When critic Maze got to spend a year -- 1973, the year of the dancers' strike -- behind the scenes with Balanchine's New York City Ballet it was like Toby Tyler running off with the circus, but as a nonparticipant with a book contract so the thrill could last a little longer. His reportage is the kind of thing that sports and pop fans get regularly -- written with the intimacy of a mascot, adoring, insatiable: proprietary and eternally committed to the glamour of this closed little world even while he exposes its solipsism (windowless dressing rooms and junk food are only emblematic of something larger) and its pedestrian details (dancers sewing -- sewing their shoes and gluing the ribbons on with Elmer's). He follows Eddy (Villella) and Milly (Hayden, retiring this year) and the troupe into Mr. B.'s classes, rehearsals with Jerry (Robbins, the ogre), performances, confabs, celebration, through days of tedium and internal stress. He sees everything, describes everything to a fan's satisfaction -- the technicalities that distinguish Balanchine style and the personality of his teaching; what dancers wear and talk about and schlepp around in those great big bags. Almost better than being there, for fans who are rarely so indulged.