ANY CHILD raised on fairy tales knows "The Sleeping Beauty," one of the most delicious coming-of-age stories of all time. The benevolent and wicked fairies, the spinning wheel, the hundred-years' sleep, the handsome prince -- they've all seeped into our collective imagination.

Certainly "The Sleeping Beauty" has seized the fancy of balletmakers. Ever since the great classical choreographer Marius Petipa collaborated with Tchaikovsky to create the definitive l890 production in St. Petersburg, there has been a constant stream of "Sleeping Beauties" unfolding on stages the world over. The majority retain the main storyline and the principal dances as choreographed by Petipa, while altering characters, adding movement material and introducing new costumes and scenery.

Sir Kenneth Macmillan has followed that general trend in his new staging of "Beauty" for American Ballet Theatre. Based on the original Petipa choreography, this treatment boasts opulent sets and costumes by the renowned designer Nicholas Georgiadis and includes new versions of several dance variations.

The ballet will be performed five times this weekend; four different Princess Auroras and Prince Florimunds will tread the boards. The partnership of ballerina Cheryl Yeager and young hotshot Julio Bocca -- who perform Saturday afternoon and Sunday evening -- looks especially promising. AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE --

"The Sleeping Beauty." Kennedy Center Opera House through Sunday.