True Star Training Class officially started the second day after the press conference. Besides candidates selected by companies through various competitions based all over the country, the students participating in the class also included people like Tang Feng who had already been working in the entertainment industry for a while, but still had talents to be unearthed and the potential to go further. Unexpectedly, Tang Feng came across a familiar face at the shooting location. It was Tang Tian Tian, the actress he had worked with in the TV drama.
When Tang Tian Tian saw him, she enthusiastically came over to greet him. She asked Tang Feng if the wounds he had sustained on the last day of filming had healed while cursing at the guy who was pulling the strings in the background. Additionally, she cursed the guy to forever be a small-time star whose fame would never reach the international level.
“For people who like to pull nasty tricks while hiding in the background, their world would ever only be as big as a small well!” While speaking, Tang Tian Tian animatedly drew small circles in the air to emphasize her point.
The two of them chatted for a while, but staff members quickly rounded everyone up into a large group. Besides the numerous teachers and students, Tang Feng noticed that there were even members of the training class’ production team in the crowd. A staff member addressed the crowd and soon gave him the reason as to why.
“Every word you speak and every action you take will be recorded by the cameras and broadcasted on TV. The videos will also be uploaded to the internet where people will be able to watch and comment on your progress. To become good actors and actresses, all of you will first have to get used to the camera.” The staff member pointed to the spotlights nearby before continuing, “You will also have to adapt to a life of being constantly under the spotlight; so much attention will be focused on you that it can be said your private lives are nonexistent.”
Tang Feng inwardly marveled at Lu Tian Chen’s creative ability to turn a profit. Creating a training class to foster future stars was a risky investment. After all, even if money had been invested into these people, it was impossible to know whether they will bring back the desired results in the future. They could exceed the expectations which were put on them, but they could also never meet those expectations, resulting in a huge loss for the company.
In order to balance out the risks, it seemed like Lu Tian Chen had decided to raise the exposure of the trainees to the public. He had turned the class into a reality TV show that would be broadcasted all over the country. Besides making a large profit off of the copyrights of the show, the broadcast could also raise publicity for both the training class and the Tian Chen Group. If the show proved to be successful, then that meant Lu Tian Chen had another ace in his hands.
Tang Feng silently praised Lu Tian Chen’s business instincts. Meanwhile, the staff members announced the rules of the training class. For the duration of the class, all participating trainees were to live in the same dorm. The schedule was something anyone would see in a normal school. After classes were over, one was free to do as one wished, such as filming movies and commercials, or attending another show.
When the training class ended, the company heads sponsoring the show would hand out awards based on the trainees’ performance in class and accomplishments out of class. Only one person would receive the grand prize of “True Star.” Besides winning one million yuan in prize money, one would also receive an opportunity to act in a movie by one of China’s most respected directors. In addition, there was a commercial contract also worth one million yuan. The winner also had the chance to appear on the cover of one of the four big magazines.
The generous rewards immediately sparked everyone’s interests. Despite being friends and colleagues at the moment, they were also each other’s potential enemies. Tang Feng thought that there was probably another class on the itinerary that Lu Tian Chen wasn’t telling them: interpersonal relations.
The smart ones would choose to befriend other trainees. The narrow-minded ones on the other hand, would try to obstruct other people’s progress.
It was merely a training class, a tiny drop in the ocean when compared to an actor’s long career. After leaving the training class, one’s “enemies” would eventually become one’s friends, perhaps even co-stars on the same show.
Having one more friend was always better than having one more enemy.
The first day of class consisted of dance lessons. The trainees were gathered inside a large dance studio; a European instructor with dark brown hair stood in front of them. Unexpectedly, the instructor spoke fluent Chinese, yet he appeared exactly like the European men one would see in oil paintings. The instructor had a reserved and elegant air to him. Each and every move he made was graceful to a tee.
The instructor’s voice, however, was resolute and serious. Everyone immediately understood that there was no room for laziness in their future dance lessons.
“You can call me Pacino. Tango is a dance that is as passionate as fire. The Argentine tango is especially intertwined with romance.”
Tang Tian Tian, who was standing beside Tang Feng, suddenly exclaimed in distress, “I can’t dance. I’m good at everything else, just not dancing. Tang Feng, what should I do?”
“Stupid, it’s because you can’t dance that you have to learn.” Tang Feng couldn’t resist chuckling.
“In any case, it should be fine since you can dance. Tang Feng, you definitely have to teach me in the future. You have to lead me through the entire dance. I am your dance partner after all,” Tang Tian Tian said and laughed. She then looked at Tang Feng, who was nodding at her request. She suddenly felt an inexplicable itch inside her heart. Tang Feng was graceful and handsome, with a classical air about him. Tang Tian Tian felt that he’d be quite good-looking if he were going to dance…
Tang Feng finally understood why Tang Tian Tian appeared so worried earlier. The girl truly couldn’t dance.
