Whim takes part in the audition for the new dance piece SYNCOPE. Its young choreographer Julius Schwanzenbach is considered a genius since his last piece. For the last round he has a special task: While the dancers dance the choreography one last time, Julius wants to control the inhalation and exhalation of the dancers using a flicked beat. The group struggles through his beat, but the pauses between his snaps grow longer and longer, and the dance evolves into a draining struggle for air - until Julius's double clap ends the ordeal. That evening, when Whim is in her miserable apartment on the phone with her ex-boyfriend, he tries to persuade her to return. But Whim does not like to be manipulated. Suddenly she receives an e-mail: She and four other dancers are allowed to dance in SYNCOPE.
After a first meeting, the dancers begin an exhausting rehearsal marathon. Julius's strange approach of having them dance the piece time and time again demands everything from the dancers. Whim returns to the loneliness of her apartment every night with a battered body. On the evening before the premiere, the dancers and Julius toast to what they have achieved together, when suddenly everyone faints - except Julius. The dancers wake up completely disoriented on a glass platform. They all wear a metallic collar and notice a small puncture on their elbows. Through a cell phone, Julius welcomes them on stage. He explains he has injected them all with a nerve toxin that causes their muscles to spasm. To prevent the poison from paralyzing their lungs in 30 minutes, they must break it down through movement. Julius wants them to dance the piece. At any attempt to escape, he activates the neck restraints, which send a lethal electric shock. The curtain opens and the dancers stand in front of a sold-out audience.
Feeling the effect of the poison, they begin to dance. Their bodies bend and tense, creating a violent spectacle that is a sensational performance of suffering. As the piece comes to a close they have all survived the poisoning and are inundated with thunderous applause - the audience thought it was all pure performance. The applause seems to wipe the ordeal from the dancers' faces, and a smile begins to appear on Whim's face as well.