PDC Approved 4 star pole dancing instructor Gwen Holbrey.
Gwen Holbrey is the principal instructor at the Watermelon Studio in Edinburgh, Scotland UK.
Gwen received her references for her 4 star instructor application from fellow PDC instructors Kirsten Doherty and Sandi Wilkie.
Kirsten Doherty said "In the years I’ve known Gwen, I’ve seen her work tirelessly to provide her students with a safe and welcoming environment in which to train. Her two studios in Edinburgh provide a broad range of classes for all styles and skill levels.
As well as hosting several pole superstars at her studios every year, she also organises annual retreats for her students with competition winning guest instructors – allowing her students the opportunity to learn from the very best in the industry.
I have witnessed the high standards of teaching from Gwen and each of her instructors first-hand, with each of them striving to create a safe, fun and accepting environment in class.
Outwith her own studio, Gwen shows support to the wider pole community through organising and judging pole competitions and encouraging her own students to participate in various pole events.
Gwen has gained huge respect for her work in the pole community. In 2018 alone she won Best Practice in Safety at the Pole World Festival on top of receiving the Edinburgh Business Community award. This demonstrates just how much respect she has earned as a business owner in her own right, not just in the pole world."
Sandi Wilkie said "Since 2014 Gwen has provided inviting, purpose built studios in Edinburgh for all. Her dedication to safe progression in pole has always been clear from the beginning . She has set a high standard - the array of awards she has won are a result.
None of this comes without tremendous hard work. She's always training to provide more for the students and has trained the instructors from beginners to their current 3* PDC instructor status.
It would be simple to teach classes and leave it at that, but Gwen has gone over & above, providing students with incredible opportunities – bringing international pole dancers to our doorstep for workshops. Gwen has judged competitions and ran Pole Performance for 3 years. She's also collaborated with several pole wear companies.
Gwen’s retreats are affordable, fantastic events for students to bond and train with exciting people in the industry.
Working with Gwen has been inspirational - she believes in us and teaches us to do the same. Our in-house instructor training is highly beneficial. We're encouraged to share ideas and experiences to build an ever- evolving syllabus.
Gwen dreams big - she makes them come true, and everyone's invited!"
Education & Training
2.1 Drama Degree (BAH honours)
Discoveries Dance Instructor Training Certification
Emergency first aid at work
PDC certified Dancer at Level 4
Spin city certified Stretch and Flexibility and Instructor
PDC Approved 4 star pole dancing instructor
Workshops, Courses & Master-classes Attended:
Pole Physique intensive weekend twice
Power to the Pole Camp Twice
Pole Expo Three times
Pole World Festival twice
Workshops with many pole artists including:
Cleo the Hurricane
I find great value in attending workshops for my own training, moves for the syllabus, and how to be a better instructor.
-Taught since 2013
- Poled since 2012
- Became an instructor after 6 months of lessons then became head instructor
- Decided to open The Watermelon Studio soon after and create a studio which was safe, had a focused syllabus, good quality equipment etc
- During studio preparations I focused on my own training and went for private lessons where I could to perfect my technique. I also passed all my qualifications in this time.
-I then opened The Watermelon Studio, which has been open for 5 years, and now a second studio open for 3 years. I taught the first year myself, and now have 4 other instructors working across both studios.
Student's pole dancing success:
-All 4 of our instructors were our students and have developed into fully qualified PDC approved instructors.
- Many students compete in local competitions and place in top 10.
- Our instructor Sandi Wilkie has been nominated for ‘Outstanding Teacher’ at Pole World Festival 2018 and ‘Commitment to Excellence’ at Pole World Festival 2019.
Continuing Professional Development:
Myself and the instructors are always working towards bettering the studio and making the most for our students. The awards we have been involved with include:
-Won The Community Award with Edinburgh Business Awards 2018
-Won ‘Demonstrating Best Practice in Safety Award at Pole World Festival 2018
-2nd Place in Off The pole ‘Golden Pole Awards’ for ‘Best Studio’
-Nominated for ‘Outstanding Teacher’ at Pole World Festival 2018
I was also working towards my PDC Level 5 grading but recently fell pregnant and am to weak to complete it. This will be my aim for when I return after the baby.
I have not competed but have run two competitions
One was an in-house competition at our studio the first year we opened, with Kristy Sellars as our judge.
The other was Pole Performance for three years, in partnership with Carousel Fitness Studio.
-1st year judges: Terri Fierce, Lisette Krol, Theo Robertson
-2nd year judges: Michael Donohoe, Jess Norris, Charlotte Holstead
-3rd year judges: Michael Donohoe, Terri Walsh, Sarah Scott
-Compere: Tiff Finney
-Sponsors: Pole junkie, Girlie Grip, Dragonfly, Polecat Apparel, Creatures of XIX, Hoodlum Fang, and more.
- Scottish University pole society competitions twice.
- Pole World Festival Polexcellence Awards for the event in August 2019
Pole Dancing Promotions Involvement:
-Collaborated with Polecat Apparel for custom studio merchandise
Charities we have raised money for include:
-Cash for kids
-Down Syndrome Scotland
-Macmillan Cancer Support
What publicity or media attention have you gained?
Feature on ‘5 mins with…’
Feature on Pole Junkie Website ‘Studio Spotlight’.
What has been your AAP Membership involvement?
Helped all 4 instructors train and pass their AAP first time.
Pole Dancing Goals & Aspirations:
-Complete my Level 5 grading and perform after I’ve had my baby.
-Continue and constantly improve my own training for myself and the studio.
-Always run the business the best I can and keep a professional and fun business.
Watermelon has ran 4 retreats in the north of Scotland, each hosting 10 students.
-X2 Pole jams
-Food and accommodation provided
-House with hot tub and cinema room
-An outdoor activity
-Photoshoot and a sports massage
The last two retreats Terri Fierce and Michael Donohoe were guest instructors.
Watermelon also runs
-1-2 students showcases a year since
-Photoshoots each year for the students
-Several pole artists a year
-Several in-house workshops
-In-house Pole Camps.
At our peak times we run up to
-35 pole classes a week
-Around 300 student spaces
-In the past 4 years we have had over 3790 users sign up to our booking site.