What can we learn from our colleagues at Godel? Vladyslav Burlakov, Jr. SDET from our Wroclaw office says his hobbies sparked his curiosity and interest in life. We know our colleagues have a lot of interesting hobbies to share – so we have decided to share them more broadly. Our people at Godel are not only professionals in their areas, but they also have passions which they would like to share. 

My name is Vlad, I’m from the glorious city of Odessa in Ukraine. Since early childhood, I was a curious child. I lived in a private house in the middle of nowhere, and most of my time was spent outdoors with other kids. My house was near an active airport and an abandoned airfield. We had access to a decommissioned plane where we could climb and play. Also nearby was a large factory, the territory to which we occasionally had access when there were no workers around because some of the neighbouring kids’ parents worked there.

I had the best childhood one could imagine for a little boy. My toys were real aeroplanes, tanks, cars, and armoured vehicles, and my playgrounds were vast fields, the abandoned airfield, the factory (where there was plenty of interesting stuff), a small, forested area where we built treehouses, and we climbed fences and made bonfires.

“I believe it was this wild and carefree childhood that sparked my curiosity and interest in life and everything around me, and that fire still burns within me to this day.”

When my family moved to the urban concrete jungles, and as I grew a little older, my first passion and interest became music. I listened to everything from classical to hip-hop and rock. I then wanted to play music myself, so I learned to play the guitar and percussion instruments. That’s when my love for the underground scene and its various expressions and directions began to grow. It seemed like everything interested me, and my friends even gave me the nickname “Hit” because I was always getting into something new. I preferred the underground over the mainstream. It seemed like I dabbled in just about everything, and even my mom called me “Hit” for a while!

My next hobby was “Le Parkour”. At that time, Parkour was still an underground movement and had not gained widespread popularity as it has today. I came across a video on the internet featuring David Belle, the founder of Parkour, and I was captivated. There were only a few guys in my city doing Parkour, and I found them and started training with them. We ran and climbed all over the city, learned new tricks, went to acrobatics gyms, and mastered various flips. Many of the guys didn’t even record videos, they did it for themselves and their enjoyment. When I started training, Instagram didn’t even exist.

After a while, I stumbled upon a video on the internet where a guy was spinning some strange socks in his hands, and it fascinated me. I made myself the same kind of socks as the guy in the video and tried to learn the movements. At first, I couldn’t do anything, and I even gave up several times. It turned out that these socks are called POI, and they are a training prop. And there is also fire POI, which is set on fire and used for fire shows. I found like-minded people, who could be counted on one hand at the time, and we started training together.

Over time, this hobby turned into a 13-year journey that evolved into a business and even a way of life.
My partner and I, whom I met through fire, founded a collective of professional artists. We learned many new things on our own, created new directions for shows, found like-minded individuals, and choreographers, trained new people, designed costumes, crafted various equipment, bought a bus, and travelled all over Ukraine, performing our shows. Sometimes we would drive from one town to another all night long.

Our passion for this hobby never waned, and it’s one of those cases where you do what you love, and it sustains you. It was incredibly cool, exciting, and interesting. Every trip was filled with new stories and events.

My love for dance probably began when I first saw breakdancing. But the fire inside me truly ignited when I watched the first Step Up movie. I didn’t have any serious thoughts or plans about it. I just vividly remember the moment when I fell in love with dance. I tried to start practising different dance styles, but I gave up on most of them almost immediately. I didn’t get seriously involved in any of them. I couldn’t choose a direction, and everything felt a bit off. One day, a girl took me to an open dance class called “Contact Improvisation.” I went because I was invited, and I didn’t expect much from the event since I had no idea what it was about, and that’s precisely what intrigued me. I’m so grateful to fate and the person who brought me there that day because I fell in love with this style of dance with my entire body and soul.

In this dance, I found the freedom that I was missing in other styles. There are no boundaries in this dance. I can express myself to the fullest, and say everything that can’t be said in words through this dance. It has been an integral part of my life for 11 years now, and here in Wroclaw, I found a community for Contact Improvisation that became my little family.

“Answering why I chose these hobbies, well, maybe they chose me? I see some parallels between them.”

David Belle, the creator of Parkour, said: “No boundaries, only obstacles.” This phrase became Parkour’s motto and guides my life and continues to inspire me. Every time I face difficulties, I remember David and his words, and I start looking for a way to overcome the obstacle.

Gabrielle Roth, a dancer quite popular in the Contact community and the creator of the “5 Rhythms” technique, said: “If you don’t do your dance, who will?” I interpret this phrase as a reminder that if you don’t live your life, who will live it for you? Your life is your dance. There’s a lot of meaning in this phrase for me, and it’s about not being confined, about living and moving forward, not just existing. Dance your own dance! Fire. I love fire! We have a special, long-lasting relationship. I know how to play with him and how to direct him, but it’s untamable, it has no boundaries. Fire possesses great power, but it can also incinerate everything, including yourself, so fire teaches responsibility for your actions and thoughtfulness about what you do and how it affects you and those around you.

At their core, all these hobbies remind me of freedom, and the opportunity to live this life and express myself as I wish. They remind me that life is not infinite, and you should live it now. What unites my interests fundamentally is that they don’t have a competitive spirit at their core. Parkour, at its core, was a means of efficiently overcoming obstacles and nothing more. Over time, other aspects were added, and various competitions emerged.

Contact Improvisation has no competition since it’s not a performance for audience judgment. From the outside, it can look sometimes strange and incomprehensible and sometimes beautiful. But what’s happening inside the person who’s dancing or between two people is something words can’t convey, and it’s hard to grasp with the eyes. To fully experience it, you must be one of those dancing at that moment, not just watching. Fire shows. If we look at their origins, Maori warriors used poi to develop hand strength and dexterity, while women used poi to develop flexibility and grace in the ceremonial dance “Maori Kapahaka.”

Here’s another piece of wisdom from those non-competitive hobbies: Don’t try to compete with everyone around you because you’ll lose. There’s always someone better than you. Compare yourself to your past self.

My hobbies allow me to stay alive, recharge my battery, exhale deeply and take a deep breath of fresh air. What could be better before a workday? I consider myself fortunate from the very start at Godel. I landed in reliable hands with a mentor who believed in me and invested their energy and time in me, trying to impart as much knowledge as possible, breaking it down in detail. I felt the support, and it gave me the strength not to give up, for which I am immensely grateful.

I enjoy what I do at Godel, and I still have that spark. In my free time, I strive to learn to move forward and grow as a professional. I am sincerely thankful to Godel. I am surrounded by wonderful, intelligent people, who have interesting projects, and an excellent team. Naturally, there are challenges and difficulties, but they strengthen me.

Also, in my free time, I’m learning to play the drum kit, ride a bicycle, play billiards, attend various music concerts and play with my cat Busya.

To those reading this post, I can say: Dance your own dance now, because there is no other time!