In a piece about Cabaret by Andrew Patner for the Chicago Sun-Times --
[url=http://www.suntimes.com/output/show/wkp-news-cabaret15.html]Songs in the night[url] -- began:
Aficionados call it "the fragile art," for cabaret is harder to perform and preserve than even classical ballet or the high-wire act.
I've often heard sportscasters -- football, tennis -- say that an athlete was a "Nureyev" or a "Baryshnikov." Often a running back who deftly avoids tacklers and weaves his way to the end zone -- showing not only speed, but tremendous grace, not to mention an incredible balance -- is sometimes called as "that was ballet."
This year, a U.S. General said that his troops performed its maneuvers like (better? I forget) "than the New York Ballet".
A review I read of "Gosford Park" a few weeks ago called it "a ballet" and mentioned the ensemble acting and complicated script.
I draw from these examples that the connotation of "ballet" to those who may have never seen it is:
It is fragile, it is graceful, it is complicated, it is precise, it involves a lot of people working together smoothly.
Of course, there are dozens of "dance" metaphors: I'll dance around that question, he performed a tap dance on the witness stand, etc. But that's another question smile.gif
Any other examples you can think of? Or how is "ballet" used in everyday, or not so everyday, writing or speech?