Dance is a form of expression through movement. In, reality, without movement, it is not possible. This includes multiple movements, of the body and expression. When we are dancing, we forget all the pains end sufferings, we only enjoy that moment. Dance is not only giving you immense pleasure and peace but it is illustrating your thoughts through the movement of the body. Dance also represents the pain when you step it for someone else, at that time, you are waiting for loved ones to respond, expressing your thoughts via dance.
For instance, Mira danced in the wait for Lord Krishna, she expressed her pain through dance. This dance shows the eagerness of waiting for someone you loved so immensely. Tandava is an aggressive form of dance, Ananda Tandava is a blissful dance. There are multiple dance forms which directly associates with life. The purpose of the dance is to unfold the various meanings and nuances.
Nataraja is a form of Shiva according to Indic stories including Shiva Purana. It recognizes him as lord of the dance. The statue of Nataraja stands beautifully balancing on the right leg and trampling a tiny figurine (see the image on top). The statue of Nataraja is framed by the circle of fire with the key metaphor, i.e. “Keep Calm and Move on”. This message shows the cycle of life (Samsara) is an ongoing process. We cannot stop the processes of life.
Life includes multiple experiences such as joy, peace, happiness, grief, and much more. These experiences transform life immensely. It helps to understand the dynamics of life because all of them is a kind of dance form which we perform unknowingly.
The Nataraja indicates Panchakritya which means the five most important elements. The key indications are; Srishti or creation, Samhara, the destruction, Sthithi means maintenance, Tirobhava, the concealment and Anugraha means blessings. Apart from these five elements, there is one more element that is a circle of fire.
Nataraja holds Damru in his left hand. The shape of damru is infinity which means time without end. Here, I depict that time is continuous and we all are connected with space and time. It goes constantly like life.
Life never stops, it includes joy, happiness, peace, grief, pain, and much more. We as human beings understand the cycle of life and infinity. Today, we are living but in the future, we will not. We must enjoy each moment of life and understand the concept of infinity.
The right hand of Nataraja carries the fire. The form of the fire is shapeless or formless. It implies the constant change of shape and ignition. Even if, it connects with life. Fire teaches the lesson, how to burn their desires, unpleasurable moments, grief, egos, and much more. If we burn it, life becomes exceptionally smooth, and you will feel peace and always be compassionate to others.
Another hand of Nataraja represents the Abhay Mudra which depicts the protection of the beings. It shows not to fear anyone if you are right. Just go with the flow and enjoy each moment of life.
The lower left palm states that he is the creator of illusion. Here, I must say life is all about illusion. Because we never know, what happens next in life.
Circle of Fire
The circle of fire demonstrates the phenomenon cycle of birth and death. The ultimate reality of life. We, as human beings, live in between the cycle of birth and death only. We are just performing everyday practices and nothing else.
At last, I would like to give voice in such a way that dance always carries a specific meaning. Nataraja the form of Lord Shiva, that carries the meaning of life, which we perform every day. No one is left by this dance form. This is always rhythmic and enjoyable. And yes, you do not have to learn the steps of the dance, it happens automatically and teaches the lesson of living.