A book about ballet that tries to do many things--and succeeds at most. In her first book, Hollyer admirably accomplishes the equivalent of novelizing movies based on books--adapting back into stories eight ballets originally inspired by stories. Irina Baronova--one of Ballanchine's ""baby ballerinas""--provides an introduction that is part autobiography, part engaging discussion of ballet. She also pens introductions and performance notes for each story, full of personal--at times comic--experiences and pithy observations. Everything about the book orients readers toward an appreciation of the ballet except the opulent, eye-filling illustrations; Williams treats the material only as stories and doesn't make the link to the ballets that her collaborators do. It's a minor misstep in an otherwise smoothly choreographed work.