Who are Mayyas, the Lebanese group that amazed America's Got Talent?

Who are Mayyas, the Lebanese group that amazed America's Got Talent?
3 min read
14 September, 2022
Lebanese dance group Mayyas wowed their audience during the finals of America's Got Talent, but who are they exactly?
Mayyas' presence on global television inspired national unity inside Lebanon [Getty]

Lebanese dance group Mayyas have amazed America's Got Talent judges and audiences, reaching the talent show's final round with the results of the winner announced on Wednesday evening.

Their performances began with feathers as props, making it appear there was just one dancer in a gigantic feather dress. The rest of the dancers then appeared and fanned out into the shape of a cedar tree - the national symbol of Lebanon. 

Their performance was met with a standing ovations from the judges and fans in the audience, with many audience members holding up Lebanese flags in support of the act and a show of pride for Lebanon.

"There is nothing that I can say because you guys are the best thing that has ever come across this stage on 'AGT'. It is so spectacular. Another level," said judge Sofia Vergara, who awarded them a gold buzzer at the start of the show.

Despite their new-found international fame, so far little is known about them.

Mayyas are an all-women's dance crew set up by choreographer Nadim Cherfan. He started taking dance lessons at the age of 14, and this passion grew for the art form ever since. He then proceeded to become a dance teacher and choreographer.

In Arabic, the word Mayyas translates to "the proud walk of a lioness", which symbolises bravery, royalty, and grace. The group has dealt with some misogyny in the Arab world, which has hindered their success, they said.

"Lebanon is not considered a place where you can build a career out of dancing, so it's really hard, and harder for women," said Cherfan, who hopes to one day become a choreographer for Beyonce.

On stage, the dancers spoke of their love for Lebanon.

"Lebanon is a very beautiful country. But we live a daily struggle," one dancer said. "Unfortunately, being a dancer as a female Arab is not fully supported, yet."

They travelled all the way to the US from Lebanon to perform in 'America's Got Talent' earlier this year, after winning 'Arabs Got Talent' in 2019 and appearing on 'Britain's Got Talent: The Champions', a global spin-off of the show.

Live Story

During their time on 'Arabs Got Talent', they stunned audiences after each show and received a gold buzzer from judge and singer Najwa Karam.

However, they were eliminated during the preliminaries in 'Britain's Got Talent: The Champions'.

Lebanese of all ages have rallied around their support for the Mayyas, including Lebanese celebrities such as singers Nancy Ajram and Elissa. They were even used as an example of inspiration by Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

"One of the challenges facing any form of work is how to put aside rivalries and work as an effective team toward collective goals. Working together can bring out the best in one another. Congratulations to the Lebanese Group 'Mayyas' for the golden buzzer on America’s Got Talent," said Mikati at the start of their AGT journey.

The Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International also launched an advertising campaign in the US to support Mayyas with the slogan 'Kermalak Ya Lebnen', Arabic for "anything for you, Lebanon".