A cancan dancer and singer from Seattle, Wash., won the coveted Crystal Corset Award and the $500 cash prize at the first Jim Thorpe Burlesque Festival.
Jacqueline Hyde sang and danced her way into the judges' hearts with an animated raucous and bawdy rendition of "So Many Men, So Little Time." Her colorful costume seemed to float away as she sang and teased the sold out crowd Saturday night at the Mauch Chunk Opera House.
"Jackie" was introduced by Brooke Au Buchon, mistress of ceremonies, who did a fine job of entertaining the appreciative audience between the acts, plus introducing the 14 acts who made up the "Big Reveal" show.
Au Buchon noted that Hyde is more than a beautiful woman and stunning entertainer, she is also working toward her doctorate, and is the fifth-ranked burlesque entertainer in the world. Au Buchon was also one of the three event producers.
Taking second place in the burlesque competition was a petite cutey from Brooklyn, N.Y, who arrived on stage wearing a garbage bag and ashes for makeup. Sizzle Dizzle danced to "New York, New York," as she made a political statement about litter.
The fans she used during her act were actual litter that she made. Even a little slip up, when she fell off the stage during her dance routine, didn't keep her from taking her second place standing.
Third place winner was the Peek A Boo Review from Philadelphia. The perky girls wore white panties and red bra tops that "disappeared" during their playful act, featuring red hearts that rose and fell in front of their faces and chests.
The 14 acts ranged from sheer entertainment, such as the first act by Lady Scarlette James, who also served as one of the three judges, to a "Make Love Not War," statement by local Jim Thorpe girl Venus Mantrap.
There were two other local girls in the competition, Suri from Tamaqua and Amee Lia Diamonds of the Lehigh Valley.
The other two judges were Sheila O'Neil and District Judge Edward Lewis of Jim Thorpe.
"Burlesque is about empowering women," said Dr. Susana Mayer, Ph.D. a board certified sexologist, who held one of the classes before the "Great Reveal" show.
Dr. Mayer noted that burlesque has been around for many years and actually started in Greece. She said that burlesque is all about the tease and leaving the audience wanting more.
Tara Kubas and Michelle Gallagher were the other two producers.
Kubas said the event actually sold out to the point they had to turn people away. Proceeds from the event will benefit the restoration fund for the Mauch Chunk Opera House.
The event actually started for the festival participants on Friday night when they met at PepperJacks restaurant on Broadway and continued with several classes throughout the day on Saturday, where festival participants, along with other curious women, sat in and learned about "Burlesque 101" by Velma, "Magic for Novices," by Steven Cambian, "Cabaret Latin Rhythms" by Hyde, along with the class by Dr. Mayer.
Classes continued on Sunday when Hyde presented "Cabaret Boom Pow," AuShanna Cyrese of Franklin Township, daughter of burlesque legend April March, first lady of burlesque, presented the "Art of Seductively Removing Gloves," "Hula Hooping" by Suri, "Belly Dancing 101" by Morgana Perizada and making body decorations by Thomas Sirkot of Drama in Motion and Poi Spinning by Riley Schillaci.
The event was well received by the hooting and hollering audience who appreciated the tease and empowerment of the women and loved the entertainment.
Kubas said that since the event was so well received, the producers have already decided to host it again next year and also are discussing hosting monthly seminars for people interested in learning more about the art of burlesque.
They are also considering planning more entertaining revues during the Jim Thorpe tourist season.