Alexander Polupanov, Software Engineer on Dancing & Piano

My name is Alexander Polupanov, I am from Tallinn in Estonia, and I am a Software Engineer, mostly doing web development. I was interested in tech at the age of 7, when I found a personal computer and was amazed by it. I played some games and tried MS Excel – soon after that, I realised that I wanted to create something myself! At the age of 12, I started to write my own programs.

Outside of work, I like reading, walking, listening to audiobooks, learning Spanish, running, and doing workouts outside (on the bars), as well as participating in charity and Christian projects. Primarily, I love piano and dancing.

I first became interested in dancing when I was a young boy – I used to watch Michael Jackson clips and tried to copy his dancing tricks. My main dancing inspirations are Michael Jackson, Seo Fernandez, and Jorge Ataca (I’ve been learning directly from the latter two).

What I love about dancing is that it is the funniest and coolest workout ever! But I also like to lead a partner and to see how she uses the frame; I allow her to express herself in her unique moves. I like to be on the stage, and I like the very moment at the end of the show, when you know how much time it took to prepare for it and now everything is done!

One of my favourite dancing experiences is a very special story. A lady from Greece contacted me on Facebook as she wanted to visit Tallinn and was looking for a place to dance. I agreed to show her our salsa parties and to dance with her. Later, it happened that I had to go to Riga, Latvia on these dates. Sadly, we couldn’t meet in Tallinn and she had to find these places on her own. I finished with my business in Riga and was sitting in a hostel lobby when I heard someone’s voice wonderingly calling my name. It was her, standing at the entrance door. While coming back home from Estonia, she decided to visit other Baltic countries and was staying in the same hostel! So yes, we had another chance to dance!

Looking at my other activity, I also love playing piano. My aunt originally taught me when I was a kid, but I had no interest in it back then. When I started dancing salsa 11 years ago, I really liked music tracks with piano. I had a strong desire to get these beautiful sounds out of this instrument. I then began to improvise.

What I love about playing piano is how leading the music is like leading a partner on the dance floor. I am enjoying my favourite music while having control over it, touching the keys, putting my feelings in it, listening to how the instrument reacts.

With dancing, I have done plenty of live performances. With piano, I sometimes just entered some nice hotel and played there in the lobby. The guests seemed to enjoy that (hopefully).

One goal I have with dance is to teach my future wife so we could dance together. Another goal is to learn to play piano well enough to perform outside of cafes or restaurants.

I definitely think dancing and piano have been a benefit to my technological career. They develop both sides of the brain, and it is a good way to relax after work. Dancing is good as a type of physical exercise – you have to move to stay healthy! Another important aspect is self-expression. Sometimes, I write a very beautiful melody (code) but nobody hears it. People can even look at the code, but most of them won’t understand the beauty of it. They just need it to work. So, I had to find some other way to express my creativity. That’s where dancing and piano came in.

There is always more than tech, and it helps tech people to become more open. You might not be aware of that, but you have a hidden talent in you! Like dance and music, writing good code is an art too. It is a music that only software engineers can hear. And yes, sometimes you have to “dance” to make it work!

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