The Nataraja, significantly carved with extra arms, in exaggerated and humanly impossible attitudes is symbolic, tending to show more of the power and strength over other than the marvels of a dancing feat.
Shiva dances, surrounded by fire which destroys ignorance while evoking creation with the sound of his doublesided drum. He crushes underfoot the dwarf demon Apasmara, the symbol of ignorance, while simultaneously showing mercy by raising his palm, a calming gesture, and pointing with his foot to indicate where the worshipper may take refuge. It expresses not just the movement of the dance but reveals the five elements: earth, wind, fire, water and space. The lotus at the pedestal is a symbol of water and of earth; the wind catches Shiva's sash and hair; fire is expressed by the flaming disc, symbolic of the sun, which surrounds the dancing figure and water is expressed by the river Ganga which flows through his matted hair. Space is seen in the areas in the sculpture, between the inner circle and the dancing form of Shiva.
This description by Renu Rana.