Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago Alum Performs in ‘Clean Labor’ in New York March 5

Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago alum Erica Ricketts ’13, a graduate of the Dance Center’s BFA Program in Dance,  is appearing in a new work, Clean Labor, a contemporary dance performance that makes visible what is too often overlooked–the work of cleaning professionals whose contributions ensure that our homes, offices, schools, hotels, and public spaces are safe, clean, and livable. Clean Labor is created in collaboration with cleaning professionals at the Wythe Hotel in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Choreographer Brendan Fernandes has been working with the team at the Wythe and a group of dancers, including Ricketts, to translate the graceful and strenuous motions of cleaning into a one-hour performance, which will explore the similarities between the graceful and methodical movements of cleaning and those of dance, establishing a dialogue between the two physically demanding professions and making us all more aware of how our bodies shape and are shaped by the work we do. The project aims to bring greater visibility to the professional cleaner and highlight the value of this work, and other supposedly “unskilled” labor, in our everyday lives.

Clean Labor will be performed on Sunday, March 5, at the Wythe Hotel, 80 Wythe Ave. at N. 11th St., in Brooklyn. The first performance, from 1 to 2 PM,will be staged throughout three Wythe Hotel rooms. The second performance, from 2 to 4 PM, will be followed by a closing reception at The Ides Rooftop Bar. Dancers will be joined by the Wythe Hotel’s cleaning staff in this special performance. While the cleaners make up the room, the performers will take their movements and gestures as inspiration. The performance will take place in numerous rooms throughout the Wythe as well as in the Ides Rooftop Bar. The performance is free and open to the public, but RSVPs are required; click here to make reservations. For an informational video, click here.

Choreographer Brendan Fernandes is a Canadian artist of Kenyan and Indian descent. As the son of immigrants, he has long been interested in how we perceive and value the labor of those who strive for a better life in a new country. He is currently an artist in residence and faculty member at Northwestern University in the Department of Art Theory and Practice.

Clean Labor is presented by More Art, which commissions groundbreaking artists to create public art projects that meaningfully engage communities across New York City. More Art seeks to produce and present innovative works of public art that serve as platforms for open dialogue and catalysts for new ideas and strategies in the pursuit of social justice.