A trip down Candy Cane Lane

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Lead Candy Cane dancer Chelsea Cozen, along with members of the Malibu Ballet Society, performs a number from "The Nutcracker" for young patients of Shriners Hospital on Saturday.

The Malibu Ballet Society performs dances from “The Nutcracker” for the third year in a row for young patients at Shriners Hospital.

By Sam Rubinroit / Special to The Malibu Times

On Saturday, the Malibu Ballet Society reached out to those in need during this holiday season, performing dances from “The Nutcracker” at Shriners Hospital for children being treated for complex orthopedic problems.

Under the guidance of outreach director and Malibu resident Lisa Simon, about 20 girls from the society’s Dance Education Outreach Program visited the Los Angeles hospital.

The dancers, in full costume, visited all the young patients, delivering candy canes, coloring books, crayons and smiles. Some of the patients were missing a leg, others had shrunken arms and some had conditions that were even more debilitating. After providing the children with gifts, the dancers invited the patients to leave their rooms and go downstairs. When everyone settled in, the ballerinas performed dances from “The Nutcracker.” Afterward, the girls went around and signed autographs for the children.

This is the third year the Malibu Ballet Society has brought the magic of “The Nutcracker” to the children at the Shriners Hospital. Some of the society girls have danced at the hospital all three years, and they seem to enjoy it as much, if not more, than the patients.

“I love performing for them,” lead Candy Cane dancer Chelsea Cozen said. “I think it makes them really happy and it makes us feel better about what we do.”

And it seemed that clearly she was right. All the patients who came to the show left with big smiles on their faces.

This Friday, 1,500 children from Oxnard will be bussed to Malibu for two special performances of “The Nutcracker” at Pepperdine’s Smother’s Theater; one at 10 a.m. and one at 11:30 a.m. Each performance consists of select dances from “The Nutcracker,” an explanation of what it takes to put on the show (how the snow falls, how the tree grows, etc.), followed by a Q&A session.

“The Nutcracker” opens to the public at the Smothers Theater for performances on Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. More information can be obtained by calling 506.4522.