Benjamin Wetzel, 1L, Professional Ballet Dancer for Nine Years
Benjamin Wetzel was a professional ballet dancer for nine years prior to enrolling at Minnesota Law. Wetzel’s impressive career includes major parts in numerous productions while dancing for ballets in Louisville and Nashville. A Swiss-American dual citizen, he is fluent in German and enjoys cooking and keeping fit.
You worked nine years as a professional ballet dancer. Can you discuss that work?
The work was physically demanding, but the passion and respect I have for the artform also made the work endlessly rewarding. I count myself fortunate to have performed so many beautiful, challenging, and artistically significant works by renowned choreographers from around the globe.
What is motivating the change into law?
Physically, my body was beginning to slow down. Though I could have continued dancing for a few more years, I was eager to start a new adventure navigating the complex, varied, and nuanced challenges offered by a career in law!
What do you hope/plan to do with your legal education (realizing, of course, that may change during the course of your studies)?
I’m starting my legal education with an open mind about what my career might look like after law school. I’m drawn to the idea of working with people from countries around the world, so perhaps I will pursue a practice that involves international law in some capacity.
Why did you select Minnesota Law?
The strength of the clinical training program and the collegial environment of the school made enrolling in Minnesota Law an easy decision to make. I’m eager to serve the Twin Cities community and gain hands-on experience working in a Minnesota Law clinic.
Can you discuss a bit the importance of diverse perspectives in the classroom and what you hope to add to the mix?
Including diverse perspectives in the classroom allows students to approach problems or ideas with a different set of values than they might otherwise have. I hope my own experiences as a dancer and as a Swiss-American dual citizen will contribute a unique, multicultural perspective to the classroom and will thereby promote critical thinking and creative problem solving.
Minnesota Law as an institution emphasizes leadership. What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership is about facilitating the achievement of others. A leader should provide tools, inspiration, and support in order to best ensure their team’s success, without overstepping their own role as leader. What sets a great leader apart is the ability to identify and deliver that which would be most helpful in furtherance of their team’s objective.
Law School can be stressful at times. What do you like to do for wellness or to de-stress?
Lately I’ve found physical activity (and running in particular) to be crucial to maintaining a healthy stress level. Maybe it’s a vestige of my ballet career, but these days I become anxious and quick to anger if I go even a day without my usual outdoor run.
What three words or phrases describe you best?
Disciplined, enthusiastic, optimistic
Do you have any interesting hobbies or leisure activities you’d like to share?
I’m an avid Agatha Christie fan! I’ve read all of her Poirot and Miss Marple murder-mystery novels. Her timeless characters, her sentimental depictions of early 20th century England, and the thrill of a good “whodunit” all prompt me to revisit her work time and time again.