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Belly dancing

It may be the week of Easter and Passover, but Sunday from 4 to 9 p.m. in the Newcomb Hall Ballroom, the "Layaleena" festival promises to diverge from Matzah and Easter eggs.

The second annual "Layaleena," co-sponsored by the Arab, Muslim and Persian student organizations, is intended to be a celebration of Arab culture. The event will feature such activities as a fashion show, Middle Eastern dances, authentic cuisine and a poetry reading.

The original idea for "Layaleena" was borrowed from a similar event called "Arabian Nights," which is put on at William & Mary each year. Layaleena was created to showcase the nuances in Arab culture.

"You'd be surprised how different the clothing is in places from Lebanon to Morrocco to other gulf countries," said Zena Abou-Said, a third-year Commerce student who is involved in Layaleena.

In order to highlight some of the Arab cultures, the free event will feature Middle Eastern food such as hummus and grape leaves. In addition, two traditional Arab dances will be performed - the belly dance and the "dabke."

Abou-Said describes the "dabke" as a celebratory dance. "It has a lot of skipping and jumping in it. It's just a loud, fun dance," she said.

"This event really brings to light all the different cultures," she added.

Et tu Brute?

It is the Bard's quintessential tale of politics and betrayal with a twist. Shakespeare on the Lawn's contemporary version of "Julius Caesar" will open tonight at 8 p.m. and will feature modern additions such as cell phones and teenage hooligans.

Though the performance will be true to Shakespeare's text, the play itself has been trimmed in some scenes that are less pertinent to current society.

Lisa Scavo, third-year College student and assistant director of "Julius Caesar," said most of the scenes that were purely Roman in context have been omitted while several contemporary props have been added to enhance the production's modern flair.

Scavo said she and fourth-year College student and director Iain Ross have tried to preserve a sense of the timelessness of "Julius Caesar."

"This play echoes common political themes. It's not just about Rome but about politics in general," she said.

Shakespeare on the Lawn has never actually performed a play "on the Lawn." Therfore, "Julius Caesar" will be held at the Student Activities Building.

COMPILED BY CHRISTA DIERKSHEIDE

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