Edinburgh’s 1940s Excelsior Ballroom recreated

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SWING dancers, jazz musicians and vintage hairstyles are set to transform the University of Edinburgh’s St Cecilia’s Hall into its 1940s ballroom setting as part of a three-day series of events.

The building – Scotland’s oldest purpose-build concert hall – will once again become the Excelsior Ballroom for One Last Dance, an evening of dancing and live music from the University of Edinburgh’s Jazz Orchestra.

Dancers at St Cecilia Hall get ready for One Last Dance at the historic University of Edinburgh building. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor

Dancers at St Cecilia Hall get ready for One Last Dance at the historic University of Edinburgh building. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor

The weekend extravaganza – part of the Festival of Museums – will also include a variety of creative workshops exploring fashion at the time, the era’s scientific and cultural developments and 1940s-inspired entertainment.

Event organisers hope to curate an exhibition made up of the memories of people who danced at the Excelsior in years past.

Other events include a 1940s jewellery making class, a make do and mend dress-making workshop, a vintage hair and make-up session and a swing dance class from the University of Edinburgh swing society.

Edinburgh’s medical history, the growth of popular printing and the birth of the electric guitar will also be explored in talks and there will also be a family tea party with wartime children’s games and toy making sessions.

Dancers at St Cecilia Hall get ready for One Last Dance at the historic University of Edinburgh building. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor

Dancers at St Cecilia Hall get ready for One Last Dance at the historic University of Edinburgh building. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor

Event organiser Sarah Deters said: “St Cecilia’s Hall has taken many forms over the past 250 years, and we are incredibly excited to discover and share this part of its story. The building is due to close for redevelopment this summer, so these events offer people the chance to visit St Cecilia’s Hall and learn a little about the history of that time, while having a lot of fun.”

Further information and event details can be found at onelastdancefom.wordpress.com

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