TUCSON, ARIZONA – The Tucson Sugar Skulls have named Kristi Lopez director of the Sugar Dolls dance team, bringing a nationally recognized coach and dancer to head the program.
Lopez is currently on the faculty of Walden Grove High School in Sahuarita as a dance teacher and is the head coach and choreographer for the school’s PAC Dance Team. The dance team, formed in 2011, has been a viral sensation on YouTube with its elaborate dance routines and staging. The team’s YouTube videos have generated more than 100 million views for their themed performances of Disney’s Pixar, the Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter, and the Marvel superheroes. Lopez will continue her duties at Walden Grove and the PAC Dance Team in addition to her role with the Sugar Dolls.
“Kristi’s resume as a dancer, choreographer and coach is unmatched in our community and we are ecstatic that she’s decided to join our organization,” said Sugar Skulls Owner Cathy Guy. “We are committed to giving fans the best experience when they come to our games and the Sugar Dolls are a big part of the show. Kristi will take our team to a much higher level at games and in the community.”
Lopez is originally from Southern California and grew up in Florida where she joined a professional ballet company at the age of 13. She moved to Arizona when her father, Andy Lopez, became the head coach of the Arizona Wildcats baseball team for the 2002 season.
She graduated from Sabino High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from the UA School of Dance. In 2004, she won the Ms. Dance Arizona competition and competed for the national title of Ms. Dance USA. While in college, she performed with a number of dance companies and also taught ballet and technique classes at dance studios and high schools throughout the community. In addition to her dance degree, Lopez earned a degree in elementary education from the UA.
In 2009, Lopez joined her sister, Kerri Lopez-Howell, as a dance team coach at Sabino High School where they won back-to-back state championships in 2010 and 2011. She then started the dance program at Walden Grove and formed the PAC Dance Team which has grown from 60 students to 200.
Lopez was named Walden Grove Teacher of the Year in 2014, Sahuarita Unified School District Teacher of the Year in 2014, Circle K Teacher of the Year in 2015, and Tucson Hip-Hop Teacher Honoree in 2017.
“I am extremely excited and humbled for the opportunity to coach and direct dance at the professional level,” Lopez said. “I’m looking forward to the challenge of making the Sugar Dolls an integral part of the Sugar Skulls organization. I’m eager to work closely with the organization and the community of Tucson.”