StuCo will be hosting Morp, a school-wide informal mixer, this Friday from 7-9 p.m. in the cafeteria. The neon-themed dance will cost $5 for presale tickets or $10 at the door with proceeds benefiting the Johnson County Christmas Bureau.
Morp, prom spelled backwards, last occurred in 2015 and differs from other dances in that students do not take dates and and opt for costumes over a suit and tie.
“The goal for Morp is not to come for 10 minutes and then leave to go to your afterparty like at homecoming,” senior class representative Liddy Stallard said. “Everyone should stay the whole time and dance.”
For Stallard and StuCo social chair Hannah Phillips, this year’s freshmen Link Crew dance gave a glimpse of the rave-like energy that Morp could bring. After the dance, Phillips texted in a Link Crew group chat to discuss how much fun the dance was and possibly reviving Morp.
“By the end of the night, everyone was dancing and having so much fun,” Phillips said. “We wanted the whole school to be able to experience that, not just freshmen and Link Leaders. We thought bringing back Morp would be a great way to do this.”
According to 2016-17 Student Body President Mazie Brooke, Morp’s reputation before she arrived at East was a “dance that had a large turnout, was laid back and people could just go with their friends in crazy clothes and have fun.”
Phillips believes the casual nature of Morp will draw more students to it.
“A lot of times for homecoming and WPA, people don’t even know the theme,” Phillips said. “But this dance, people will be dressing for the theme. I think all of those things together will help with making everyone want to dance and want to be a part of the crowd.”
StuCo’s social committee is working to preserve old traditions, but create new ones as well, like using black lights to illuminate the crowd. According to StuCo sponsor Brenda Fishman, Morp used to involve traditions such as decorating the cafeteria with toilet paper, going to Winstead’s beforehand, serving obscure foods such as Tang and marshmallows and “wearing their underwear on the outside of their clothes and coconut bras over their shirts.”
In the years leading up to Morp’s end, East’s football team fought its way to the postseason, extending games to November. This conflicted with the mixer, leading to a drop in attendance, according to Fishman.
The last Morp dance occurred the night of a Royals World Series game. According to Brooke, the low underclassmen turnout became the tipping point for ending Morp because they started to lose money instead of profit.
“It looked as if it had a shot because there was a decent amount of seniors who made appearances,” Brooke said. “That did not trend throughout all the grades though. The other execs and myself mentioned [continuing Morp] about once and it was clear it was not something we felt was worth the energy.”
Phillips and Stallard decided to take matters into their own hands. They brought the idea of reviving Morp to Fishman and her co-sponsor, Hannah Pence then attended a meeting on Aug. 27 with associate principal Britt Haney to approve the event.
Fishman believes it will be a “good option for those kids who don’t want to come to a formal dance with a date” and that its early end time provides students with the opportunity do so something afterwards if they desire.
While StuCo works on securing snacks, black lights, balloons, glow sticks and a DJ (East alumni Deegan Poores), students will also be preparing for the new addition to East’s social calendar.
Sophomore Claire McPhail says she and her friends plan on getting ready together and decorating themselves with glitter and paint to go with the neon theme.
“I’m excited for Morp because my friends and I had so much fun at the freshman mixer and being able to have the whole school do something together like this is really exciting,” McPhail said.