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'So You Think You Can Dance' choreographer charged with sexual assault [updated]

August 18, 2009 |  8:56 am

A salsa dance instructor and choreographer on the Fox television show "So You Think You Can Dance" was arrested this morning on a felony warrant charging him with sexually assaulting four women.

Alex Da Silva, 41, was arrested at his North Hollywood home by Los Angeles police.

The charges include four counts of forcible rape, two counts of assault with intent to commit rape and two counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object, said Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Salsa2 Da Silva is being held on $6.2 million bail, she said.

The alleged assaults took place between August 2002 and March 2009 and involved four victims, Robison said. The victims were either dancers or aspiring dancers who met Da Silva at his dance classes.

Da Silva is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday.

[Update, 11:45 p.m

Da Silva initially was arrested in April during a class he was teaching at the EDGE Performing Arts Center in Hollywood.

The choreographer was briefly jailed but released after the L.A. County district attorney's office declined to file charges and asked detectives to resubmit the case with additional evidence.

Los Angeles police investigators alleged that Da Silva raped four female students using various ruses to get them into his bedroom, such as wanting to show them new clothes or asking for help fixing his computer.

At the time of his original arrest, Silva's attorney Harland Braun told The Times, the case was a misunderstanding of “the difference between seduction and rape.” On Tuesday, Braun had no immediate comment on the search warrant and was critical of the bail amount.

“I always find it absurd to see a bail like $6.2 million,”  Braun said. “I wonder what went through the judge’s mind when he signed such a warrant.”

Police said three of the incidents took place in North Hollywood and the most recent case took place in Van Nuys. Police investigated the case further, leading to the arrest Tuesday.]

-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Salsa teacher and choreographer Alex Da Silva. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times