The American school in Crete is a specialist Summer School for girls where young gymnasts seek excellence against the backdrop of the splendid scenery and ancient mythology of the Greek Islands.
The school’s intake this year, a vivacious group of young Americans, become dangerously preoccupied with the Cretan mythology surrounding the Goddess and the Man-Bull – the “Minotaur”. Under the influence of Jane, a wayward pupil, who in turn is affected by the charismatic teachings of the sensual principal Mrs. Lake, they are drawn into a re-enactment of the Bulldance. This is a death-defying leap over the horns of a live Bull, as practiced over 3,000 years ago by young female athletes in Crete sometimes in celebration, sometimes sacrifice.
Deeply disturbing events arise from the tension that develops when the scantily clad Gymnasts conflict with the machismo locals – a girl is raped and despite being under threat of expulsion by Professor Lake, the unstable Jane prompts a bizarre vigilante response. A bull mask manufactured for a pageant, is used by the girls to entrap their suspect and bait him. Inevitably Jane goes too far, and is just prevented from actually destroying the Man-Bull. The victim is revealed as totally innocent, but Jane is undaunted.
Driven by envy, as a passionate affair develops between her friend Elaine and Steve the lead singer from the band, she pursues an ambiguous and flirtatious relationship with Jack, the school’s handsome Gym coach. When she discovers Mrs. Lake and Jack making love, the Lakes’ relationship being less than satisfactory, the balance of Jane’s delicate mind is destroyed: the man she loves in bed with the woman she so admires. In vengeful jealousy she turns once again to her obsession – the BuIldance. This time Jack is entrapped in the mask and baited, but also framed by Jane so as to appear to be the rapist.
She incites her classmates to pursue a confused and panic stricken Man-Bull into the labyrinth of tunnels and cellars beneath the School, mirrored by the Ancient Legend as it is re-enacted at the village festival in a nearby Amphitheatre. As Jack staggers into the light high up on a cliff top Jane is waiting and with a blow from behind sends him plunging to the sea below weighed down by the heavy mask.
As the troubled Professor expresses remorse for the rape before his still unconscious victim, Jane is now completely out of control. Fixated on performing a real life Bulldance she has set loose the Bull from the village pageant. The Lakes arrive at the Amphitheatre as she is preparing to leap the bellowing animal. The Professor runs forward to distract the beast, only to be fatally gored. As Jack, battered but alive, comes upon the scene having survived his ordeal, Jane makes her final run and at last succeeds, performing the Bulldance to land in triumph – oblivious to the shattered lives of those around her.