The dance community is far more generous, supportive and accepting than the general public is precisely because we are better educated than they are. We can look beyond the superficial to the quality of the dance. However, just look at MTV, or even take a look at most mainstream dance performers. Physical shape does play a major role.I can only speak as I have experienced and after one occasion when I knew i had danced terribly Khaled was so kind and so understanding he helped me to carry on as a performer-this is not the behaviour of a diva-he hardly knew me but he was kind enough to help me through my crisis moment. i can never be grateful enough for his kindness.May be in the Uk we are not so hung up in appearences as you seem to be in the US and we can appreciate the quality and technique of of dancer even if he/she does not look body perfect.
If we want to stay put in our own little niche, then that's fine, but if we want recognition and taken seriously as artists on the same level as other established forms, then we have to realize that we will be judged by the same standards they are. Nobody said it was fair, but that's the way it is.