They are grieving the loss of the thing that gave focus and meaning to their lives.
Dancers are dedicated people, but they are not the only ones who feel a special bond to their work. They are also privileged in that not only do they love what they do but they can earn money doing it, which is rare in the working world. I understand that’s a tough thing to lose.
But many people who have been laid off, even those who don’t love their work as dancers do, often feel the same way – their work gave them a focus and meaning that vanishes when they are unemployed. When workers who’ve spent decades at one firm get fired, it’s like losing a part of themselves. They feel the same feelings described by the dancers in the NYT article, often accentuated by concerns about such matters as health insurance coverage. Marriages break down. People fall into severe depressions. I'm sorry that Ms. Flack lost her childhood dream. Other people are living in tent cities.
I know the fact that other people are worse off doesn't help much when you're the one in pain, and that's perfectly understandable. I don't think that we as observers should lose sight of the big picture, though.