Uncommonly nimble dance history focusing on short but thorough biographies of the more important (or in some cases more notorious) female stars, from the belles of the 17th-century French court (who lived well but aged poorly, leaving little of record) to Pavlova whom would-be immortalizers have more often obscured in a fog of metaphor. Miss Migel is not so worshipful, but appreciative where there is reason and amused when she catches her subjects, so to speak, by the tail -- for such was the nature of many backstage lives. For wit and style this is well above the danse-book norm, equal perhaps to Arnold Haskell. The interest is also due to the color of the women themselves and the milieus that contained them; but here too the author has been gingerly acute in her research and lets social history percolate through without strain. These are not the demure models one might prefer to give to young dancers -- who will discover them on their own -- but the ballerinas here are roundly endowed with all the title has implied.