Zeta Spyraki on pole dance and film-making

In the past year, I have been upping my pole dance video game by booking professional showreels with film-maker, pole dancer and university lecturer Zeta Spyraki. We love a versatile babe! Zeta has the power to make me look like a fucking rockstar in my own music video, so I wanted to make sure you all got to know her and learnt her best tips to become a rockstar yourself.

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Who is Zeta Spyraki?

Zeta Spyraki can often be found looking through a camera, whether that’s on set or while teaching film-making and cinematography part-time at Lincoln and Southampton University. She says: “What I film very often is dance, be it pole dance or other movement. Pole dancing happens to also be a big part of my life and own expression.”

Her career has brought her to win awards and take part in festivals around the world, with two of the short films she wrote and directed being shown in Palm Springs, Los Angeles, Edinburgh and Athens. Not shy of Hollywood features – she worked in the lighting crew for The Courier – Zeta caught my eye for her stunning visuals and edits… and also because, like me, she juggles several lives and personae.

Aside from her film and academic work, Zeta won Pole Theatre Amateur Classique in 2023, a milestone for her because she felt like her own expression as a pole dancer was taking shape, fully following her creative vision and leading her to be unapologetically herself. In this interview, she shares her filming tips, her film-making and pole journeys, and her thoughts on these two different but intertwined industries.

Zeta at Pole Theatre pictured by Fotocad

Zeta’s film-making journey

“I’ve always found telling stories a big creative outlet, a need almost,” Zeta tells me. While story-telling initially came to her through writing – she won a literary competition at only 15! – she actually did a Bachelor degree in Computer Science before fully committing to film work. She says: “I continued writing and even stumbled upon telling stories visually, and creating my first (VERY rough around the edges) film work, which then led to my Film School Master and being a filmmaker.”

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Now, she can’t imagine doing anything else.

Zeta’s filming and directing style

“I have two hats, a Cinematographer one and a Director one. I don’t usually wear them at the same time,” Zeta says.

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One of Zeta’s films’ posters

As a cinematographer, so someone in charge of camera and lighting, she loves observing, having the camera become eyes that focus on details, people, spaces, movement. As a director, Zeta prefers telling simple, human stories, usually at a slow pace and in an observational manner. “I guess in both what mostly captivates me is human nature,” she adds.

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Zeta’s pole dance journey

Zeta did ballet for years before taking up pole, but lost love for it as she grew older as she found it didn’t allow her to express herself fully.

“I tried a bit of contemporary,” she says, “which fuelled my love for dance again, and eventually about five years ago found pole. It was a revelation for me!”

Although she started out with the sportier stuff, slowly she expanded into heels, finding flow and musicality and exploring sensual movement. “I am now truly in love with it as its own form of movement and art, with a massive amount of respect to its true, sex worker origins, and even timidly now at a stage of forming my own style and expression, my own way of moving through pole.”

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Zeta at ExoGen Greece photographed by Lagom Image

Developing her expression through time, celebrating her style and movement has been a constant in all her careers – even before her Pole Theatre win. “I only got to compete after someone else dropped out as initially I didn’t make it – it goes to show that what matters is celebrating your movement no matter what, and not getting too caught up in titles,” she says, adding that this is similar to how she feels about her film work as she matures as a film-maker. “It’s all about being proud in your own storytelling and trusting your vision and your own hard work,” she believes.

Zeta’s pole style is a blend of strength-building, mirroring her initial passion for tricks, with her newest focus: “expression, fluidity, musicality and forming my own style of sensual movement.” She describes herself as “a mover who plays between strength and sensuality, experimenting with the mix and flavours.”

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Zeta shot by Ray Marsh

Shooting pole dance showreels

Filming pole dance came really naturally to Zeta. “Having always danced as a hobby, I have been in the company of dancers from a young age,” she says, meaning this led her to filming many dance projects as a film-maker, including some films for Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London and the BBC.

“Pole dancers also started approaching me for some videos and one thing led to another and I am now filming pole more than anything else,” she says, adding that she’s incredibly grateful of having joined Ray Marsh and Cassie Pickersgill‘s The Pole Nook team, where she now films all pole showreels. The two videos she filmed of me here- which you can see below – are probably my fave videos of myself of all time.

“The showreels in particular I really enjoy,” Zeta says, “as we get to create together with the dancer being filmed, we choose and tailor the lighting, the mood, the whole aesthetic. It allows me to film ‘telling’ your story as a dancer.”

Zeta’s tips to make the most out of pole videos

With the technology we now have available, Zeta says you can easily get a great-looking video even on a phone. “You can also invest – or have a friend who has invested – into some accessories, or even a camera that will allow you for sleek looking footage, and that is fantastic,” she says.

“However, for me creating a cinematic video takes this further: telling your story with a dance film, a showreel that is built and lit for you, with camera work and cinematography that approaches it as its own form of art.”

What makes a showreel unique is that it’s tailored, cinematic, and all about your own expression, she argues.

Still, whether you’re filming through a phone or a professional camera, Zeta’s main advice is “to celebrate the stage you are at and your own expression. You are unique, no one else moves like you. So copying someone else’s movement or video won’t unleash your potential fully.”

When you book a showreel with her, she is there to fully support you being you, and to capture and follow that cinematically. That applies to all aspects, from the outfit you choose, to the freestyle or choreography or tricks you want to showcase. “Treating yourself to a professionally filmed art piece that features you, celebrating who you are – that genuinely inspires me,” Zeta says.

Blending different lives

Zeta finds herself working in two under-funded, often challenging industries that are still very professionally and personally rewarding. Being an artist can’t be detached from what’s happening in the outside world, so she says that the fact the film industry is going through a long-lasting crisis isn’t surprising:

“We are living in times of an overall crisis, with shocking worldwide events and the taste of recession everywhere. More specifically, with the (justified) strikes in the film industry last year, plus the increasing amount of people interested in the craft, it’s fair to say it’s a constant battle to have enough projects, and good quality projects. But in the end I have faith in my love for this work and have shifted my focus on projects I connect with more.”

Zeta Spyraki

While pole dancing is not as competitive for her – she doesn’t teach – she says “it does feel like there is a lot of competition and occasionally opposing forces, with social media taking a bit of centre stage within it.” What matters to her though is that “pole is something beyond these elements, which is what will sustain it and hold its community together.”

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Zeta shot by Ray Marsh

I really wanted to capture Zeta’s life and projects on this blog because I am interested in the lives of people who, like me, juggle different personae while also coming from conservative cultures and education – in her case, Greece and Computer Science.

About her life right now, she says:

“It’s a lot to juggle (I’m sure you and many others can relate!). My favourite part is how this inspires me – and often each area inspires and motivates the other. It is all very me and there’s something really empowering about finding my true self through all these aspects.”

Zeta Spyraki

Still, she reminds me that this life is not without its challenges: “These are all competitive areas, all occasionally subjective to what is considered an accomplishment, and all of it requires quite a lot of investment both practically and mentally.” She adds: “I often have to remind myself what I’m in it for in terms of being a director, academic, pole dancer and to reconnect with that purpose.”

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Zeta shot by Ray Marsh

An all-rounder in work and in life, Zeta is one of the most inspiring creatives I’ve come across in the pole world, and I’m so glad our paths crossed offline and on this blog!

Where to find Zeta

Like me, Zeta will be performing at The Pole Nook’s second anniversary showcase on the 31st of March. The show is currently sold out but keep an eye on their socials in case some tickets become available!

You can also find Zeta online below:

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