Lebanese dance troupe Mayyas get golden buzzer on America’s Got Talent

Ahram Online , Wednesday 22 Jun 2022

The Lebanese dance troupe Mayyas received a golden buzzer on Tuesday after their performance on season 17 of America's Got Talent.



The golden buzzer was given to the troupe by Sofia Vergara, a Colombian-American actress, and one of the AGT's jurors.

The Mayyas performed in front of a jury that also included Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, and Howie Mandel.

Mayyas, an all women troupe, follows the artistic direction of choreographer Nadim Cherfan, who "brought new style and technique of dancing to Lebanon," explains one of the dancers in a video screened before the performance.

"I grew up watching America's Got Talent and I was inspired by so many people, but what really got us to audition this year was Nightbirde," Cherfan said, referring to a young Ohio-based singer who auditioned in season 16.

Bringing the audience and the jury to tears with her captivating performance and self-written song and lyrics, Nightbirde received a golden buzzer. The song, titled It's All Right, spoke about her positive approach to life. This positivity was particularly touching knowing the singer's own difficult health condition – a widely metastasised cancer – which eventually led to her passing earlier this year. 

As Cherfan explains, Lebanon is not a country where dancers, especially women dancers, can build a strong career on their art. In Mayyas, the women are given "a free, safe and creative space to dance," one dancer noted. "We want to show the world that we are able to stand on our feet as really strong and powerful women."

"[In her audition], Nightbirde said 'we can't wait until life isn't there anymore before you decide to be happy'," Chefran recalls.

Entering the AGT stage, the Mayyas explained that the name of the troupe is taken from an Arabic word that means "the proud walk of a lioness."

The dancers underscored that their biggest dream is "us being here, standing on the biggest stage of the world, is our only chance to prove to the world what Arab women can do, the art we can create, the fights we fight."

Performing to the "hypnotising" oriental music, as the dancers explained, the troupe gave a show that combined oriental dance moves with contemporary dance forms, all following an impeccable synchronicity that formed captivating imagery.

Following the performance, Vergara said "there are no words to explain to you what we were feeling over here. It was the most beautiful, creative dancing I've ever seen."

"This will really, really make a difference. Full stop. In so many positive ways. That's one part. And then it was arguably the best dance act we're likely to have ever seen. And we are honoured to have you here," Simon Cowell added.

As the tension grew, Vergara pressed the golden buzzer which allows the contestant to move straight to the live show.

The Lebanese troupe has already won another international competition. In 2019, they won season six of Arabs Got Talent, and participated in Britain's Got Talent: The Champions in the same year.

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