Watching her attempts, Tang Feng couldn’t help but feel the urge to laugh. Before the actual training began, Pacino had asked each trainee to have a dance with him. There wasn’t a specific set of movements to go through; the only thing one needed to do was to move according to the music and experience the charm and passion of Argentine tango under Pacino’s lead.
The clearly distracted Tang Tian Tian was the first one picked to have a dance with Pacino. The romantic sounds of Latin music drifted through the room, interweaving between everyone’s legs and feet. Pacino’s every move was relaxed and enchanting. Tang Tian Tian’s movements, on the other hand, were the complete opposite.
The music was obviously mellow and elegant. In addition, she was being led by Pacino, a tango master, yet Tang Tian Tian’s moves were as stiff as a robot’s. It would be wrong to call her movements “dancing.” They were more in line with a zombie’s walk. Tango, especially Argentine tango, was a dance that connected the dancers and brought out their emotions. Like vines twisting against each other, the souls and bodies of the dancers entwine together, exposing the sensuality of the dance.
But there wasn’t a single spark of attraction between Pacino and Tang Tian Tian. They appeared in pain, and the ones watching them found their dance tedious to look at.
“No, no. It’s not like this.” Pacino shook his head and quickly turned off the music.
“I don’t know how to dance.” Tang Tian Tian shrugged and said in a wheedling manner.
“Don’t think of it as simply a dance or a task to accomplish. You need to use your heart to experience the music. You need to sense your partner’s warmth and every breath.” Pacino walked towards Tang Feng but continued talking to Tang Tian Tian. “Music is a like a tiny, winding path in a forest. You need to take your partner, your momentary lover, and walk along that tiny path together. That is tango.”
“Come, how about you try it with me?” Pacino stopped in front of Tang Feng and reached out a hand with a smile.
Lacing her hands together, Tang Tian Tian leaned against the wall with a frown on her face. Wasn’t it simply dancing? Why did it seem so enigmatic when Pacino described it? Looking at Pacino and Tang Feng standing together, Tang Tian Tian immediately became alert. She had seen Pacino dance with male students before, but strangely, she was especially looking forward to it this time.
While watching Tang Feng and Pacino, Tang Tian Tian noticed something moving out of the corner of her eye. She looked up and quickly discovered someone new standing outside the studio’s door. “Eh, why is President Lu here?”
The music started once again.
The beat of the music pulsated quietly through the room. In time with the music, Tang Feng and Pacino’s steps fell lightly on the floor.
One could almost see the vine-like music entangling around their legs as they moved around. It was completely different from the awkward, stiff dance Tang Tian Tian had earlier with Pacino. The minute the music had restarted, the atmosphere in the studio changed. Tang Feng and Pacino’s dance was graceful yet commanding, a tango between men. Every step, every move they made was powerful and dominating. Every action of theirs was a battle.
The distance between their bodies was small, their chests almost touching, and yet they were also like opponents who at any time could strike each other down with their swords. Their dance was conflictive, yet sensual and moving. Unconsciously, people found themselves unable to look away from Tang Feng.
Tender yet unwilling, Tang Feng was like a captive leopard who was about to throw off his iron shackles. Pacino was the beast tamer, pulling Tang Feng closer and closer with each step as if he wanted to bind the latter to his side forever.
Their passionate and conflictive tango was an unforgettable sight for everyone watching.
Through this dance, Tang Tian Tian felt she saw another side of Tang Feng. She saw his sensitive heart concealed underneath numerous protective layers and the gentleness hidden deep within his dark brown eyes. It made people want to peel aside the layers obscuring their view and get a deeper look inside.
Tang Tian Tian’s lips lifted in a small smile. She finally found a good reason to learn tango. Aside from learning it for filming, she was now doing it so that she could have a dance with a perfect partner in an enthralling, candlelit room in the future.
“Very good. If not for the fact that I already have a lover, I think I would’ve fallen for you.” Pacino released Tang Feng’s hand and took a step backwards. He then said directly, “When you’re standing still, you appear like a dead log. But when you dance, everyone can see that you’re quite charming.”
Was that a compliment? Tang Feng smiled and accepted the praise.
“Usually, tango is performed by a man and woman. In special cases like movies, there might be scenes that require two men to dance together. Tango is divided into male and female parts, but remember, you are still a man.” Pacino smiled and patted Tang Feng on the shoulder, then added, “I’ll leave that girl in your care.”
Tang Tian Tian immediately cheered in delight. A few of the students standing by the side started clapping and praising Tang Feng for his impressive performance. Even more people called out words like “unfair.” They also wanted Tang Feng to be their dance partner.
Like a domineering princess, Tang Tian Tian came up and yelled, “No one is allowed to fight over him, he’s mine!” Suddenly, she remembered Lu Tian Chen. She turned her head towards the door, but the man was nowhere to be found.
How strange, what was President Lu doing here?
Proofreaders: Lyrick, Natas