IWM Duxford hangar to be transformed into dance hall for 1940s swing and jazz evening

PUBLISHED: 13:53 18 June 2018 | UPDATED: 13:53 18 June 2018

Living history groups representing American and British air force personnel and ordinary civilians at the Back to Forties event at IWM Duxford in 2013. Picture: IWM.

Living history groups representing American and British air force personnel and ordinary civilians at the Back to Forties event at IWM Duxford in 2013. Picture: IWM.

IWM

An aircraft hangar at IWM Duxford will be transformed into a dance hall for a 1940s swing and jazz evening.

Living history groups representing American and British air force personnel and ordinary civilians at the Back to Forties event at IWM Duxford in 2013. Picture: IWM.Living history groups representing American and British air force personnel and ordinary civilians at the Back to Forties event at IWM Duxford in 2013. Picture: IWM.

For one night only, the historic Cambridgeshire airfield will host a 1940s Hangar Dance.

The AirSpace Conservation Hall will be converted into a wartime dance hall on Saturday, July 21, with the stunning backdrop of iconic aircraft.

The Galaxy Big Band will be performing swing classics throughout the evening accompanied by The Apple Blossoms, an all-female vocal trio specialising in 1940s close harmony singing.

Their musical repertoire spans the decades from the Andrews Sisters to Beyoncé and beyond, giving modern songs a vintage twist as well as revitalising the classics.

Formed in 1999, the Galaxy Big Band is one of the country’s leading big bands and performs at vintage and jazz events around the UK.

The IWM Duxford 1940s Hangar Dance evokes the swing dances of World War Two, when the exuberant dances and infectious big band sounds brought a glimmer of joy to the dark days of wartime.

Guests are encouraged to embrace the style of the 1940s and dress vintage to impress.

They will be following in the footsteps of revellers at IWM Duxford during the Second World War, when the Theatre hangar hosted cinema screenings, roller-blading, boxing matches and ENSA (Entertainment National Service Association) concerts as well as dances.

On April 8, 1943, the night the USAAF’s 78th Fighter Group flew their first missions from Duxford, they hosted WAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force) personnel for a dance.

The WAAF were stationed at Sawston Hall operations rooms a few miles away.

Broadcasts were made to America on George Hicks’ Blue Network feature and a part of one Army Hour programme originated on the field.

The station’s dance band, The Thunderbolts, also appeared on trans-Atlantic shows.

Imperial War Museum Duxford is Britain’s best-preserved Second World War airfield, with a fascinating history that dates back to WW1.

The IWM Duxford 1940s Hangar Dance will run from 8pm to 11.30pm on July 21.

Light refreshments and snacks will be available to buy.

Suitable for all ages, standard tickets cost £25 and it is £20 for IWM Premium members.

• Tickets can be bought online at iwm.org.uk/hangar-dance or call the membership office on 020 7091 3000.

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