by Meghan Ascher
Special to The Leaven
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — “Why don’t you dance for God?” a Finnish Lutheran pastor asked a young dancer whose heart had become aflame with the Gospel.
And as Jeremiah Enna tells it, ever since that moment, Mona Störling- Enna did just that — danced for God. From smuggling Bibles into the USSR in her dance outfits to choreographing beautiful performances that radiate the Gospel message, the young woman’s faith has informed her art.
Kansas City’s performing arts community found itself doubly enriched by both the faith and talent of the couple when they moved from Finland, where they had owned and operated a dance studio, back to Jeremiah’s hometown of Kansas City, Missouri. There, they founded the Störling Theater in 1996, where Jeremiah is now the executive director and Mona its artistic director.
Now, the couple is excited to announce a new performance. Inspiration for it comes from the story of the most popular attraction in Ireland today, an iconic work of art of the same name, “The Book of Kells.”
What inspired Mona was less the artistic value of the book, which is significant in its own right, but rather the story of how the book came to be, said Jeremiah.
It is the story of a group of monks 1,200 years ago who, inspired by the Holy Spirit, embarked on a boat with no rudder and let the current take them out to sea. They arrived in a heavily pagan culture where it was not uncommon for people to sacrifice their children to idols. This was Ireland around the year 800.
With the historical “Book of Kells,” which is an artistic iteration of the four main books of the New Testament — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John — “the monks freed the people with the Gospel,” said Jeremiah.
“We treat the Gospel like it’s this stale book, but it subdued a bloodthirsty culture. It is not that far from our culture today,” Jeremiah observed.
The Störling Theater website describes the piece perfectly: “This poignant story combines beautiful choreography, live narration and Celtic music to craft a brilliantly detailed world where culture, sacrifice and forgiveness collide.”
It is hoped that this production will eventually make a college tour with a nationally touring show to follow.
“It is both an incredible work of art and a relevant statement of faith,” said Jeremiah.
There will be two performances of “The Book of Kells”: 7 p.m. on both March 17 and 18 at the Folly Theater in Kansas City, Missouri. Tickets are priced at $25 and $40. Information can be found on the Störling Dance website at: www.storlingdance.org.