'AGT' Season 17: Who are The Mayyas? Lebanese dance group bags golden buzzer with female empowerment message
The Lebanese all-female dance group, 'The Mayyas', led by choreographer Nadim Cherfan, made their big debut on the recently televised episode of 'America's Got Talent' Season 17. Determined to break the stereotypes surrounding Arab women and with a strong message of female empowerment, the group managed to impress all the judges and even bagged a golden buzzer from Sofia Vergara!
After being crowned the winners of 'Arab's Got Talent', and making it to the preliminary round of 'Britani's Got Talent: The Champions', The Mayyas have their eyes set on winning over the American audience as well. While we will have to wait and watch to see if the dance group will go on to win the $1 million grand prize and an opportunity to be the headlining act in Las vegas, in the meanwhile you can read all about The Mayyas and their inspiring performance here. You can also check out the other golden buzzer winners- Avery Dixon, Maddie Baez, and Sara James' stories as well.
Who are The Mayyas?
'The Mayyas' which means the proud walk of a lioness in Arabic, couldn't be a more befitting name for this Lebanese dance group. The Mayyas was formed by Lebanese choreographer Nadim Cherfan. In an interview with Arab News, Nadim revealed that the dance crew was put together after he decided to compete in 'Arab's Got Talent'. "Mayyas was created for Arab’s Got Talent once I made the decision of (applying for) season six. The crew consists of 50 professional dancers," he told the news outlet.
The dancers explained in their introduction package how it isn't easy for a Middle Eastern woman to make dancing her profession, but The Mayyas gave them a safe space to explore dance. The dancers also hoped for more women to be encouraged and empowered by their performance to pursue whatever they want. Nadim explained, "I chose a female crew, because I wanted to deliver a message about women’s empowerment as we all know that until now Arab women are still called names for being dancers. I wanted to prove how elegant refined and beautiful dancing is. And who’s better than these gorgeous ladies to do so?”
Nadim also shared what prompted him to take up dancing and eventually create The Mayyas. "Unfortunately, in the Middle East at that time the dancing scene was shy, and not many dance schools existed. I couldn’t get the proper training at a young age, though I was fully aware of my talent and spent hours daily in front of my mirror in my room figuring out body movements imitating what I watched on TV.” “(I was 14 when) I started taking classes with professionals in Lebanon and attending workshops in the US, the UK and India. And I fell more and more in love with dancing and I am still falling deeper daily." he added.
At the age of 20, he began teaching others and started off with just three girls. "I continued to do so, and have raised a large number of students that have grown with me. Today, 200 students are currently taking classes with me.” From those 200, Mayyas was born.
The Mayyas on 'AGT' Season 17
Clad in all-black outfits, The Mayyas girls declared that they were going to "hypnotize" the judges. True to their words, the judges- Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, and Sofia, were hypnotized and speechless after watching their performance. The judges and the studio audience watched in awe as the dancers moved their bodies and hands in perfectly synchronized style. From evil-eye images stuck to their palms to feathers, the group used various props to showcase their rich culture and heritage.
By the end of their performance, the judges were left with no other option but to give them a unanimous yes! Considering the group got the golden buzzer, we will have to wait until the live round to watch their performance again.
America's Got Talent' Season 17 airs Tuesdays, at 8 pm on NBC. Following the show's premiere, you can catch all-new episodes every Tuesday from 8 to 10 pm ET/PT. For viewers who wish to tune in to the show without cable, they can do so using any of the following streaming services: Sling TV, fuboTV, Hulu With Live TV, AT&T TV, or YouTube TV.