The Girl Box (2020)

"Here is what is still in my body: The body, the box, the sculpture (bodies/boxes/sculpture). Time in the window, the piece of paper on the window ledge. / The platform, the table, the hospital gurney, the coffin, the car...the mobility...the death...the platform–yes, and the platform–no. / The birth, in the box, the blue bubble wrap afterbirth and milk and baby...the birth through t-shirt. The word bottom on the bottom of the box. The boots...ahh the two boots coming up on either side of the table with you underneath. / The molecule box and canal...the portal...the plastic dress...the bride, the coffin, the lack of oxygen, the home, the lack of home, the box for delivery and delivery and delivery...the package...the packaging...the dress...the body bag...the changing room, the changing room. / You're having a blue cake. / The knife...the blue tender... / The song...yep...thanks, thanks." —Michelle Ellsworth, Mentor & Performing Artist

Photo by: Miguel DeLeon

To view the full piece, please contact rhmanayan[at]gmail[dot]com.

Choreography, Performance, Prop Design: Elle Hong
Scenic/Sound Design, Videography: Cipriano Ortega
Music: Britney Spears, Britney Spears x Charli XCX x THY NEIGHBOR

Created in-residence at Floorspace Studio (Boulder, CO), October 2020.


The Girl Box is an evening-length, contemporary performance work choreographed and performed by Elle Hong. Inspired by experiences of indicating their gender on administrative documents, or selecting gender options through online drop-down menus, the artist physicalizes the experience of trans invisibilization and dissonance whence called to identify. Through movement, spoken word, and lip-sync performance, Elle considers the embodied (im)possibilities of “boxing-in” one’s identity: what liberatory somatic frameworks might become possible through a commitment towards monolithic identity?

Choreographer’s Statement:

In this dance between a girl and a box, the dancing girl is trans but also identifies as a box. The trans, dancing girl explores various methods of boxing in, or containing, her live body within a cubic performance space. She places herself within the confines of the space’s storefront window, holding her pose like a live mannequin. She places herself inside of a literal storage box such that the box becomes literally anything other than a box: a bathtub, a black hole, a cloak of invisibility. The girl hides inside the box and animates the box from within, the box and girl becoming one. The girl grows tired of being a box; the girl sings about wanting to be a woman, but is both not a girl, and not yet a woman. Throughout the trans-dancing-box-girl’s dance, she works to physicalize the impossibility of making legible her gender performance. Instead, she opts for the messiness of her identificatory performance as made possible through the various containers she places herself within.

The girl is a box is a girl.