In 1977 John Travolta became a star by playing the lead role of Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever. Manero worked a nowhere job in Brooklyn and lived for the dance floor. That’s where he felt most alive, and most fully human. And that’s where he staked his identity. He was Tony Manero, king of the dance floor.
In the movie he sets out to win the dance contest at the local disco. A Hispanic couple danced better than he and his partner did, but he gets the prize anyhow. Why? He is well-known at this particular disco, he is Italian, and so are the folks who run the disco.
It was in inside job. It was corrupt.
Though winning seems to have meant everything to him, he rejects the prize because he feels he didn't deserve it. It turns out that his dedication to the craft of dancing means more to him than the prize. Until he lost this contest he didn’t know that.
Thus to accept the tainted prize would be to assert that dancing, in itself, is of no consequence. If dancing is of no consequence, then what’s the value of being Tony Manero, dancer?