Bayside woman dances for victims of Sept. 11

By Philip Newman

Kathy Rollo of Bayside answered Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's appeal to help World Trade Center attack victims by doing what she loves best – dancing. Her 107-night Terpsichorean marathon raised $7,000.

The finale came Saturday night at Swing46, a nightclub at 349 W.46th St. in Manhattan. To the strains of such 1940s favorites as “Satin Doll” and “In the Mood,” she finished her 107th night of dancing.

“We were asked by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to help relief efforts by getting back to our normal life,” Rollo said. “He mentioned shopping, but that is not my favorite activity. I decided to do what I love — dancing.”

“I decided to Swing dance every night for 107 nights,” she said. “Why 107 nights? Because Windows on the World was on the 107th floor of Tower 1 in the World Trade Center and was a favorite spot for Swing dancing on Saturdays. Of course, it was lost along with everything else and so many lives.”

Aldridge Taylor and the Marvel Comics band provided the music for the occasion. Judith Akhtar, owner of Swing46, praised Rollo’s dedication “to pursue this formidable and admirable goal” and presented her with a Swing46 Gold Card, a lifetime pass to the nightclub.

Rollo, who is recreation director at Chapin Home for the Aging in Jamaica and a community theater director, was formerly involved with the St. Gregory’s Theater group in Bellerose.

“Windows on the World in the World Trade Center was a favorite for many dancers,” said Rollo. “They held dancing events weekly for different styles of dance and on Saturday, it was swing dancing. Nothing could ever get me into that building. It was too tall. But Swing dancing did.”

Swing dancing involves such dances of the swing era as the Lindy, the Fox Trot, the Jitterbug and other such steps dating back to the 1930s and 40s, usually to music produced by Big Bands.

The money raised will be contributed to Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund for families of the staff of Windows on the World killed in the Sept. 11 attack.

One of the 107 dance sessions was not in a nightclub.

Rollo said it was hard finding anything open on Christmas, but she finally found a place that was.

“The firefighters of an engine company and a ladder company at 48th Street and Eighth Avenue welcomed us, and we had a dance session at the firehouse,” said Rollo. “We are grateful to them.”

Rollo said contributions are still welcome: c/o David Berdon & Co. LLT, 415 Madison Ave. New York, N.Y. 10017.

More information on the fund and where the money is to be distributed can be found at WindowsofHope.org.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 136.

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