Mayyas Official: A Symbol of Arab and Women's Empowerment
By: Malorie Lewis / Arab America Contributing Writer
On June 21st, America’s Got Talent premiered an all-female group dance audition, from Lebanon, called Mayyas Official. This group mesmerized the crowd and the Judges with its unique talent. A dance routine that coordinated arm and body movements, and they definitely followed through with their promise to “hypnotize” the judges! The Mayyas came with the mission of empowering Arabs and women, in Lebanon and around the world. Not only that, but they also hope to normalize dance as a reputable career in the Arab World. Following the group’s amazing performance (video linked below), the Judges of AGT unanimously complimented the group.
Simon Cowell noted it was the best dance performance they are likely to see on this stage! That is a pretty impressive compliment. Heidi complimented them on infusing their culture into the show and thanked them for the performance. However, the biggest compliment of the night came when Sofia Vergara pushed the Golden Buzzer spearheading the team forward into the live rounds.
“I would be so honored to empower you even more in this journey because you deserve it and I want to be part of this”Sofia Vergara
The act quickly became a viral hit as videos of the performance circulated on the internet. Everyone is wondering about the group’s background. So, who exactly are the Mayyas Official? How did they end up on the American stage all the way from Lebanon?
Who are the Mayyas?
‘The Mayyas’, a word meaning the proud gait of a lioness in Arabic, couldn’t be a more appropriate name for this Lebanese dance group. Their story began in 2019, when Nadim Cherfan, a dance instructor and choreographer, assembled a group of 50 girls from his 200 students.
The goal was to perform on Arabs Got Talent! They did more than that though, they were the recipients of the Golden Buzzer. That’s right! This Lebanese dance troupe is no stranger to the exhilarating rush of receiving the a direct pass to the next round! It truly speaks to their talent and skills! In the end, the girls took first place and were the 2019 winners of Arabs Got Talent.
After that, they competed on Britain’s Got Talent, stunning Simon Cowell for the first time. Their performances were amazing, but they did not win this competition. Although disappointing, it only motivated the group more, leading to their decision to compete on America’s stage!
The “Why” Behind the Group
As mentioned earlier, the girls and Nadim hope to both inspire Arabs and Women, but also normalize dance as a career path for people in the Middle East. Nadim is noted that Lebanon “is not a place where you can make a career out of dancing — it’s hard and it’s really hard for women.” This has been the why from the beginning!
They are creating a space for women to be able to follow their dreams, as well as encouraging it! In an interview, they are quoted as saying “No matter where you are, and the struggle you go through, if you love what you do and you are passionate about it, you can reach anywhere — even the biggest stage of the world,” they say. “Never let anyone try to convince you otherwise or try to limit you.”
Prior to the audition with America’s Got Talent, the group tributed its performance to an AGT contestant from the Past. Her name was Nightbird and she was a singer who was fighting an aggressive cancer, which eventually took her life. Despite that her words echoed a message that inspired the performance that won the Golden Buzzer this season!
“You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.”Nightbird
As they prepare to head to the live shows, The Mayyas say they hope their performance inspires women in Lebanon, and across the world, to go after their dreams. Considering the state of Lebanon, this enthusiasm is a breath of fresh air and positivity. Many Lebanese people are negative about the future considering the current circumstances. In an interview with PEOPLE, the Mayyas stated that “We have been living in a daily struggle in Lebanon between the inflation, the economical crisis, the blast and so much more.” They continue to push forward and try to carve a place of inspiration for the people and for those who desire to follow their dreams.
We look forward to seeing what new displays of Arab and Women’s talent the Mayyas Official dance team brings to the stage for the live show! It would be amazing to see a group of Arab women take home the gold! We are rooting for you Mayyas!
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