Just come across this…..

If the dancers are not rotating, click on the image.  The lines are a great addition to the classic dancer illusion because it makes the far left hand figure appear to move in one direction and the far right hand figure move in the opposite direction.  Does it make your brain hurt?


  1. I’ve only ever been able to see one direction before, and the effect is so strong that I couldn’t conceive how anyone could possibly see it the other way. With this however, when I’m looking at either of the outside two I perceive them all as rotating in that direction, and when I look at the middle one, I see the direction corresponding to whichever outside one I looked at most recently, and can’t make it flip.

    1. Me too, and I still maintain that the direction on the right is just plain wrong. When the extended leg is pointing forwards, it’s shrunken in a completely inaccurate manner.

    2. Love it! I’ve never been able to see the image rotate in the direction of the left image before, and as the above writers said, when you look at on image and then back to the centre, it appears to rotate in that direction!

      I still think the right image is wrong. A dancer/gymnast rotating in that direction would stand on the other foot

  2. Umm… nice title for the .gif file.

    But this is very cool… makes it very easy to switch to middle dancer from one direction to the other.

  3. Nice – I’ve been able (sometimes with a little effort) to make these kinds of illusion change direction when they’re plain. I can’t see to get the coloured ones to change the direction they’re going in.


  4. That’s very cool.

    It would be interesting to see this with less lines, too.

    Surely just having the eyes on there would be enough to trick the brain into one rotation?

  5. It occurs to me that this phenomenon is related to Richard Feynman’s puzzle about the mirror (how come the image is flipped left-to-right, but not to-to-bottom?). Here he is explaining it:

    The answer in both cases is that the image is not what we perceive it to be at all. The dancer in the middle isn’t rotating in either direction – in fact it’s not a dancer at all. It’s just a 2D shape that is morphing in a particular way, and our brains make the rest of it up. Similarly, your image in the mirror isn’t a rotated 3D image – it’s a 2D image that your real 3D self could never match except by sort of turning inside out in some impossible way.

    1. Very interesting this video about the mirror. I asked me about three years ago the same question…and found the answer without any additional help ! But i think its not really the same phenomen: On the figur we always want to know in whitch direction the person looks, because its important if you will be affected by this person or if you want to start to flirt with her. So the Brain is programmed to find the truth. I made it to change the direction of the middle figur without watching on one of the other figures. Its hard, and one time the direction was changed i had to let two or three full turns until i could try again to reverse. But with a technical or geometric form like a ring or a cube you can reverse the direction easier.
      And the answer why in a mirror changes right and left only, is because the human body has a vertical axis (backbone) to turn his head and he compares the real Picture with the picture in the mirror by rotating his head 180 degrees around this axis. A dog, if he compares the both pics by put his head between his forelegs, will mean that up and down will be reversed by a mirror.

  6. Hahaha…AT LAST! I only managed once before to get the figure to go in an anti-clockwise direction and now looking at it with three figures I can alternate from left to right and the figure actually changes direction!!

  7. Correlation doesn’t necessarily imply causation but I had sore eyes for over an hour afterwards.
    Of course I did start playing Minecraft during that time…

    Seriously though, that’s awesome.

  8. In fact she must be turning clockwise.
    Because in her counterclockwise motion her right foot is turning in the opposite direction when the left leg goes from the left side of the GIF to the center.

    That’s why we might say what is the correct direction of her movement, because the other one is anatomically impossible 😉

  9. I have always had trouble getting her to rotate like the right hand side with lines. The lines helped me switch her rotation much easier.

  10. Aha! It reminded me when i once had a debate against myself if my shadow faces me or otherwise. Of course i didn’t rotate my whole body, just my hands. XD

  11. This illusion has never worked for me, I only see her turning one way. But with the lines, for a moment, I saw her turn the other way.

  12. If you look at it from kind of off to the side, for a second you can actually make yourself see all three of them rotating the same direction, regardless of the lines in the two outer figures you can make them rotate the other direction, that’s what makes your brain hurt.

  13. Blimey, I’ve just been watching it for ages. Sometimes, if I’m watching the one on the right, the one on the left looks like a mirror image! – i.e. somehow my brain reverses it 😮

  14. While looking at the center figure, there were a couple times where I perceived her as swaying back and forth rather than rotating. That one was kind of odd.

    1. Yeah, if you go back and forth looking at the end ones in the proper time you can make the middle one sway as opposed to spin, it’s a neat illusion.

  15. Very Tricky ! It worked by me after ten seconds “training”.

    By the way, im always preparing me to be confused when i visit this blog site….

    I think it works because on the middle figure the white line between the buttocks is missing, (sorry).

  16. Cool. I’ve always been able to get these to turn no problem…even make it turn left then right side to side and not make a complete rotation and can still do that with the center one but can’t get the two end figures to change directions at all. May have to do with the colored lines. One rotates only on the red foot and the other only on the blue foot.

  17. In the past I have been able, with effort, to get the dancer to change direction, but with the lines drawn on the outer two it’s now really easy to do.
    It would be interesting to see how few lines it would take to have this affect.
    Can you do something like this to help see magic eye pictures, because I’ve tried just about all ways of looking at them and still can’t see them!!

  18. Relax and cross your eyes so you can merge two of the three figures together. Then things get even funkier!

    ~~ Paul

  19. Any chance of doing the same lines job on the rotating cat illusion? I like to use the cat illusion with my students, and the dancer is a little too uncovered for this part of the world.

  20. Fascinating!

    I have seen it many times since it is featured in a banner campaign for some kind of training company. I also never managed to flip directions. Until now!

    The trick is that the girl is standing on a different leg in the two rotation directions. You cant simply look at the girl and make her mentally rotate the other way. You also must ‘hop’ her over to her other leg. This takes me half a rotation of pretty much ignoring everything i see, and then picking up the mirror image…

  21. It’s weird, I can only see the on in the middle spin the same way as the one on the right after looking on that one for a few seconds. And then, even if I cover up left left one, the middle one will still seem to flip direction after a few seconds, spinning the same way the left one does.

  22. Honestly, I can stare at the picture and see it going either way (the version without the lines to help you).

    I can usually switch back and forth at will, but there is one thing about this illusion that just never worked for me…. The shadow at the bottom.

    If someone or something were to be suspended above a mirror, in a pose similar to that of the dancer, depending on the positioning of the viewer, you would only see the extended foot when it was pointed in one direction from the suspended person, not either in front OR in back. If anything you would see it both ways, but the shadow I think adds a depth that they shouldn’t have bothered with.

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