Mona Störling-Enna grew up in a small city on the Baltic sea just one hour from the Artctic Circle in Finland. Her family's records dated back to the 12th Century in Kokkola. Surrounded by sea and forest, Mona was constantly reminded of the effortless beauty of nature whether it be the frozen crystals of a deep winter or the shine of the midnight sun. Mona grew up in a household with an entrepreneurial mother and an artist father. Mona learned to paint in water color and oils by her father as a child and was one of the youngest people ever accepted into the Nordic Art Institute. But another art form had already captured her heart, and after one year of study, Mona left the Institute to focus primarily on dance. An unusual influence enriched Mona's artistic development. As a young teenager, Mona became a Christian under the pastorship of Johan Candelin. "Why don't you dance for God?", he asked, and her whole world started to change. Not having any role models, Mona began to bind her faith and her art in an organic and wholistic way. Pastor Candelin opened up opportunities for her to use her dance gifts including public concerts, church events and even smuggling Bibles into Communist countries on trips where she and her youth dance group would also perform. Mona was enrolled in the Keski-Pohjanmaan Ballet Academy, directed by Marita Nieminen, and was fortunate to dance in the top levels that the school offered.
She eventually moved to Helsinki, studied under Jill Miller and Ritva Kuusio at Tanssivintti, and started her first dance company, Kadosh with Titta Tunkkari and Yara Soini. Kadosh began performing in Finland as well as tours to Central Europe. Mona would spend her summers in Paris training under teachers from the Paris Opera including Raymond Franchetti and Piotr Nardelli. While in Helsinki, Mona received the Young Choreographers Blue Ribbon Award from the Arctic Steps Dance Association.
Jeremiah Enna grew up in Kansas City and began his performing career in a small, but ambitous group called Crackerjack Theater under the direction of Troy Garrison. Although he entered Rockhurst High School with an academic scholarship, by his junior year he was focused on performing as a full time career. A job offer to work with an anti-drug abuse organization started by television and sports star, Cathy Lee Crosby took Jeremiah out to Los Angeles where he worked under the direction of Janie Cummings. After living and working in Los Angeles for some time, Jeremiah applied to UCLA where he majored in Theater and was fortunate to work under theater master, Michael Hackett and musical theater director, John Hall. At UCLA he studied Horton technique and Jazz at Joe Tremaine's Dance Center under Bill Prudich and Doug Caldwell.
Upon graduation, Jeremiah moved to Sweden to join Vibeka Muasya's Eternia Dans Teater, a professional dance comany under the auspices of Kreativ Mission, a Christian arts organization experimenting with applying the Christian reality to arts and culture. Muasya created the production, We Want To Live with the ensemble which toured for 5 years throughout Europe. Having been invited to tour Israel by the Israeli Ambassador to Sweden, Muasya sent Enna in her place. While in Jerusalem, Jeremiah joined the faculty of a dance conference by the ICDF where one of his students happened to be, Mona Störling. The rest is history.
Married in 1992, the Ennas moved to Kansas City in 1995 to start Störling Dance Theater and The Culture House. Störling would embody their passions of dance, story, beauty and contemporary relevance. Their big question was, "Would Americans like our brand of art?"
Störling Dance Theater had their first major concert in 1997 with their entre onto a major Kansas City stage in 2000 with The Prodigal Daughter. Chosen as one of the Top 15 performances of the year by Kansas City Stars Paul Horsley, Störling pace of audience expansion and artistic ambition has not slowed down. Landmark productions include Sower, Butterlfy "an artistic risk that really paid off" - K.C. Star, Suspended Grace and the signature Underground. Underground, chosen as one of the Top 10 Performances for the Decade by The Independent, premiered in 2008 and has become an annual tradition for Kansas City. Tobin James, company member and co-choreographer of Underground, subsequently became Associate Artistic Director of Störling. One of Störling's greatest honors was to be welcomed into the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts for their innaugural year. The Kauffman is now the site of the annual performances of Underground and home to one of the most diverse audiences gathered throughout the year. In 2016, Underground will begin touring to St. Louis as an expression of hope in the restoration of the Ferguson, Missouri community.
Mona Störling-Enna and Tobin James lead the company infusing it with their constrasting dance and artistic backgrounds but their intensely focused artistic touch. Tobin was born and raised in Washington D.C. and went on to train at the Martha Graham School of Dance in New York City. Upon graduation, she danced for Philadanco under the innovator and dance pioneer, Joan Myers Brown. Tobin has performed as a soloist, choreographed national tours for the music industry and is now one of the most sought after Graham teachers in the Kansas City dance community. Her passionate and arresting choreography often is the finishing touch to a memorable concert.
Two women, one from the city, the other from the frozen Nordic land are unlikely, but highly successful partners in crafting a dance company that can tell a story or weave a message like no other. They are currently at the onset of crafting a new major work, The Cost of Living.