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Carrie Ann Inaba

Inaba at the 2008 Kentucky Derby Festival
Born January 5, 1968 (1968-01-05) (age 42)
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
Occupation Actress, singer, dancer, choreographer, television judge
Years active 1986–present

Carrie Ann Inaba (born January 5, 1968) is an American dancer, choreographer, actress, television host, and singer. She has appeared as one of three judges on the ABC television series Dancing with the Stars (DWTS), a show that pairs celebrities with professional dancers as they train and then compete in front of a studio audience.


Early life

Inaba was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. She is of Japanese, Chinese, and Irish descent. She studied at Sophia University and University of California, Irvine before graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles with a B.A. degree in World Arts and Cultures.[1]


Inaba, who speaks fluent Japanese, lived in Tokyo from 1986 to 1988 and was a popular singer. She released three singles, "Party Girl" (backed with "China Blue"), "Be Your Girl" (backed with "6 1/2 Capezio"), and "Yume no Senaka" (backed with "Searching") and hosted weekly radio and television series.

After returning to America, Inaba appeared as one of the "Fly Girls", a group of backing dancers on the television series In Living Color from 1990 to 1992. She also performed with Canadian singer Norman Iceberg and dancers Viktor Manoel (David Bowie's "Glass Spider" tour) and Luca Tommassini at Prince's notorious Glam Slam. Inaba appeared as a dancer during Madonna's 1993 Girlie Show World Tour.

Inaba appeared in the film Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002) as Fook Yu, alongside Diane Mizota who played her twin sister Fook Mi. The two women are not related, but when Mizota had been cast for her role, she was asked if she knew any actresses who resembled her and suggested Inaba. Inaba, who had appeared briefly in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, was given the role and the two women were made up to appear as identical twins. Inaba and Mizota would later reprise their roles with Mike Myers in a commercial for Motorola.

Inaba has acted (usually as a dancer) in the movies Monster Mash: The Movie, Lord of Illusions, Showgirls, Boys and Girls, Flintstones II, Freak and American Virgin and the television series Jack & Jill and Nikki.

Inaba has choreographed several television series, including American Idol, American Juniors, All American Girl, He's a Lady, In Search of the Partridge Family (in which she also appeared on air), Married by America, The Sexiest Bachelor in America Pageant, The Swan, and Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?. She also choreographed the Miss America Pageant for five years.

Inaba is the founder and President of EnterMediArts, Inc., a video production company. She directs, writes, and edits films. Her work includes E! Behind The Scenes Miss America Special, 7th Festival of the Pacific Arts, A Portrait of IVI and Beyond the Dancing Image, along with the short feature film, Black Water. She also appeared in the first season of So You Think You Can Dance during the audition stages where she provided choreography for the "choreography round".

Other TV appearances include Inaba as guest and co-host on The View, the ABC talent competition Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann, and the FOX special Breaking the Magician's Code: Magic's Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed.

Also, Inaba guest stars as Tina, Hannah's choreographer, in the Hannah Montana episode, "Papa's Got A Brand New Friend".[2] In the episode, Tina is seen teaching Hannah new dance moves. However, she is accidentally pushed out of the window when Hannah does the electric slide, and becomes incapacitated in a full-body cast. Hannah pleads her to keep her job, but Tina refuses, forcing Hannah to hire a new choreographer.

TV Guide Network has just announced that Carrie Ann has been signed on to anchor its live red carpet coverage, beginning with the 2009 Primetime Emmy Awards in September.[3]

Personal Life

Inaba dated Artem Chigvintsev, a dancer and former So You Think You Can Dance contestant, from 2006 to 2008; Chigvintsev is fifteen years her junior. [4]

USA Dance 2009 National DanceSport Championships

According to the January/February 2009 issue of "American Dancer" magazine,[5] Inaba will be an honorary judge at the 2009 USA DANCE National DanceSport Championships in Baltimore, April 3-5 USA Dance, which is the national governing body for DanceSport in the United States, as recognized by the IDSF (International Dancesport Federation) and the US Olympic Committee, of which USA Dance is a member organization. Inaba will be assisting in the first stages of the review by USA Dance of competitive ballroom dancing "in the modern era" as they explore a new major initiative in the critique of DanceSport and its public appeal. Her input to USA DANCE will provide additional critique outside that of the traditional judging panel and will be focused on aspects of performance and personality that may escape normal judging standards. USA Dance, along with Inaba, will present the first-annual Star Quality Award to 12 DanceSport championship level couples being judged in their divisions.


Dancing with the Stars pro Tony Dovolani told People Magazine that Inaba is ill-equipped to call out the illegal lifts which the former Fly Girl-turned-judge has been frequently pointing out: "She does not understand what ballroom dancing is. She’s never done it herself." Inaba has chided dance teams—notably Jane Seymour and Dovolani’s waltz—for maneuvers which lift both feet in the air. Dovolani says the moves fall into a "grey area" which Inaba is not trained to navigate. "She’s the inappropriate judge to pick on the lifts," says Dovolani. "She does not have a ballroom background.…She really comes from the hip-hop world. While we have the utmost respect for her as a dancer—it's not as a ballroom dancer."[6]


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