Joelene danced for David Bowie’s hit music video
JOELENE King will never forget David Bowie's warm gaze when looked her in the eye and chose her to perform in the film clip for his 1983 hit Let's Dance.
"That first eye contact and his warm loving smile are great memories that I thought about straight away when I heard the sad news that he had died," she said.
Dance company student
A fresh-faced, Lismore-born 21-year-old, Ms King said she was a student at the the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dance Company when she was asked to audition for the music video.
"At the end it came down to myself and another girl and on the final day of auditions we met David Bowie and he selected the performers he wanted," she said.
Let's Dance was filmed over a week in several locations in Sydney, at a bar in Carinda in north-western NSW and in the Warrumbungle National Park near Coonabarabran.
It featured Bowie and his band playing while impassively watching Joelene and her partner in the clip, Terry Roberts, struggling against metaphors of Western cultural imperialism.
Ms King said she had thought about the amazing experience working with Bowie thousands of times over the past 33 years.
"He was very friendly, humble, family orientated, affectionate and loving," she said.
"He was very approachable, down to earth and he had his son Duncan with him while we filmed Let's Dance.
"It was exciting to be paid, but actually doing the film clip was more exciting than the money I received.
"It was a privilege, a great experience and it's a very pleasant memory that I will cherish always."
Following Let's Dance, Ms King said Bowie did a concert tour across Australia and she got VIP passes for her and two friends to meet him.
"We went backstage before he performed and met him and straight away he said 'hi Jo' and gave me a great big hug.
While driving home from work on January 10, Ms King said she got a cold chill across her whole body when she heard the news about Bowie's death.
"I was totally shocked, it was just so unexpected," she said.
Let's Dance, Ms King said, was her favourite Bowie song because of her great memories but a close second was Changes.