championships in Hannover 2010 and Tokyo 2013 and came first place at the World Dance Olympiad in Platja d’Aro, Spain.

They have also won the Continents Cup three times and have received prizes in international competitions in Germany, Ukraine, Poland, the Netherlands, Malta, Serbia, China and more.

Tokyo 2013 was definitely a big step for the couple. Kukushkina had taken one year off from dancing in order to take care of her newborn.

“It was not easy to get back in the sport, to find time for training, to change our sports program, but we managed to do it and I did not disappoint my partner,” Kukushkina said.

The couple won silver but are looking to go for gold in their upcoming competitions, the IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport Continents Cup competition in St. Petersburg, Russia, in September.

“We are training hard and looking forward to the Continents Cup competition” they said. “It is always very exciting to dance in front of family and friends in St. Petersburg.”

Sedakov and Kukushkina plan to compete in the combi Latin class 2.

All of the competitions and obstacles for the couple come up against their motto, “Impossible is possible,” which they certainly proved after Sedakov began learning how to break dance with a wheelchair.

Sedakov and Kukushkina were trying to find new ways of using the wheelchair in dancing, and thought of using acrobatic elements. They brought in a technician to create a special model of a wheelchair that allowed Sedakov to perform acrobatic moves.

These moves have allowed him to participate in the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games Closing Ceremony and perform at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games Closing Ceremony in his home country.

“We have our own style of dance,” Kukushkina said. “When dancing we completely dissolve in each other, feel each other even with closed eyes and when we are back to back to each other. Dance unites us together in harmony.”

The 2014 IPC Wheelchair Dance Sport Continents Cup takes place from 13-15 September.