Ex-'Dance' choreographer Alex Da Silva pleads not guilty to sex counts
By Christopher Rocchio, 08/27/2009
Alex Da Silva maintains that the sexual-assault charges he's currently facing were not criminal acts but consensual sex.
The former So You Think You Can Dance choreographer pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to eight felony sexual-assault charges, Los Angeles' The Daily Breeze newspaper reported Wednesday.
Da Silva was arrested last Tuesday morning at his North Hollywood home and was subsequently charged with four counts of forcible rape, two counts of assault with intent to commit rape and two counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object.
He is currently being held on $6.2 million bail pending his next appearance in Van Nuys Superior Court on September 30. A motion to have his bail lowered was denied without prejudice, according to The Daily Breeze.
Da Silva's attorney Harland Braun told The Daily Breeze that his client "seems okay" and "understands he's fighting for his life." In addition, Braun said Da Silva maintains his interactions with the women were "consensual."
Da Silva, a 41-year-old who teaches at several Los Angeles dance studios and bills himself as "one of L.A.'s premiere salsa personalities," was originally arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting four of his former dance students in early April.
The arrest occurred after several previous sexual assault accusations against him. Three different women had previously accused Da Silva of sexually assaulting them in 2003, 2004 and 2005, but prosecutors had ultimately decided against filing charges in each case.
However detectives re-interviewed the previous accusers after a fourth woman made similar accusations against Da Silva on March 28 and discovered the women's accounts all contained similar details, resulting in the earlier cases being re-opened and police arresting him on suspicion of sexual assault on April 4.
Da Silva was then held on $3.8 million bail until April 7, when the district attorney's office decided there was not enough evidence to pursue sexual-assault charges against him at the time.
Da Silva served as a So You Think You Can Dance choreographer for the dance competition's first four seasons. He did not participate in this summer's recently-concluded fifth edition.