IMHO not necessarily in strict tempo but an emphasis on strong weak relations in the bar. Your idea about melody vs rhythm is an interpretation which you have decided and has to be respected for your approach. My appraoch to the suites is more on keeping a dance feeling but finding the contours of the piece from the 'key journey.' - done through dynamics and colours. But I take more liberty in the preludes as these are a more free form than the other dances.

My approach is not the bible and people may disagree but I hope this helps?