Alex Da Silva, star salsa dance instructor, was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of raping four former students. Da Silva, better known for his choreography on the FOX hit TV show “So You Think You Can Dance,” was an occasional guest instructor for the dance department.
Da Silva was accused of luring the female students into both of his San Fernando Valley homes, where he allegedly sexually assaulted them. The assaults were suspected to have taken place over the last six years.
In his Tuesday arraignment, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office declined to file the charges against the choreographer, due to lack of evidence. He was expected to be released from custody as of press time.
“It’s absurd,” said Mario Mason, 21, theater and dance major, who has taken Da Silva’s salsa workshop on campus, “I’m absolutely appalled because when you take a class with him, he is never too ‘handsy’ with anyone. He’s very informative and very reserved. It’s hard to believe.”
The 41-year-old was arrested at the EDGE Performing Arts Center in Hollywood, 20 minutes before the end of his class.
“When it comes to teaching, he’s really good with the ladies,” said Mason, “He’s never all over them or anything.”
“The fact that he choreographs for ‘So You Think You Can Dance,’ you can tell the girls want him because he’s famous,” said 18-year-old Renaldo Cho, who aspires to be a lab technician, “It’s so easy to be like, ‘Oh, he raped me.'”
Hip-hop and salsa instructor Alexandra Blackbird said that when she found out about his arrest, she was very surprised.
“I would think, you know, he’s pretty flirty,” said Blackbird, “but at the same time, salsa is very flirty and it just stops at that point.. I’m pretty surprised, and I’ve known him for quite a while.”
According to the Los Angeles Police department, three more allegations have arisen since the arrest, as well as two more accusers, who are deliberating whether or not to file police reports.