Photo by Joe Toreno

Visit Autumn Miller's Instagram feed and you'll find a video of the 18-year-old practicing fouettés. "You'll never be able to do it until you try," the caption reads.

At first it looks ordinary enough. (How many fouetté videos are there online?). But once you watch it, you'll understand why Autumn has more than a million followers. The turns are flawless, showcasing phenomenal technique—extension, coordination, lift, all of it. And if you keep scrolling, you'll find snippets of her working her butt off in class, equally at home in contemporary and hip hop, attacking each combination with the kind of fearlessness and confidence one rarely sees in a teenager.

That full-bodied devotion to her craft—what one of her mentors calls her "soul-bleeding dance"—makes Autumn a rare breed: an Instagram dance sensation more focused on her art than her follower count.

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