Pomegranates 2023


Book your Pomegranates 2023 festival tickets on Pay What You Can basis through the Scottish Storytelling Centre Box Office in person or online by clicking the BOOK NOW link. Please note that the suggested donation of £15 per day will be reinvested in next year’s festival!


We are delighted to announce the return of our Pomegranates festival – sowing the seeds of international traditional dance across Edinburgh this spring. Initiated and curated by the Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland, the annual festival will once again mark UNESCO’s International Dance Day on 29 April 2023. The second iteration of our festival will spread across not only two but three days – 28-30 April 2023. Again, it will be hosted by both the Scottish Storytelling Centre and St. Leonard’s Dance Studio at the University of Edinburgh.

Once again, Pomegranates will form part of Edinburgh Tradfest – a festival of longer tap roots in the Edinburgh Folk Festival, launched by TRACS in 2013, then curated by Soundhouse in collaboration with Transgressive North since 2019 and with Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland since 2022.

For this year’s Pomegranates, we will also join our efforts and share the spaces of Scottish Storytelling Centre with the second North Atlantic Song Convention which was established in 2020 to celebrate and support the rich folksong traditions of all cultures that have borders with or access to the North Atlantic Ocean.

Just like our inaugural festival, Pomegranates 2023 will kick off with an intensive day packed with 12 professional development world dance workshops led by creative immigrants based in Scotland, accompanied by our trad musicians and artists-in-residence.

Works-in-progress by Gabriel Schmitz. Image courtesy the artist

We are pleased to confirm the newly-commissioned festival contribution of our 2023 resident artists – the performance poet and broadcaster of Scottish origin Ian McMillan, the tradiotional musician and composer Jonathan Bews, as well as the German visual artist and Edinburgh College of Art alumnus Gabriel Schmitz.

Opening ahead of Pomegranates 2023, Duets is Gabriel’s first solo exhibition in Scotland which we curated specifically for the Scottish Storytelling Court. This solo show will run 26 March–30 April 2023 and feature a selection of the artist’s dance drawings, dance cutouts, dance paintings and dance videos, including from his participation in the accompanying programme at 59th Venice Biennale 2022. Duets will offer opportunities to experience Gabriel’s life drawing duets with dance artists during the three days of the Pomegranates 2023 festival. Additionally, Gabriel will revisit his Alma Mater to lead a special dance and drawing masterclass with Edinburgh College of Art undergraduate students.

To Begin the Dance Once More Teaser Screenshot

Pomegranates 2023 will also bring the world premiere of our new short film To Begin the Dance Once More on the big theatre screen of the Scottish Storytelling Centre. What is more, inspired by our short dance film, we will stage Dances with Ouds and Fiddles – a brand-new live show for three dancers, a storyteller, an oud and a fiddle with new music composed, arranged and performed live by Jonathan Bews another new addition to this year’s festival.

The festival finale will see newly-commissioned poems and drawings by our resident artists Ian McMillan and Gabriel Schmitz come alive as part of our Pomegranates Promenade show. The Promenade will feature at least 12 dancers fusing fun folk dance with funky hip hop rhythms and rhymes. The Promenade’s choreographer Kemono L Riot, an esteemed hip hop artist and dancer, will MC the show under the live accompaniment of Nemo Ganguli, ‘Young Drummer of The Year’ Finalist 2022, before DJing the after party with a special playlist bound to get everybody on the dance floor.

And if that isn’t colourful enough, festival guests will have another go at dancing themselves as part of our Pomegranates 2023 Ceilidh with Terrific Trouble Ceilidh Band and dance caller extraordinaire Pia Walker as they grab their final chance to experience our exhibition Duets.

In the meantime, enjoy the highlights of Pomegranates 2022, including a short documentary, and check the draft schedule of Pomegranates 2023 below:

Pomegranates 2023 Day 1

Friday, 28 April 2023 at St. Leonard’s Dance Studio at the University of Edinburgh

0830-0900          Welcome and Registration
0900-0930          World Dance Workshop 1
0930-1000          World Dance Workshop 2
1000-1030          World Dance Workshop 3
1030-1100           Break/Networking
1100-1130           World Dance Workshop 4
1130-1200           World Dance Workshop 5
1200-1230            World Dance Workshop 6
1230-1330            Lunch/Networking
1330-1400            World Dance Workshop 7
1400-1430            World Dance Workshop 8
1430-1500            World Dance Workshop 9
1500-1530            Break/Networking
1530-1600            World Dance Workshop 10
1600-1630            World Dance Workshop 11
1630-1700            World Dance Workshop 12
1900-2000 Triple bill live show, including Thistles and Sunflowers Dance Fusion at the Scottish Storytelling Centre followed by Q&A with creative teams and a preview of Gabriel Schmitz solo exhibition


Pomegranates 2023 Day 2

Saturday, 29 April 2023 at the Scottish Storytelling Centre
1900-2030 Pomegranates 2023 Promenade live show with MC Kemono L Riot + Q&A with Gabriel Schmitz and other creatives tba
2030-2200 After party with DJ Kemono L Riot and preview of Gabriel Schmitz solo exhibition


Pomegranates 2023 Day 3

Sunday, 30 April 2023 at the Scottish Storytelling Centre
1800-1930 Dances with Ouds and Fiddles live show followed by To Begin the Dance Once More world premiere screening + Q&A with creative team
1930-2100 Ceilidh dancing open to all with Terrific Trouble Ceilidh Band and preview of Gabriel Schmitz solo exhibition



Pomegranates 2022 festival poster image courtesy of Zeynep Aciktepe at unsplash