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Bonjour, we introduce ourselves!


The association Les Soirées Amusantes (The Funny Soirées) was founded in 2018 by Christian Tanner (Switzerland), Alessandra Reeves (Switzerland), Fabrice Robardey (France) et Helga Váradi (Hungary) with the objective to revive the culture of European salons of the late 18th century.


Les Soirées Amusantes owes its existence to the meeting of the founders, whose common passion for historical costume and dance will lead to the first historical dance presentations. In 2013, Christian Tanner and Alessandra Reeves danced at Wildegg castle, showing the audience 1790s « Allemandes », valses and minuets based on the handwritten scores from Sophie von Erlach von Effinger, whose family owned the castle at that time. In the following years, new members added to the group, coming from France, Germany, and Switzerland which allowed to perform other types of dances such as cotillions. In 2015, with the help of Fabrice Robardey, a ball was organised at Wenkenhof castle, a country house near Basel, with live music on ancient instruments. All dancers and musicians wore period costumes, in an 18th century castle, performing the repertoire of a typical ball assembly at the time of the French Consulat (1799-1804). After this memorable experience and many more dance animations at Wildegg castle, the three friends first mentioned the idea of founding an association they would name Les Soirées Amusantes, after a French cotillion.


This project came into reality in 2018 after the decisive meeting with the  harpsichord and fortepiano player Helga Váradi. Christian Tanner sewed for her 5 gowns (en fourreau, à l'Angloise, à la Polonaise, à la Piémontaise, en chemise) she would wear at the château de Mairy where they both took part in a historical event. The collaboration between the friends went on with the Nannerl project, based on the research lead by Helga Váradi on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's sister. The short movie "Zum Namenstag 1783", realised by Helga Váradi with the collaboration of Christian Tanner, Fabrice Robardey and Brigitte Guenczler, was a milestone in the foundation of Les Soirées Amusantes that occured in November 2018.


Through Les Soirées Amusantes, the members enjoy plaisant moments, in the manner of 18th centuy salons, playing music, dancing, having dinner, playing cards, or rediscovering the literature of long-forgotten authors. As part of their regular events, Les Soirées Amusantes organise private balls for a chosen company, 18th dance presentations or concerts such as in Wellenberg (Thurgovie, Switzerland, in 2018) or at the museum Haus zum Kirschgarten (Basel) in May 2018. On request,  Les Soirées Amusantes can propose dance and music performances, with 18th century costumes.


Besides, Les Soirées Amusantes also represent a lively workshop in which members and visitors can experience historical sewing, Enlightenment culture, or yesteryear cuisine of the end of the 18th century.


Christian Robardey-Tanner

Historical sewing techniques and 18th century dance 

Alessandra Reeves


Historische & kunsthistorische Beratung

Historische Nähtechniken

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Fabrice Robardey

History of art and Decorative arts 

"The silouhettes of the late 18th century clothing totally fascinate me. 
Besides, the technical aspect of sewing is not anymore a simple prerequisite 
but it has become a field of experience in itself. 
My passion consists in studying the original sources with the utmost care, 
so as to discover the whole range of historically attested finishing touches 
and to put them into practice. Each new garment I sew brings me new knowledge 
and skills that bind me more to my ancestors. 
'Angloises', 'Polonaises', 'Piémontaises', 'Françoises', 'Pierrots' etc. I reproduce 
need to hug the movements of our dancers and musicians to show all their beauty. 
And the thousands of forgotten dances that lie dormant in the archives also require 
our help to regain their appeal, for our greatest pleasure! "

"Wenn ich gefragt werde, was mich an Geschichte interessiert, folgt meist eine wortreiche Erklärung, die man eigentlich in einem ganz simplen Wort zusammenfassen kann. Dem "Warum". Was mich seit Jahren absolut fasziniert, ist wie ein Detail zu einem weiteren führt, wie sich Artefakte und Beschreibungen ergänzen; sich auf ein Mal eine Tür einen Spalt breit zu öffnen scheint, und man glaubt, einen Blick auf die Menschen und ihre Beweggründe damals erhaschen zu können. Das späte 18. Jahrhundert, also die Zeit der Klassik und der Frühromantik ist für mich ein besonders schönes Forschungsfeld. Verbinden sich hier doch so viele meiner grossen Lieben: die klassische Archäologie und Altertumsforschung nahm hier ihren Anfang, und begann an Popularität zuzulegen. Mit die gesellschaftlichen Umbrüche der 80er Jahre begünstigten auch ein freieres Denken und ein unabhängigeres Frauenbild. Und zu guter Letzt der Wandel von einer galanten zu einer eleganten Welt, wo Kleidung, Architektur, Musik, Inneneinrichtung die Inspiration der Antike aufnahmen und neu widerspiegeln."

"Passionate about history and arts, particularly of the second half of the 18th century I specialised in architecture and interior decoration, focusing on Strasbourg's town mansions 
built under the reigns of Louis XV and Louis XVI. 
Amidst my main focuses, 1700s decorative arts have always ranked first, primarily cabinet-making, 
but also sacred and secular music, mostly French and German. Last but not least, culinary arts and tableware represent an inexhaustible source of pleasure. 
The research and interpretation of old receipes of meals served in antique dishes and organised in accordance with the iconography of the time, and lit with candels, allow us to relive the sensations of the people of the late 1700s."

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