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Carrie Ann Inaba Reveals Madonna Fined Dancers for Being Late: ‘She Was Very Strict’

Carrie Ann Inaba on 'Dancing With The Stars' Disney 100 NightPhoto by: Disney/Eric McCandless

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Decades after serving as one of Madonna’s dancers, Carrie Ann Inaba is sharing one rigid rule that was imposed during work. The Dancing With The Stars judge recently revealed that Madonna imposed a costly punishment to any backup dancer who failed to make it on time.

Carrie Ann Inaba Claims Madonna Used to Charge Dancers for Being Late

For those who may not know, Dancing With The Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba worked as a dancer for Madonna’s $70 million-grossing The Girlie Show tour in 1993. Recalling the experience during her latest appearance on The Jennifer Hudson Show, the choreographer said the pop legend wasn’t one to treat her dancers like a baby.

“Back in the day, she was very strict,” she said. “She gave us this one rule, which I’m so grateful she did. It was for every minute you’re late you have to pay her $100 out of your paycheck.”

This rule could’ve easily terrified the pop legend’s dancers, but it didn’t even make Inaba flinch. According to the DWTS judge, the existence of the costly punishment has instilled so much discipline in her.

“I learned really quickly. I’m never late. I’m always early. In fact, so much so that I waste half my day because you know you show up so early. Like, too early. Too early!” she said.


Despite the stern working conditions, Inaba claimed that working for Madonna was a dream come true. Inaba admits that the peak of any dancer’s career during the ‘90s was to hit the road with pop superstars like Prince and Michael Jackson. Therefore, when she served as a backup dancer for Madonna, she thought “that’s all I need.”

“I was like, ‘I’m done! I toured with Madonna, I am good. I’m 23. I’m retiring!’ What was I thinking? Back to work!” she said.

Obviously, Inaba didn’t retire entirely. However, before pursuing dance again, she went back to school. Inaba graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in world arts and cultures.

She Shaved Her Head Bald for Madonna’s 1993 Girlie Show tour

The $100 per minute punishment wasn’t Inaba’s only memory with Madonna. Back in 1993, the DWTS judge shaved her head as one of the requirements of touring with the megastar.

At the time, the Queen of Pop demanded all her eight dancers to go bald “to see how far they were willing to go for me.” In 2017, Inaba looked back on the experience and shared her a throwback photo of it on Instagram.

“That’s what you do when @Madonna asks you to be a principal performer in her The Girlie Show Tour and you’re just a baby dancer,” she wrote.

During Inaba’s previous interview with Parade in 2014, she stated that Madonna challenged her to go hairless.

“It was the pinnacle of my dance career. After I made it through the audition process, Madonna said, ‘You have to shave your head. Are you okay with that?’ Well, what are you going to say? I was up for the challenge,” she said.

In 2019, Inaba hilariously thanked the singer for the “time I spent on stage topless and making out” with her.

“Seriously, thank you for giving all of us the opportunity to learn from you and to share the stage with the hardest working woman in the business. Touring the world with you is still at the top of my list of greatest moments of my life,” she said.

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