DANSEUR: The Male in Ballet, by Richard Philp and Mary Whitney (McGraw-Hill, $19.95). Baryshnikov, Bruhn, Nureyev, Villella - those stellar names which make ballet fans frenzied with excitement indicate that men's liberation arrived earlier in the ballet world than elsewhere. Danseur: The Male in Ballet chronicles the development and final liberation of the role of the male dancer. Although the male dancer had an important place in French ballet of the 18th century, the romantic and Victorian 19th century made him little more than the valet of the ethereal ballerina. Fokine equalized the male and female roles, but in Diaghilev's Ballets Russes it was Nijinsky who revolutionized the dance for man and liberated him from his subordinate role. By the time the authors reach the ballet of the '70s, one is almost inclined to agree with the choreographer Bejart, "The ballet is man." This is a fascinating, very readable study, crammed with exciting photographs (nearly 250).

WALDMAN ON DANCE, by Max Waldman (Morrow, $14.95). The theatre photographer Max Waldman manages to capture in his collection of gauzy, black-and-white photographs the essence of ballet - a frozen moment in time that intensifies the perfection, the beauty of the dancers' art. His photographs of lead dancers, who reproduced in his studio their roles for the American Ballet Theatre, the Nikolais Dance Theatre, and the Martha Graham Dance Company - to name a few of the American companies photographed - convey a sense of the movement and artistry of the performers, especially in those stills of Baryshnikov and Makarova in Jerome Robbins's "Other Dances," who looks like a classic Greek Nike or Winged Victory, or in the Martha Graham production the still of Yuriko Kimura engulfed by her Clytemnestra robes, which brings fleetingly to mind the sculpture of Hans Barlach.

THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF DANCE AND BALLET, edited by Mary Clarke and David Vaughan (Putnam, $25). Washington is ballet-mad. And to spark the chit-chat during the intermission or over drinks after the ballet, a few facts might be in order. A ready compendium would be this Encyclopedia of Dance and Ballet, which has entries on all important companies, choreographers, dancers, ballet and modern dance productions, dance composers, and elements of the ballet such as "design," "music for the ballet," and "entrechat," and an extensive bibliography. All of this, put together by 57 important ballet contributors, is copiously illustrated with many illustrations in color. Balletomanes take note, please - sur les pointes.