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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ABOUT SUSAN KENDAL
Susan Kendal

Susan Kendal

I am the founder and artistic director of Pocket Alchemy, a company I established in 2002 as a vehicle for my various creative projects. I do many things to fulfill my living and curiosity: I choreograph, teach, costume and write about dance; I edit independently; I sew burping pads and quilts for babies (and any number of other bits and bobs, I do adore both stitching by hand and my trusty sewing machine!); I knit things both flat and 3-dimensional; I make greeting cards with ink, paper and stitching. As for the company name of Pocket Alchemy, I think, I hope, it describes my mandate and mission as an artist: to reach into a pocket, any pocket, literal or figurative, stir up base ideas and images, and eventually emerge with a nugget of art more rich than its parts. This is what creating, performing and witnessing art is to me: a bit of back-alley magic that, even when my own, retains a dust of surprise, an element of the fantastic. Pocket Alchemy it is.

Susan Kendal by Walter Lai

Susan Kendal by Walter Lai

There are 2 little boys that 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 for 4 years. 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, concocting the next project! In particular I sew, but I also carve a mean rubber stamp, wield both glue stick and gun quite deftly and adore the myriad of textures available in paper, the possibility in a bolt of fabric, a sheet of paper, a skein of yarn. That’s what makes me hum.

At the moment Pocket Alchemy is focused on the creation of a regular line of burping clothes, receiving blankets, quilts and play mats for babies.

Burping Pads by Pocket Alchemy (blue and red are the flannels line, the brown is the recycled t-shirt line)

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DANCE

Inspired by the collision of words and movement, Pocket Alchemy dance works often include the integration of text. Choreography is developed by a “sourdough” process of words informing movement, movement inspiring text and so on, back and forth until a delicious piece of dance is cooked up.

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

Krista Posyniak in rehearsal for “Organ Stories” by Susan Kendal (2011) / Photo by Ömer Yükseker

“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