As balletomanes and Times-readers know, Barnes is an ABT-phile to a fault, actually much more suited to celebrating the company--as he does here (""unlimited vision and scope"")--than reviewing it. A brief, introductory history mentions ""very dismal periods,"" current guest-star controversies, and succession worries (who could follow Lucia Chase?), but the aroma of bland approval persists. Thank heavens, then, that the dominant voice becomes that of tough, funny, irreverent Agnes deMille, one of three choreographers profiled and quoted (Antony Tudor and Jerome Robbins are the others). You'll still be hearing deMille as you move on to Barnes' perfectly decent, perfectly pallid thumbnail sketches of 23 ABT dancers, featuring cliches like ""fire and ice"" and newsbreaks like ""[Baryshnikov] certainly has a career ahead of him as a dancer."" The black-and-white performance photos (nearly 150) of uneven quality will perhaps entrance lovers of the dance, but it's a pity that ABT can't have a scribe with the eloquence of a Lincoln Kirstein--or even an Arlene Croce.