Tari caci (Indonesia)

Tari caci (Indonesia)

  • Name of sport (game): Tari caci
  • Place of practice (continent, state, nation):

    Flores Island (Tanipa), Indonesia

    Flores Island in East Nusa Tenggara is not only known for its charming natural charm, but also for its traditional arts. One of the most prominent arts is the Caci Dance.
    There are many Caci Dance hermitages in the Manggarai area. However, specifically for West Manggarai Regency, the Riangtana Tiwa hermitage, in Liang Ndara Village, is a well-known association and is a reference for tourists who want to see the Caci Dance performance live.

  • History:

    The Caci Dance exists since the Manggarai Kingdom ruled Flores Island.
    From its culture, Caci Dance is a sacred traditional art with the concept of war dance. Citing its history, this dance was inspired by inter-regional youth power struggles that have been carried out for generations, until it later became a part of the culture and sacred arts on the island of Flores.

  • Description:

    Unlike other regional dances in general, Caci Dance only involves two male dancers. The movement shown is in the form of a fight using whips and shields as weapons. The performers of this dance consist of two men who are armed with whips (larik) and carry shields (toda). The length of the whip can reach 2 meters. The shield is made from dried buffalo or pig skin. The sides of the shield are covered with rattan and provided with support on the inside as a handle.
    In the performance, the Caci dance opens with the Manggarai danding or Tandak dance. Before competing, each player first performs warm-up movements. Each dancer moves their body similar to the movement of a horse. While dancing, caci players sing regional songs to challenge their opponents.
    While singing a traditional song, the two dancers will show each other back and forth movements like Capoeira from Brazil. When the warning is released, one of the two will attack with a whip.
    Caci dance has its own rules. One of them is that the players can only hit the upper body such as the arms, back and chest. The caci player may only hit the opponent's body from the waist up. Meanwhile, the area from the waist down where a hanging piece of cloth is marked should not be hit.
    So, high sportsmanship is something that is shown through this dance. It's not just about attacking, Caci Dance requires the dancers to have a perfect technique to repel.
    With agility and lightness, the attacker slams his whip into the opponent's body. While the opponent blocks the whip with his shield. This game of skill is played with high sportsmanship.
    The player is declared defeated if the whip with thin buffalo skin attached to the end hits the body, especially the eyes.
    Every player is at risk of being hit. Even though the body was injured from the slash, there were no grudges between the players. The wounds suffered are actually considered a symbol of the courage and masculinity of a caci player.
    The clothing used includes a panggal (mask) on the head, tubi rapa, the face is wrapped with cloth, white trousers are worn combined with songke cloth and the dancer's upper body is left open during the caci dance. All the clothes worn by dancers have a function, meaning and true values for the Manggarai people.

    Weapons used in the Caci Dance

    Symbolism of the Manggarai Caci Dance Attributes

    The clothes used in the form of white trousers and black traditional cloth have a sacred symbol, which means the mystery of life.
    The dancers are bare-chested when performing this dance, but wear protection for the thighs and calves like war troops with white trousers and typical Manggarai songket sarongs, namely songke.
    The black songket sarong is wrapped around the waist to the knees to cover part of the surface of the trousers worn. At the waist, a girdle is attached, which is clothing jewelry that will sound as long as the dancer plays.

    Whip Weapon
    The whip (larik) used is made from dried buffalo or cow skin. The whip handle is made of buffalo leather. At the end of the whip, dry buffalo skin is attached which is thin and has a hard texture, usually referred to as lempa (lidi enau) which is still green (pore).

    Apart from whips, dancers also use fenders, also known as koret. This koret is in the form of a shield, or what is usually called a nggiling and a bow made from bamboo woven into rattan or called aging/tereng. A round, dry leather-covered shield.

    Head Cover
    Dancers also use a head covering called a panggal. Masks or panggal are used as decorations on the head. This mask is made from buffalo skin with a hard texture and is shaped like buffalo horns.
    Its function is to protect the opponent's whip when it hits the face. Apart from that, a headband is also used to cover the dancers' faces. Even though the dancer's face is almost completely covered, he can still see the movements of the opponent in front of him.


  • Current status:


  • Importance (for practitioners, communities etc.):

    The name Caci is a summary of the words "Ca" which means one, and "Ci" which means test. Having existed since the Manggarai Kingdom ruled Flores Island, the Caci Dance has quite deep meaning, proving masculinity both in terms of courage and dexterity of men. So, extra practice is needed to master Caci Dance technique after technique.
    The Caci Dance is part of the maturation process for Flores youth until they grow up. This means that to determine the maturity level of a man in Flores, they have to go through a agility test in a one-on-one fight.
    In the eyes of the Manggarai people, men who have performed this dance are said to be labeled as adult men. He will also receive respect, both from traditional elders and Flores women.
    Uniquely, their pride lies in the many whip scars on their skin. The more whip marks there are, the more the man's rank is taken into account.
    Judging from its function, the Caci Dance is a medium or way for Manggarai men to prove their masculinity.
    Even though it is presented with elements of violence, this art has a peaceful message. Such as the spirit of sportsmanship, mutual respect, and most importantly, leaving no feelings of resentment between the fighters. The caci game also doesn't care about who loses and wins. Instead of giving rise to feelings of hostility, these fights even increase feelings of unity, brotherhood and friendship.
    In between games, traditional elders, both men and women, dance (danding) and sing (mbata) with joy while walking regularly in a circle.
    The caci game is a cultural moment that is joyful in nature and is carried out in traditional ceremonies and special events. Manggarai people consider caci to be a sacred dance, a means of human communication with its creator.
    The caci dance looks very interesting. The performance is a combination of the agility and dexterity of the dancer's body movements when competing with an opponent, the uniqueness of the clothing worn, and the beauty of the vocal art of traditional Manggarai singing.
    As a typical Flores culture, this dance is only performed on special occasions. For example, during Hang Woja (harvest season), Penti (new year ritual), traditional wedding ceremonies, and other traditional ceremonies, as well as commemorating the Independence Day of the Republic of Indonesia.

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