Martial applicability is the first and essential thing, every other good thing in Aikido comes only as a result of that. Be proud to learn working technique. Totally right, in my calm and nice opinion.
I believe I will begin a crusade on this and other Aikido bulletin boards to expunge words like "reduce the art to mere dancing". Dance is a great art and the words merely and reduce are inappropriate. Please, say things like "reduce the art to a hollow shell" or equivalent. Then, you will speak true.