About

Pocket Alchemy [ˈpä-kət ˈal-kə-mē] is the Ontario-based dance and creative company of artist Susan Kendal.  It is the vehicle  for her dance, craft and textile adventures.

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Artistic Director Susan Kendal:
I created Pocket Alchemy in 2002 as a vehicle for my various creative projects. I do many things to fulfill my living and curiosity:

I choreograph, teach and costume contemporary dance. I make felt matryoshkas. I sew quilts and burping cloths for babies. I knit things both flat and 3-dimensional. I am drawn to texture and nuance and am simply inspired to create. I appreciate the care and love inherent in hand-made work.

As for the company name, Pocket Alchemy: creating, performing and witnessing art is alchemical to me: a bit of back-alley, sleight-of-hand magic that even when my own retains a dust of surprise, an element of the fantastic. Pocket Alchemy it is.

There are 2 little boys who make me mom — a creative, inventive, improvisational journey at every moment! I attended Waldorf school as a child, which inspired early knitting adventures, a wide imagination and a firm appreciation of wonder. Eventually I found my way to The School of Toronto Dance Theatre’s Professional Training Program in the late 1990s where I studied contemporary dance. I worked in various capacities at The Dance Current magazine – from news editor and writer to circulation and advertising to managing editor – over 10 years and I still work as an independent arts administrator. I am surrounded both personally and professionally by a wealth of creative, excellent folk who help keep me grounded, silly, inspired, edited and generally filled with goodness.

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CRAFTS & TEXTILES

I love to make things and when I’m not making things, I’m thinking about making things. Primarily I stitch and sew, though I also carve a mean rubber stamp, wield both glue stick and gun quite deftly. I adore the myriad of textures available in paper, the possibility in a bolt of fabric, a skein of yarn or floss. Dreams of making and actually making – that’s what makes me hum.

At the moment I make a LOT of smaller and larger felt matyoshka dolls as brooches and decorations and toys:

Folk Matushka Matryoshkas dolls by Susan Kendal (2014).

Folk Matushka Matryoshkas dolls by Susan Kendal (2014).

I’m also focused on the creation of a regular line of burping clothes, quilts and play mats for babies:

Wise Owls baby burp cloth by Susan Kendal/Pocket Alchemy (2013).

Wise Owls baby burp cloth by Susan Kendal/Pocket Alchemy (2013).

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DANCE

At the centre of myself, I’m a dancer. Inspired by the collision of words and movement, my dance works often include the integration of text, audibly or on the sets or costumes. I develop my choreography through a “sourdough” process of words informing movement, movement inspiring text and so on.

Brittany Duggan in Mountain Girl, choreographed by Susan Kendal and Brittany Duggan.

Brittany Duggan in “Mountain Girl”, choreographed by Susan Kendal and Brittany Duggan (2010) / Photos by Lindsay Zier-Vogel

My company’s dances have been co-produced by the Toronto Fringe Festival and DanceWorks in Toronto and have been presented across Canada at festivals such as Artrageous in Whistler; fFIDA, Small Potatoes, Series 8:08 and Dance 2 Danse in Toronto; and the Atlantic Fringe Festival in Halifax.

Lucy Rupert and Jennifer Dallas in "A|Chromatic" by Susan Kendal (2008) / Photo by Melanie Gordon

Lucy Rupert and Jennifer Dallas in “A|Chromatic” by Susan Kendal (2008) / Photo by Melanie Gordon

“I have compiled some of my performance memories from the year [2004] … August: Susan Kendal’s The Amelia Project with text by Lindsay Zier-Vogel and danced by Lorraine Aston. The piece, based on stories of the female pilot Amelia Earhart, has just the right amount of space in its composition. I felt the quality of the thinner air that one would experience while flying a thousand feet above the earth.”

~ Megan Andrews, The Dance Current magazine

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COSTUMING

The lovely collision of the things I adore: sewing and dance! I fell into costuming in a right-place-right-time moment at the age of 19.

Knitted exo-organs (they actually magnatized to the dancer's clothing!) for my own work "Organ Stories" performed by Krista Posyniak (2011).

Knitted exo-organs (they actually magnatized to the dancer’s clothing!) for my own work “Organ Stories” performed by Krista Posyniak (2011).

Costuming has proved to be the most excellent parallel career to my dance work and has slowly but surely become the thing I do more than anything else as a professional contractor with both dance and theatre jobs finding their way to me.

Aunt Pearl Burras & Vera Carp viewing the recently deceased Judge Buckner in "Greater Tuna" for New Actors Colony Theatre, Bala, ON (2012).

Aunt Pearl Burras & Vera Carp viewing the recently deceased Judge Buckner in “Greater Tuna” for New Actors Colony Theatre, Bala, ON (2012).