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Ballet Teaches in 'Toy Castle' DVD Series

4 Apr, 2006 By: Erik Gruenwedel

As a former executive with Rand McNally & Co., Albert Nader saw up-close the effect budget cuts had on the nation's scholastic music and cultural arts.

Aside from his children's annual watching of The Nutcracker at Christmas, Nader — now chairman of Questar Inc., a Chicago-based producer and distributor of television content — believed a generation of techies was being created who didn't have a clue about ballet or dance.

As a result, Questar April 25 will release “The Toy Castle,” a series of three 90-minute DVDs featuring 12 storybook tales performed by members of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Beautiful Ballerina, Birthday Bash and Twinkle, Twinkle are $14.99 each.

Each DVD has interactive bonus material and games designed to enhance early learning skills and basic knowledge. Three additional titles will be released this summer.

Canadian producer Neil Bregman and his wife, Katherine Jeans, developed “Toy Castle” for TV, including PBS in the United States.

“I met Jeans and her husband, and what intrigued me was that they had created live-action mime, dance and storytelling that I had never seen before,” Nader said. “And these were such marvelous stories.”

In researching the title's market potential, Nader discovered that 6 million U.S. kids are enrolled in dance programs.

“That's a huge untapped market,” Nader said.

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