LOS ANGELES: Lebanese dance troupe Mayyas formed just four years ago, but they’ve taken the world by storm with their stellar performances. After receiving a lot of praise on the stage of the show “America’s Got Talent”, the all-female group, founded by Lebanese choreographer Nadim Cherfan, is once again making headlines with their jaw-dropping performances earned a place in the final.
“I felt pride. I felt fear. A huge responsibility rests on my shoulders. All these confused feelings came over me at the same time. It was absolutely magnificent for me,” Mr. Cherfan told Arab News after the episode aired.
The beginning of the adventure
Mr. Cherfan was fourteen when he fell in love with the world of dance. He traveled to the UK, USA and India to attend workshops and perfect his craft. He was twenty years old when he started his dance teaching career. Her first class consisted of three girls. In 2019, he had 200 students and, among these 200, the Mayyas troupe was born.
Mr. Cherfan formed the group in order to participate in the sixth season of the program “Arabs Got Talent”. And although they had only just arrived, the band members dazzled judge and Lebanese singing star Najwa Karam who guaranteed them a place in the final using her ‘golden buzzer’. In addition, the dancers were crowned champions.
“I chose a women’s team, because I wanted to send a message about the emancipation of women. We all know that even nowadays Arab women are called names when they are dancers. I wanted to prove how elegant, refined and beautiful dance is,” says Mr. Cherfan in an interview with Arab News at the time. “And who fulfills this role better than these beautiful women?”
However, winning one of the most prestigious awards in the Middle East was not enough. Success is then accompanied by additional pressure: that of always giving more. “The golden buzzer, the standing ovation, the rave reviews from the judges and winning the title itself are challenges, as they bring stress and responsibility. At times like this, I only think about the future. What will the next show be? How can I do better?”
That same year, Mayyas were the only group from the Middle East to appear on the show “Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions”.
The reaction from the judges and the public is fantastic. “It’s absolutely brilliant, brilliant, inventive. I’ve never seen a dance like this on any of these shows,” Judge Simon Cowell said at the time.
The continuation of the adventure
This year, the Mayyas troupe are once again making their mark on the international stage after America’s Got Talent judge Sofia Vergara awarded them the golden buzzer in June. Now, having wowed the judges (Sofia Vergara, Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel) again this week, the dancers will contest the final, which airs September 13-14.
The troupe is widely supported by its Lebanese fans. The Lebanon Broadcasting Corporation International (LBCI) launched an advertising campaign in the United States with the slogan “Kermalak Ya Lebnen”, which translates to “For you, O Lebanon” – to promote the troupe and support the dancers.
LBCI supported the Mayyas troupe through ads on its TV channel and social media, also working with local and Arab media in the United States to support the campaign.
“The Lebanese people around the world are showing us tremendous support,” says Mr. Cherfan. “We have received tons of messages. Everyone supports Mayyas. I am really grateful to the Lebanese diaspora who support our troupe,” he adds.
Let’s say the Mayyas troupe doesn’t necessarily need help, given the accolades they’ve garnered so far.
“Thirty-six women dance as if they are one,” said judge Sofia Vergara of their performance in the semi-finals. “It is magic.”
As for Simon Cowell, often cynical, he was even more dazzled than before. He says: “I promise you that everyone here is going to remember this moment. It will not only change your lives but, as dramatic as it sounds, this performance will change the world. We couldn’t have done better.”
During his interview with Arab Newsthe choreographer, who estimates that he has worked with 300 Lebanese girls and women in his seventeen years as a dance teacher, took the time to thank his team for their hard work.
“To all the Mayyas, all the girls, all my sisters. I would like to say thank you for trusting me,” he says. “The responsibility is only greater. I hope we can be up to the final because the talents are really exceptional this year. But the Mayyas are ready.”
– Shyama Krishna Kumar contributed to this article.
This text is the translation of an article published on Arabnews.com