2020 Community Connections Profile - Grace Espinosa is getting her ‘Kix’ and more in Crookston

Mike Christopherson
Grace Espinosa displays her personalized mortarboard cap at her graduation from the Josef's School, where she studied skin esthetics.

First off, could you tell us a little bit about yourself? Your family, education, background/previous stops, career, etc.?

    I am 22 years old. My parents are Lucy Payment and Reymundo Espinosa. I grew up in Crookston, went to Our Savior’s Lutheran School from Preschool-7th grade then I went to Crookston High School and graduated in 2016. After graduating I was very unsure on what I wanted to do so I decided to stick around Crookston. I got offered my first coaching positions as an assistant coach at the Thief River Falls Just For Kix where I trained at during high school and a head instructor coaching job at Ada Just For Kix.

    After one year of that I was offered a position to start up the Crookston Just For Kix program! Halfway through my first season I took the position to take over the Ada program as well. I ran both programs for a year and a half and then decided I really wanted to pursue a career in Skin Esthetics so I decided to let go of the Ada program. I started up school at Josefs in August of 2019 and graduated in December 2019. I also took over the Crookston High School Dance Team in November 2019.

    I am currently still running Crookston Just For Kix and I will continue to coach the High School Dance Team next season and searching for a job in Skin Esthetics that works around my dance schedule!

Whether it’s the Pirate of the Week page in the Times or if we put dance photos on the sport page or some other page of the newspaper, whether or not competitive dancing is an actual sport seems to be the subject of a continuing debate. I’m assuming you think it is completely a sport that requires plenty of athletic skill, strength and stamina. Try to sell that notion to someone who might disagree with you, please...

    I 100% do believe that competitive dance is a sport. I always challenge anyone who disagrees to take a competitive dance class and then let me know if you still think the same. If you look up the definition of a sport the answer is “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” I personally believe just the definition of a sport is enough proof that it is a sport.

How rewarding is it when you see a young dancer who early on was scared and lacked confidence come out of their shell, gain confidence, and excel?

    It is the exact reason I do what I do. There is nothing better than the moment a dancer finally has what I call their “break through moment.” Not only am I here to teach dance, I hope that I am teaching these kids that they can achieve anything they put their minds to.

During the Academy Awards on TV earlier this month, an award-winner making her acceptance speech at the podium exclaimed “All girls are superheroes!” Do you agree with that statement more than you disagree with it? Do you think it’s healthy for all girls to believe they are superheroes?

    I agree! Being a girl is a tough job. As you grow up there’s so many challenges you face and so many expectations people have on girls, so many people telling you what you should and shouldn’t do because you’re a girl.

    It takes a strong person to just be yourself. It is a healthy thing for girls to grow up with confidence in themselves.

You are a young person who is trying to run a successful business venture while also branching out as you coach the Treasurettes. It seems like you’re trying to make a go of it in Crookston. Why have you chosen to stay so far, when it seems like so many young people are so eager to spread their wings elsewhere?

    Growing up there was always dance studios or programs that would open up and then it seemed like a few years they’d close or a new one would take over. From a business standpoint Crookston is the perfect place because I really have no “competition” in town.        Crookston has a special place in my heart, it’s home! It feels so good to be so successful in a town that you grew up in.

Expanding on the previous question, what are three of your favorite things about the Crookston community?

    1. The support

    2. The generosity

    3. The closeness

What do you wish Crookston had that it doesn’t? Or is there anything that you would like to see more of in Crookston?

    It’s probably a super stereotypical 22 year old answer but a Starbucks!     

    Something I would like to see more is community events. My favorite time of the year is Ox Cart Days and I think we should push to not only hold events during that time but also throughout the year more.

Do you have any skills and/or hobbies that are particularly quirky or unusual that might surprise people to know about?

    I have one skill that is different for sure. I can talk in A LOT of different voices. Growing up I would watch TV shows and teach myself how to talk like the characters in them and I can still do so many of them. I love making people laugh when I whip out the different voices.

Let’s try a you’re-stranded-on-a-deserted-island question: You have an amazing home theater and audio system and somehow have all of the electrical power you could ever need. But you can only play three songs and watch three movies. Which three songs and which three movies do you pick?


    1. Don’t Stop Believing by Journey

    2. Man, I feel like a woman by Shania Twain

    3. The Anthem by Good Charlotte


    1. The Hangover

    2. The Interview

    3. Someone Great

I’m not asking you to list your heroes, since that term is a bit too casually tossed around these days, but could you list three people you look up to and/or admire, and explain why?

    1. My mom is my number one hero. She is the strongest, hardest working, most kind and caring person I know. She will give up anything to make people happy. She will go out of her way to make sure everyone knows they are loved and appreciated.

    2. My dance coaches Maureen Price and Michelle Duffy. They both had such a huge impact on not only the dance side of my life but the person I am today. They are a huge part of why I coach, I hope I can make the same kind of impact they have on my life in the lives of the kids I coach.

    3. My dancers. I know that probably sounds crazy but truly the kids I coach inspire me to become a better person each and every day. Knowing that so many of them look up to me pushes me to be better to set good examples for them in life.

Please describe yourself using no more than 10 words.

    1. Caring

    2. Funny

    3. Determined

    4. Sleepy

    5. Driven

    6. Stubborn

    7. Ambitious

    8. Motivated

    9. Open Minded

    10. Creative