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Anchorage ballet director will not face charges in sexual assault allegation

  • Author: Devin Kelly
  • Updated: February 1
  • Published February 1

Anchorage Ballet in December. (Loren Holmes / ADN archive)

An Anchorage ballet director will not face criminal charges in connection with an accusation of sexual assault by an adult student, the district attorney's office said Thursday.

Michelangelo Canale, 50, the founder of the Anchorage Classical Ballet Academy, was accused of performing oral sex on the dancer without her consent in the backseat of a car after a December "Nutcracker" show. The dancer, 27-year-old Alex Icet, made the accusations public on Facebook and also filed a police report.

The Anchorage Daily News does not typically name victims of sexual assault, but Icet has said she wanted to share her story publicly to encourage other women to come forward.

The allegation roiled the ballet academy, known as the city's leading professional dance studio, and prompted a number of parents to withdraw students from the school.

In a letter to police detectives Thursday, Assistant District Attorney Andrew Grannik wrote he had reviewed a file that included police reports, photos, audio and an email from a fellow dancer.

Grannik's letter indicated prosecutors were prepared to prove Canale had had sex with his student. But Grannik said the state could not prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, the other two elements of sexual assault: the other person's lack of consent, and that the person's lack of consent was recklessly disregarded.

"This in no way implies that Mr. Canale's conduct is not of concern," Grannik wrote.

Parents and former dancers have described Canale as a talented but intimidating ballet instructor who used his authority to engage in inappropriate behavior. In May 2016, a group of parents wrote a letter to the ballet board to complain about Canale, with descriptions of rough physical treatment and an instance of an adult dancer having to block Canale from entering or peering into female changing rooms.

KTVA reported last month that Canale had been placed on administrative leave during the police investigation. Ed Barrington, the director of the nonprofit ballet's volunteer board, didn't immediately return a call Thursday evening seeking comment.

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