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."