The Nataraja is definitely one of the most popular sculptures, brought to the lime light under the Cholas. The form had been sculpted before, but in bronze its a class apart.
This form of Tandava is one of three steps in dance, this being the final pose. The beauty is seen in a series of Natarajas sculpted under the Chola rule. Over three centuries we see this form take shape most beautifully in bronze. Shiva stands on the Apasmara purusha on his right leg, while his left leg almost rises into the air but has still not left the ground - this is the lalita pose.
When he raises his leg mid way into the air but yet not out stretched its in the Chatura pose, and when he finally stretches his left leg out and points to it in the gaja hasta pose with his left hand, the right hand continuing to remain in abhaya pose - signifying "do not fear" and seek refuge in lord Shiva, it is the final Nataraja.
Interestingly there are around 108 poses depicted in shiva's dance. For now, click here to view another sculpted pose of Lord Shiva.
Click here to know more on the dance of Shiva