I was reading about this Japanese dance style written by a man who taught it. He said that the style was uniquely Japanese and few outsiders could really dance in the style properly. He said that he guessed that people from ancient cultures such as ones found in China, India, and some tribal people in Africa might come close, but anyone from Europe or North America didn't do it right, because their culture has one completely different belief about power and spirituality.*
He said that in Europe, people look up to find God. The power reaches up like a tree towards the heavens. European dance has people who look up, stand on tiptoes as if they were trying to fly away. European dance also focuses on beauty.
In Japanese culture, power comes found from the ground. Dancers focus on planting themselves sturdily on the ground and sink down into the ground when they wish to convey spirituality. This style of dance was also deliberately "ugly." It came into being after WWII and expresses agony, loss and defeat.
Anyway, in my fantasy story, I have a character who travels from a European style world to an Indian style world. He desires to study a form of magic that can only be studied in that country. He tries very hard. He's told that he's the best they've ever seen from his country, but he doesn't get it. He can't really get better than mediocre at it.
Anyway, I don't recall ever seeing a citation in a work of fiction. But I LOVE this guy's opinions about about philosophies about dancing. I think it would be a perfect way for my MC to get turned down when he applies for advanced study in the magic.
I don't want to copy it verbatim, but I really want to use the idea. What's the most ethical way to approach this? I'm not entirely certain that the guy is still alive. I think the article may have been written in the 80s. I could be wrong, but I can't guarantee that I could ask his permission.
*Regardless of whether you agree with this guy or not, I did watch several dancers on YouTube. I couldn't stand to watch Europeans dance the style. I couldn't put my finger on it, but it was just "wrong" for some reason. After reading this article, I watched the Euro dancers, and he was exactly right. They didn't get down low enough and no matter how hard they tried to get low, they were trying to fight the urge to lift up. They also kept trying to make the dance "pretty." When it's meant to be very "ugly."