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Life, family and dance

Anna Midden, 17, does homework in her room before going to her boyfriend's football game. Anna has performed in four shows with Lexington Theatre Company and dreams of being a Radio City Rockette.

Anna Midden, 17, can't remember a time she wasn't dancing. In an average week, she spends 20 hours at Town & Village School of Dance in Paris. 

"I'm more from Bourbon County," she says, joking about the amount of time she spends in the neighboring town. 

The Midden family have been living in Cynthiana for generations. 

Anna's parents, Richard and Meribeth, don't remember the first time they met. They were at a wedding where 5-year-old Maribeth was a flower girl and 7-year-old Richard was the ring bearer. Richard's grandfather gave him $5 to go up to her and kiss her on the cheek for a photo. The story of how they met didn't resurface until after they started dating in high school. The kiss photo  hangs in the hallway of their home. 

Richard's and Maribeth's first date was homecoming. Anna and her boyfriend, Tyler Hudgins, 17, have been dating for just over a year. Tyler asked Anna to be his girlfriend at Homecoming in 2018. 

Anna and Tyler are supportive of one another. Tyler can be found in the crowd of Anna's dance competitions and shows. Anna rarely misses one of Tyler's football games, no matter the weather. Her parents also care about him. "I told his mom, you tell him I only sit in the rain for my kids," Maribeth says. 

Wednesdays are long days at the studio for Anna. She doesn't mind it, though, because going to practice is the favorite part of her day. On Wednesdays, she spends about five hours at the studio.  She's an assistant teacher in two dance classes followed by voice lessons and ballet class.

Anna dreams of being a Rockette, one of the famous dancers at Radio City Music Hall in New York. She's too young to apply, but she's preparing herself for that audition when she turns 18. She has attended the Rockette's Summer Intensive in New York City and a Broadway-Bound Summer Dance Camp at Oklahoma City University.

She has  performed in four shows at Lexington Theatre Company as a high school apprentice, including "A Chorus Line" and "Legally Blonde." In "A Chorus Line," she was the youngest cast member. As a high school apprentice, she was part of the ensemble cast, and she was the understudy in a few roles. 

Dance has taught Anna how to be dedicated to something, how to mange her time and how to interact with people. Her parents have taught her how to live life with integrity. In addition to school and dance, she is her class president and is training to be a certified nursing assistant, a part-time job and a social life.

Anna is still trying to choose a college. She and Tyler have agreed not to talk about which school they will attend, because they don't want to influence each other's decision. 

Anna does know one thing for sure: she will audition to be a Rockette.

"I will audition every chance I get," Anna says. "(I will) go to college like normal, and if the opportunity happens, then I'll have to take it because it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity." 

Anna laughs with Abby Stroub, 18, (center) and Jacqueline Stroub, 17, as they watch old cheerleading videos on Abby's phone in class at Harrison County High School.
Ron Wilbur, a voice coach, congratulates Anna for singing a verse properly during rehearsal at Town & Village School of Dance in Paris. In addition to dancing, Anna also performs musical theatre.
During a break, Anna writes down what she is grateful for and what she is struggling with in her voice lessons at Town & Village School of Dance in Paris. On Wednesdays, Anna is an assistant teacher in two dance classes in addition to taking dance classes and voice lessons.
Anna carves pumpkins with her boyfriend, Tyler Hudgins, 17, and her brother, Jack, 12, at her home. Carving pumpkins is a family tradition. Anna and Tyler first met freshman year in science class. He and his friends threw gum wrappers at her and her friends. They didn't start dating until junior year.
Tyler and Anna make eye contact after shadowing staff at Cedar Ridge Health Campus in Cynthiana. Tyler and Anna are training to get their certified nursing assistant license as part of their Medical Nurse Aide class at Harrison County High School. Between them is their teacher, Rachel Lorenz.
Carol Hayden of Lexington tries to raise the head of her mother, Anna Riggs, who has Alzheimer's disease, as Anna interacts with her at Cedar Ridge Heatlh Campus.
Anna jokes around with her parents, Maribeth and Richard Midden, while getting ready to leave home to go to her boyfriend's football game. "He's the biggest dance dad," Anna says. He regularly bedazzles her dance outfits for competitions.
Maribeth (from left), Anna and Alyssa Hudgins watch Tyler play in the last football game of the regular season at Fleming County High School in Fleminsburg.
Anna laughs as Tyler, the quarterback of the football team, puts a HotHands on her nose after Harrison County High School lost the game to Fleming County High School in Flemingsburg.